Steve Adams

Writing Coach, Editor, and Writer

My name is Steve Adams. I’m a writing coach, editor, and award-winning author.

As a writing coach I’ve worked with published, award-winning novelists, short-fiction writers, and nonfiction writers; unpublished but dedicated and experienced writers; and those new to the game who have always believed they had something to say, but didn’t know quite how or where to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

Meaning

“But a writer senses meaning in 'the mystery of things,' and reports about the discoveries that come from merely setting narrative in motion, letting people move and breathe and be in the prose, and that is what finally connects us all, across time and distance and the grave itself. We are about SHOWING the human journey as itself, what Conrad meant when he said that above all he wanted to make us SEE. Wanted to make us feel the 'solidarity of the human family.' This is why it's such important work, what Bill Maxwell in a letter to me called 'this blessed occupation.' So the reward is in the act itself, of giving forth meaning through expression in this miraculous way, with words. Our coin, our spark and music, the bread of our daily existence. It isn’t work, so much as it is the central element of our nature: our beautiful tending toward expression.”

— Richard Bausch

I am ready

“I have rarely sat down at my desk with something to say, other than I am ready. The sitting comes first, turning up with a certain alertness to possibility. Only then does the idea feel free to settle. It settles small and very tentatively, then, through your active attention, it can grow into something much bigger.” 

— Nick Cave

The Review Review

In their newsletter, The Review Review was kind enough to talk up my Glimmer Train essay (referenced below): “Over at The Millions, Steve Adams pays a lovely tribute to Glimmer Train, which has announced recently that it will be closing." Thanks, Review Review!

neveR stop learning

Just got back from my writers’ residency where I studied with the brilliant Ethan Canin. I learned a lot, made new writer friends, and feel regrounded in my sense of myself as a writer. If you can manage a residency I recommend it. It’s like time is compressed in these places, and much growth can take place in only a week or two.

Feel

"I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now, which reads “Don’t think!” You must never think at the typewriter—you must feel. Your intellect is always buried in that feeling anyway."

— Ray Bradbury

Expectations

"If you can manage to keep expecting of yourself nothing more than that you'll spend a couple of hours a day or more if it's possible, but the two hours anyway--if you can teach yourself to allow only this kind of expectation into realm of effort where you live, you will get a lot more done, and the discouragements will tend to be less debilitating, since all you expected was time with it. It's when you let those OTHER expectations in that you head toward the silence of having given up."

— Richard Bausch