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As a writing coach I’ve worked with published, award-winning novelists, short-fiction writers, and nonfiction writers; unpublished but dedicated and experienced writers; and those new to the game who have always believed they had something to say, but didn’t know quite how or where to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

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

—  Mary Oliver

Second year in a row!

I came home from an extended road trip to amazing news -- one of the handful of stories I'm able to nominate annually for the Pushcart Prize has, for the second year in a row, won it and will be reprinted in the annual anthology. Out of the thousands of nominations, the odds of this happening once are ridiculous, but two years in a row is just crazy. More than anything I just feel lucky to have somehow managed to find such great writing and to have had any part in helping point readers to it. 


"In all my life, I have never been free. I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing."

— Langston Hughes

Putting your work in the world

Woke up to this very unexpected news: "A brief excerpt from your story at New Flash Fiction Review has been selected to project as part of The Creative Process's upcoming exhibition for the European Consortium For Humanities Institutes and Centres and shown at University of Leuven in Belgium (from April 4th to June)."

I honestly have no idea how this happened. NFFR is an online journal focused on flash (very short) writing. It seems crazy that the last 10 lines of my essay, “Why You Move to New York, v. mid-80s” will be part of an art exhibit in Belgium. But that's the thing about being a writer. It may feel at times that your work is disappearing into a black hole out there, that no one's reading it. But by even getting it in the smallest outlet it can do work in the world you may never know about, and can't possibly have imagined.

breaking silence

"With every story, long or short, there is an implied silence that is broken. The same silence that obtains when the conductor walks out and the audience quietens, and he steps up and taps the little stand where all the music is waiting, and then he raises his arms, and presto! Beethoven's ninth symphony comes into the world again. It is the same, in its way, where writing is concerned. And if you ask yourself, during revision, 'why has the silence been broken here?' you can reach into the very center of the piece, its heart. And work outward from there. And then remember that the broken silence is your voice going out into the world, and it will still be sounding in these words and phrases when you are long gone. Whether anyone comes to it or not, it will be there. And so in that one lovely way, you are never effaced. You have made the joyful noise."

— Richard Bausch


"The secret to any voice grows from a writer’s finding a tractor beam of inner truth about psychological conflicts to shine the way.”

— Mary Karr

The Terrain

"Running into the inherent difficulty of the task and not knowing which way to turn is not being blocked. It's just encountering the terrain, the territory where you will be spending more time than you ever thought you would spend anywhere. Relax. As I've said before, if you're spending the time struggling with it, then it's going well. It is ALWAYS going well if you're working, whether you're finding it easy or not. And if you're not working--not taking the chances and suffering the stumbles through it--then get to work. Be stubborn and go on and make the mistakes and take the blind alleyways. That's the way it gets done. I'll repeat myself here, too: you can't ruin it. You can only make it necessary to do it again. So, you do it again. And again. As many times as it takes to become itself, solid and so strangely, happily, separate from you."

—  Richard Bausch