Writing Coach

Is writing holding you back when you're trying to get ahead? Do you struggle with structure every time you write? Does writing sometimes make you want to quit? I guide writers through the development of their work — from academic writing to fiction, from application essays and test essays to plays. I have a subspecialty in working with individuals with disabilities, including executive functioning disorders (such as ADHD), learning disabilities, and anxiety disorders; my unique coaching system supports all writers of all ages and skill levels, from high school students to doctoral candidates, by focusing on the individual's specific writing process. I am a doctoral student in Literacy Education at Syracuse University, and conduct in-person coaching sessions in the Central New York area; for those farther-flung, I am happy to arrange sessions via phone or Skype.

Writing Coach, GemmaCooperNovack.com, Boston, MA and elsewhere (2011-present)
Instructor, Various Writing Courses, Brookline Adult and Community Education, Brookline, MA (2014-present)
Instructor, “Writing Rights,” Boston Plan for Excellence, Boston, MA (2013-2014)
Resident Writing Coach, Boston Teacher Residency, Boston, MA (2013-2014)
Writing Coach, Access and Disabilities Services, Harvard Graduate School of Education (2010–2014)
Adult Education Instructor, Truman College at Association House of Chicago (2007–08)
High School Tutor, Howard Area Community Center, Chicago, IL (2007)
ESL Tutor, Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries, Chicago, IL (2004–05)

Disabilities Services
Eileen Berger, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Education Neuroscience
L. Todd Rose, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Inclusive Practices for Graduate Students with Disabilities: A Writing Coach Model” (with Eileen Connell Berger), NASPA Knowledge Communities (2013)

“More Time Is Not Enough: Supporting Graduate Students with Learning Disabilities Using a Writing Coach Model, a Case Study” (with Eileen Connell Berger and Yamila Hussein), Conference on Equity and Social Justice, Syracuse University (2014)

FAQ: The “Snake Fight” Portion of Your Thesis Defense (McSweeney’s)

Working with Gemma has transformed my writing process. In our weekly meetings, Gemma helps me to prioritize the papers I’m working on, think short-term and long-term about what writing projects I want to accomplish, and carve out time in my schedule for specific writing tasks. When I feel stuck on a paper, or completely overwhelmed by my work, she gives me encouragement and helps me find a way out. When I need help thinking through the logic of a section or even a paragraph, she reads with a sharp but empathetic eye. She always seems to grasp what I’m trying to do even when my writing is a mess. I love working with Gemma! I’m a much more focused, productive and calm writer as result of her coaching. I sing her praises to all my academic friends!

Elizabeth

graduate student

Gemma helped me break down my work, keep things manageable, and graduate from grad school. She is not only a fabulous organizational coach, but also a fabulous person, who I would recommend without hesitation.

Whitney

educator

I had been working with a rather flat plot [for my musical], and Gemma pushed me to heighten the tension by creating greater differences between the characters and by stretching me out of my comfortable material, all while keeping me feeling comfortably in control of my own story. The amazing part? I had my plot and relationships straightened out with heightened stakes and character development, to my excitement and delight, all within two sessions. … [W]ith Gemma's coaching, I will be on my way to digging into writing — a place I had been struggling to get to for over a year. Thank you, Gemma!

Rory

playwright

We are so appreciative to Gemma for everything she has been doing to help my daughter! The two of them have a really good connection, and my daughter no longer loathes writing as she used to. Gemma has really gotten to know my daughter and her way of working. It's all going in the right direction for her, and we really have Gemma to thank for that. She is a very special "find" for us!

Connie

parent of 8th-grader

Thank you for the impact you have made in my education.

Tabitha

GED student

Contact me to collaborate on writing, editing, education, and theater!

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