Steve Adams

Writing Coach and Writer

My name is Steve Adams. I’m a writing coach and a writer.

As a writing coach I’ve worked with published, award-winning novelists, short-fiction writers, and nonfiction writers; unpublished but dedicated and experienced writers; and those new to the game who have always believed they had something to say, but didn’t know quite how or where to begin.

My many years of writing and analyzing a broad range of forms (fiction, essay, playwriting, screenwriting, poetry) give me structural insight into manuscript evaluation, and my study of, and in-depth exposure to, music, acting, dance, theater arts, and visual arts affords me a varying set of perspectives from which to approach the process of writing and the disciplines that support art. I find coaching writers a form of work almost as rewarding as writing itself.

Keep the channel open

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep directly open to and aware of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

— Martha Graham

Where a story is

"That's always where a story is: somebody who would like to say something but can't. You wait for that moment when the liberating word, the liberating sentence, arrives on the scene. And maybe it never does."

— Charles Baxter

Notable essay

I was very excited to find out my essay, "Border Crossing," published in 2015 in Grist Journal, was selected as a "Notable Essay" in the 2016 Best American Essays.

You don't give up

“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Meaning and risk

"We not only create stories as metaphors for life, we create them as metaphors for meaningful life - and to live meaningfully is to be at perpetual risk."

― Robert McKee in Story