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The Guy Across the Hall

Years ago, my wife and I shared space in an old building. It consisted of three rooms: her office, my office, and a receptionist's entry room as you came in the door that opened onto the hallway.

If a new client came in to see me, I would interview him or her, take notes and wait for the client to leave.

Then I would do what most young lawyers did in those days: I would pick up the landline phone and call a lawyer friend of mine, explain the facts, and ask him what I needed to do.

My point is that nothing is more important in learning one's craft than having someone you trust to talk to, someone who can help you learn the real-life application of your chosen profession.

Let's call that go-to person the guy across the hall.

In the writing world, the guy across the hall is the book coach. He or she is there to take those calls a writer makes when he's stuck, or down and out, or maybe when he strings a line of words together that sing and he needs to read them to someone.

Book coaching is not a hard concept to grasp. The coach is there for the writer, there to offer advice, listen, and maybe even scold. But the coach has one thing in mind: How can I help the writer make her book the best it can be?

Who doesn't want to have someone across the hall she can call?

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