Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Publish date:


Ending a professional relationship that is also a personal relationship can be tricky. Sometimes the end comes naturally—time is up or the goal is accomplished. But sometimes, a professional relationship ends because styles or expectations don’t mesh. You may like your coach or mentor, but find that you’re not getting what you really need.

Whatever the reason, handle the break in a professional manner. Give advance notice before the final session so that you can complete unfinished business. Be courteous, even if the relationship wasn’t positive. Offer feedback when asked.

“I appreciate clients who tell me what I have done well and what needs to be improved,” says professional coach Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon. This includes affirming the performance, but also communicating if homework was too overwhelming, the pace felt too fast, or if you didn’t feel pushed far enough.

“It’s really challenging when people just disappear and I don’t know what happened,” says Jodi Helmer, a professional mentor for freelance writers. Let the mentor know if you’ve decided not to freelance anymore, or if life got too busy, or if it just wasn’t a good fit.

Contractual agreements should have a dissolution or break-up clause that allows one or both parties to break the arrangement under normal circumstances. Review your contract thoroughly to ensure there are no penalties for either party if you agree to end the relationship.

Coaches and mentors understand that not everyone works well together, so there is no shame in ending a relationship that isn’t helping you advance. It’s worth taking the time to find a good fit, even if you have to search a couple of options. And consider that sometimes your needs change as your career progresses—a coach who worked well with you five years ago might not match your needs as well now as would a mentor in your field.

There’s plenty more where these tips came from! To read Amann's full guide to working with a writing coach or mentor, pick up a copy of the July/August 2015 Writer’s Digest or download it instantly now.

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

In this post, Dinty W. Moore shares what inspired his most recent book To Hell With It, what lesson it taught him, why writers should have fun with their writing, and more!

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

In this post, Arisa White shares how she was able to piece together her past with her present, how some works freed her to write, and more!

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use adapt vs. adept vs. adopt with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

wow no thank you

Nuggets of Humor

Bestselling humor author Samantha Irby talks about her writing process and finding funny topics for essays.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Announcing the 14th annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides. Here are the guidelines for this fun annual poeming challenge that starts on April 1.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Call for Submissions, Free Downloads, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce a call for submissions to the WD Self-Published Book Awards, free resources for writers, and more!

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 28

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write a story using only dialogue.

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Bestselling author Nicole Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series and how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests.