Donna Goodin

Donna Goodin.jpg

An editor focuses on the writing on the page. A coach focuses on the writer.


What is your favorite part of the coaching process?

I love getting to know the writer and learning about their book. I love supporting them through the tough times, and celebrating their milestones.

What's your coaching style like?

I would describe myself as direct, but warm and supportive. I also love using humor in coaching.

What genres do you love to edit?

I'm pretty flexible, but at the top of my list would be women's fiction, literary fiction, memoir, and historical fiction.

What do you love most about editing?

I love seeing a book take shape and come to life.

When was the moment you felt like a real book coach?

That's hard, because I've been working with writers since I began coaching in 2006. But I guess I would say it was when my first client finished her doctoral dissertation. She faced many challenges: raising two small children while her husband lived and worked several hundred miles away, data that wasn't coming together, a difficult search committee, and dealing with all that while working a day job. I was so proud of her when she finished, and I knew that I wanted to do that work for the rest of my life.

Who's your ideal writer match? What are you looking for in a coaching client?

I like working with many different kinds of people. I'm pretty open as long as the client is open to being coached and receiving feedback.

What do you believe the most prominent difference between an editor and a coach is?

An editor focuses on the writing on the page. A coach focuses on the writer.

What's been your greatest achievement in coaching so far?

I feel thrilled when I hear from clients after they've finished their book, or how much coaching has been helpful to them. At those moments I feel so honored to have been able to be a part of their journey. But that said, I can't count any of that as my achievement. I get to be their coach, but I believe it is the client who really does the heavy lifting.


What genres do you love to read?

It's easier to say what I don't read than what I do. Some of my favorite genres include: women's fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, time-travel, magic realism, mystery, some YA, some fantasy, and memoir.

If you could fast-forward a year from now, what would your writing life look like?

My first novel would be well underway.

What about five years from now?

My first novel would be published, and I'd be working on my second or maybe even third.

Who are five of your favorite authors?

  • Sarah Addison Allen

  • Carol Goodman

  • Sharan Newman

  • Anne LaMott

  • Susanna Kearsley

If you could meet any author (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Leonor López de Córdoba. She led a fascinating and difficult life. I would love to talk with her about her life, why she wrote, and why she left the high point of her life out of her memoir.

What are five of your favorite books?

These are a few, but my answer to this question would change depending on my mood, the season of the year, and many other variables.

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  • The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamante

  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

  • Casa de los Espiritus by Isabel Allende

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Either a writer or a musician.

What does a typical day look like for you?

It varies a lot, but in general it goes something like this. In the morning I love drinking coffee, listening to music, and hanging out with my cat. The rest of the day is taken up with exercise, then writing, and coaching. I end the day by having dinner and spending time with my husband.

What are you most excited about right now?

My coaching clients. Writing. Playing music. The fact that it's finally summer!