Interview with Writing Coach, Beth Barany by Sapphire Stone
Today we welcome a new guest writer to Writer’s Fun Zone, Sapphire Stone who is stopping by to chat with us today about her “Interview with Writing Coach, Beth Barany by Sapphire Stone.” Enjoy!
Reason for Interview
As a college student, I was asked to interview someone in a career I am interested in for my College Success class. My career interests include becoming a book editor/writer, and the first person I thought of to interview was Beth. I had previously worked with Beth on my dark urban fantasy novel and was greatly impressed with Beth’s experience, level of professionalism, and passion for writing. I knew she would be the perfect person to interview for my assignment.
Title: Writing Coach/Writer
Occupation: Creative Entrepreneur
Colleges Attended: UC Berkley, community college in Berkley, and studied in a Masters Program in Paris for awhile
1) How long have you been in your occupation?
Beth has been a writing coach for eight and a half years and has been publishing written material since she was twenty-two, starting with non-fiction and working up to fiction.
2) How did you decide on your occupation?
Beth knew she liked to teach and she knew she liked to write. About ten or eleven years ago she heard about creativity coaching and began her training there, which helped her formulate her business. She then had a clearer idea of how she could help people with writing.
3) What personal qualities/strengths are important for your occupation?
- Establish a strong follow through – following up with others and keeping people interested
- Getting trained and developing business skills
- Continuously learn and be committed to life-long education
- Be willing to take risks
- Be creative
- Develop a strong support team, informal and formal
- Ask for help
- Be disciplined, which will help not only with being a writing coach but with writing as well. Coaching and writing go hand in hand.
- Have good scheduling skills – be able to manage a calendar
- Learn how to manage finances; this is a big part of running your own business.
4) What are the major duties and responsibilities for an entry-level person who would be doing the same type of work as you do?
There is not a clearly defined entry-level person for self-employed writing coaches, but someone could start by interning for someone like Beth.
Some duties and responsibilities, as well as skills are:
- Be timely and follow up with people
- Be able to understand and follow directions
- Be able to work independently
- Ask for help when needed
- Need to have editorial confidence and a willingness to be a better editor
- Learn how to be a coach
- Need to have a voracious curiosity about yourself and about others, especially about how other people function/operate, as well as being curious about how writing works
- Be organized
- Have good communication skills – being able to manage emails and phone calls and the daily interactions with other people
5) What are the working conditions like? Do you work alone, in small groups, indoors, outdoors, variety?
Primarily, Beth works alone, except when she is working with clients or groups of clients. She also has a support network, both online (social media) and in person. She mainly works at home, but also in cafes. Most of her work is conducted over the phone (or skype) and through email.
6) What is the future outlook for your profession?
There will almost always be a need for someone like Beth, especially with self-publishing becoming so popular, and Beth knows a lot about self-publishing. But even before self-publishing took off, there have always been people who need help with fiction writing, so the prospects of the profession are really good.
7) What is the average salary range that can be expected in the Sacramento area?
For Beth, her salary does not correlate with a specific region. She has clients everywhere; her business is international. A general estimation, not tied to region, is about $24,000 for her first year self-employed; since then she has sometimes doubled her annual salary and other times she ranged closer to her starting salary of $24,000.
8) What are the opportunities for promotion/advancement in this field?
As an entrepreneur you can do whatever you want. For advancement, you could create a more complex company; you could have managers and employees. If the business has the capability to grow, you can earn more money. There are endless opportunities as you grow in confidence and feel more comfortable with charging more money. Personally, Beth does a lot of joint projects, so if she wanted she could do more of those to increase her visibility and have more people discover who she is.
9) What are the major positive aspects of this occupation?
- Schedule flexibility – you get to create your own schedule. Personally, Beth sometimes works at night or takes breaks in the middle of the day, and she also has the capability to decide when she is going to meet with clients.
- Get to pursue what you love, which is writing and teaching for Beth
- You can create whatever you want and are able to keep exploring new ways of doing your job – new mediums, new ways to teach, and new methods of reaching an audience
- You can change your business as much as you like, allowing you the ability to experiment and try new things. Beth loves to reinvent herself and still be able to be a writing coach.
10) What are the major sources of frustration, disappointment, stress, etc.?
- Can be a lonely business, and not just writing, but working and managing a business from home. Beth likes to go to cafes to relieve some of the loneliness.
- For Beth, being a creative entrepreneur used to upset her, in the beginning, because there really was not a business like hers; therefore, she felt frustrated in not having a business to model after or people she could talk with who were involved in her specific type of business model. For a long time she felt like she had nobody to help her.
- Learning how to run a business, including managing a budget, having enough money to pay the bills, etc. Beth says it was a huge learning curve and one she continues to need training in; she is always learning new things.
- Setting goals can prove to be difficult, as well as feeling confident enough to achieve those goals. Also, self-doubt and wondering if you are heading in the right direction can be possible stressors.
- Hard to take risks and be okay with what happens, to trust yourself
12) What advice would you give to me if I pursue a future in your occupation?
- Hone your craft; being a good writer and an editor go hand in hand
- Get some coaching training as well as NLP training; Beth received her NLP training at NLPmarin.com. Different types of training will help you understand how people operate/function, and you will also learn more about yourself.
- Being a good writing coach means using your own experience and turning it into lessons
- Learn solid business skills, especially sales and marketing (important)
- Learn leadership (super important)
- Do whatever you can do to learn more about yourself, to understand yourself better so you can operate from a place of strength
- Most important: LEARN HOW TO NETWORK. Beth’s number one tool of success is networking. About 80% of her business comes from referrals and the other 20% from her online presence.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sapphire Stone lives in California where she is currently attending a community college in order to transfer to a university in Washington where she plans to attain a BA in English/Creative Writing. She is studying to be a book editor in the hopes of honing her writing craft to further the production of her own novels as well as establishing a life-long immersion in the writing world. You can connect with Sapphire at her site www.sapphirestone.net and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/