Mentoring and Coaching Writers: In Their Own Words

What’s it like to coach someone you’ve never met and who lives in another state?  A challenge, yes, but one I welcomed.  Over the past couple of years, since Linda Otterbridge invited me to participate in the first Women Who Write Showcase in Grands Michigan, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring and coaching other HASU members and their friends. (HASU – Hook A Sister Up)

Here are four writers whom I met through Danielle Gordon,   a writer and member of Hook a Sister Up (HASU).


“My mentoring relationship with Ms. Anna has been invaluable and instrumental in my journey in getting my book completed.

I started writing this book 2.5 years ago out of a traumatic event in my life that drove me to rethink my life…. Once I got connected with Ms. Anna she offered to provide her consulting services as well as editing my book….She provided straight forward recommendations and allowed me take time off when I became overwhelmed with the brevity of finishing this book.  She seemed to know exactly when it was time to e-mail me back and she let me know that my book was important and that I could finish this book and it would make a difference.”
Sharon L. Greer, MSN, RN

Sharon released her book DOING THE WORK: Women Overcoming Real Khaos in August, 2017.

Writing a picture book is more than creating a story.  One must know the audience and purpose to be able to choose the appropriate story line,

vocabulary and illustrations.

Coaching Kayon Tompkins along the road to publishing a story she wanted to tell proved to be an invigorating experience.  She says, “It has been and continues to be a mentoring relationship that inspires my senses to fully develop my characters in the story.”

We were somewhat surprised to see differently artists portrayed the same lines from the book, but thrilled when the image you see here on the right. Kayon Tompkins, Author to be and Owner now of NOURISH YOUR CURLS

” Working with Anna has been an awesome experience. Although I am a writer and provide services for others, I can be my own worst critic when it comes to my own projects; due to this I had turned the focus off of my own projects and pushed them to the side to instead put my focus on helping others bring their work to fruition…that was until I met Anna!
From our very first consultation, I knew I wanted to continue on working with her each month as she provided insight and tips that made me excited, again, about the work I had done and how I could improve it. It was nice getting a fresh pair of eyes and another perspective. I now see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m ready to conquer more book ideas I have down on paper and swimming around in my head. Thank you so much Anna

Shanika P. Carter, M.S.Freelancer/Consultant







“Anna Roseboro is an author’s dream!  She has a penchant for attention to detail and a passion for helping aspiring authors navigate the writing process from ideation to self-publishing.”

Shannon M. Cohen, MPA, CPS | Founder – Principal Shannon Cohen, Inc. [dba Community Ventures]


Do you have a book you’d like to write and believe I can assist? Contact me at this link GETTING STARTED? GETTING GOING! It It would be my pleasure to meet with you and set up a coaching schedule that will help you meet your goals to become a published author, too.  Or join me for a beginning writers workshop at the upcoming HASU Women Who Write Showcase, in October at the KROC Center in Grand Rapids, Mi.                          

Anna J. Small, National Board Certified Teacher, Mentor and Writing Coach





What do I need to know?

Both new and experienced writers sometimes experience writers’ block with a head or heart full of ideas but have a tough time getting those first words on paper.  What often unlocks the log-jam is understanding or remembering that writing is a process.  What you write first is not necessarily what is read first.

So, get started with a splash down.  This means begin writing whatever comes to mind.  Once you have words on the page you can begin the revision process of expanding, exploring, and explaining the ideas, developing the story, reorganizing the thoughts into sections, paragraphs, sentences that best clarify your ideas and engage your readers enough for them to keep reading.

It’s not necessary for the next steps to flow in any particular order, but all will need to be taken before your manuscript is ready for publication.


KNOWING YOUR PURPOSE FOR WRITING will help you chose ideas to include in your manuscript.  Consider those mentioned here.


During revision stage, it’s critical to pay attention to TRAITS of EFFECTIVE WRITING, writing that achieves your purpose.

Six Traits Chart Plus One


Efficient Revision

How Do I Make It Better?

frustrated african american businesswoman with her little baby in officeBusy writers, like you, often wonder how  can I make a well written early draft even better. If you consider specific steps you can do just that. The tasks that can be done in any order an they all begin with E”, the letter that begins EXCELLENT, the goal for your writing.

  •  Expand – develop what is written to make ideas clearer and more interesting without being repetitive. Add more information to show rather than tell. Use carefully chosen examples from literature (any reading and viewing), life (personal experiences and observations), and lessons learned in other content area courses. This may require research to find credible sources and experts to add weight to their arguments.

  • Explain  – clarify what is written by using various reasons based on experiences and observations and lessons learned in other courses. “This is important because…”

  • Exchange and rearrange – what words can be substituted that will make the writing clearer, more interesting, more precise? Consider using more active verbs instead of passive ones with forms of the verb “to working-on-laptop-1940x900_36206be”; more concrete nouns, more words that have the positive or negative connotations to create the desired mood in your reader. Think about ways words, sentences, paragraphs can be rearranged to make the ideas unfold more smoothly, making the thoughts less unambiguous, more interesting, and more inviting to consider. What does audience need to know before making a decision? This is why skillful informative writing is important.

  • Expunge get riWriting Draft -2d of distracting or weak words, phrases, and sentences that cloud writing that clouds and prevents ideas from shining through, glowing with authority as the writing informs, convinces, persuades, and even entertains.”

  • Enliven – -use active verbs instead of passive verbs  Use concrete nouns rather than abstract ones. Where appropriate, inject  fresh and sensory images to help read experience the ideas/concepts/feelings in your writing.

*Adapted from TEACHING WRITING IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL: Common Core and More (2013)

How’re you Doing?

 Writing Purpose Statement (Click here to download questionnaire.)


I am writing (kind of writing)__________________________

(poetry, childrens picture book, article, advertisement, memoir, novel, textbook, blog, other.)


for (audience)_____________________________________

(family, children, adults, friends, specific audience, myself)


in order to (purpose)____________________________________.

(persuade, inform, entertain, inspire)audience-and-purpose


I am on step ___________________________________________.

(drafting, self-checking, revising, polishing, editing, ready to publish)


My next step will be to (step in writing process)______________.

(draft, self-check, revise, get feedback, revise, edit, polish, publish)

Getting Started? Getting Going!!


Contact me here to set up time for a coaching session.