Writing Coach

I offer writing coaching to writers working on memoirs, nonfiction book proposals, MFA program applications, and personal essays (with a focus on Modern Love essays). Writing coaching sessions are available on an one-time or ongoing basis, depending on the needs of the individual writer.

My students and writing coaching clients publish books with small and large publishing houses and essays in national outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. (See examples below). 

Coaching meetings are held online via GoToMeeting. My philosophy is to meet the writer at the level they’re at and help them reach their goals by teaching discrete skills and giving them honest and usable feedback. My strengths are structural and developmental editing; intuiting a narrative’s emotional preoccupation; and reading at the speed of light. My rate is 120 dollars an hour. If you’d like to set up a session, use the scheduler below or email me at theonestorprods@gmail.com.

Individual Coaching Sessions

15-minute sessions

Are you stuck on a writing question and want a quick consult? Schedule a 15-minute appointment using the calendar below.
 After you book your session, send your question to theonestorprods@gmail.com so I can prepare for your session. Or, if you prefer, just show up and ask your question.

Your 15-minute session will be held through GoToMeeting. You will receive a link to this online meeting via email after booking. After our meeting, you’ll receive a video recording of our conversation.  $30.

30-minute sessions

Want a full 30 minutes to discuss your question? Schedule a 30-minute session w/o pages in the calendar below. $60.

Are you in need of a review of pages and 30 minutes to discuss an issue you’re having with your memoir, personal essay, book proposal, agent search, or query letter? Schedule 30-minute session using the calendar below.

After you’ve booked your session, send up to 2000 words of written material (personal essay, opening of memoir, overview of book proposal, outline of memoir, for example) for review in a Word document to theonestorprods@gmail.com.

Your 30-minute session will be held through GoToMeeting. You will receive a link to this online meeting via email after booking. After our meeting, you’ll receive a video recording of our conversation. $120.00


60-minute sessions

Do you need global feedback on the opening of your memoir or business pages of your book proposal? Schedule a 60-minute session using the calendar below. After you’ve booked your session, send up to 6000 words of written material (opening of memoir, overview of book proposal, outline of memoir, for example) for review in a Word document to theonestorprods@gmail.com.

Our 60-minute session will be held through GoToMeeting.  After booking, you’ll receive a link to our online meeting. After our meeting, you’ll receive a video recording of our conversation. $240.

Reaching out to Theo when I was in the initial stages of figuring out a voice and direction for my most recent book was the best decision I could have made. She brought to our relationship (and my project) her gift of seeing the bigger story, understanding the potential of my vision and voice, and painlessly guiding me to express what I was struggling to get out. I’m grateful for her support and shepherding, and she’ll absolutely be my first call should I undertake another book in the same vein.
Debbie Reber
Author of Differently Wired:Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World

Schedule a Session:
  • Appointment Info

  • Your Info

Selected nonfiction titles from former students and clients:

New York Times Modern Love columns by former students and clients:



Forthcoming nonfiction from former students:

Untitled memoir from Noe Alvarez forthcoming from Catapult (2020)

Setting the Wire by Sarah Townsend forthcoming from Lettered Streets Press (2019)

Flying Free by Cecilia Aragon forthcoming from Blackstone (2020).

Washington Post essays by former students:

My son’s father killed him for insurance money. Full justice hasn’t been served by Hera McLeod.

We’re failing the immigrant kids who show up alone on our border by Noe Alvarez

Marijuana’s addictive risk shouldn’t be ignored by Roger Roffman

My husband was laid off. Here’s what happened to our parenting by Natalie Singer


Theo’s bio:

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a 2008 Top Pick for Reading Groups and as a Target “Breakout Book.” An award-winning instructor, Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006. She also teaches at Hugo House in Seattle and has taught two master classes at Hedgebrook. She holds an MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Washington. Nestor also produces events for writers such as the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat, Bird by Bird & Beyond, and the Black Mesa Writers’ Intensive, featuring talks by writers such as Anne Lamott, Cheryl Strayed, Julia Cameron, and Natalie Goldberg.  You can follow her on Facebook hereInstagram, and on Twitter @theopnestor.  Read testimonials here:

Theo Nestor changed my life. Taking her Certificate in Memoir class at UW in 2015-1016—blew the top of my head off. I can't describe it any other way. It was as if Theo opened a trapdoor to my childhood and everything that came after. She validated all the life experiences I chose to write about, and in so doing affirmed that I had a voice worth sharing with the world. The following year, two students from Hugo House and I entered into a coaching program with Theo. We met twice a month to share and critique our pieces, often with Theo recording our sessions so we could play them back at home in case we didn't catch everything that was said. Theo consistently approached our work with respect, honesty, and compassion, encouraging us—with razor-sharp insights—to go deeper and unpack the meaning behind our pages. Not only was she a fabulous mentor, she went out of her way to introduce me to magazine editors who would publish my work and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to apply for a Hedgebrook scholarship. And did I say she has a wonderful sense of humor? I have taken many writing workshops since that UW class, but I know I won't find a teacher as generous and open-hearted as Theo Nestor. She is one of a kind. I owe her a deep debt of gratitude.
Reni Roxas
Children's book publisher & editor
I turned to Theo in the latter stage of revising my memoir, at a point when I needed a frank assessment from someone who knew neither me nor the story I was trying to write. She delivered in spades. Her questions about the story arc and her suggestions with regard to craft allowed me to not only see the problems clearly, but also gave me guidance for how to fix them. My work with her was a key step in my path to publication. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
Janet Buttenwieser
Author of GUTS
Theo is a gifted teacher. She is so incisive and helpful in steering me in the right direction that I can’t say enough good things about her. I highly recommend!
Carly Bergey
Just as she is a gifted teacher, Theo Nestor is a gifted coach. Her feedback is specific, concrete, and honest. She has deep knowledge of the publishing world. She is strategic, and she is wise. She is funny. She inspires. Hire her.
Page Ulrey
Theo's enthusiasm, professionalism, and sincerity helped take my writing to the next level. She is so wonderfully kind and caring, with an eye for editing. The connection I built with Theo gave me the ability to write more vulnerably, and ultimately more engagingly. I highly recommend working with Theo, especially as a memoir writer.
Raz Tal
I took a self-styled “sabbatical” from my psychotherapy practice so I could work on my memoir. But after writing about 150k words I was at an impasse about how to make it all fit together. Around then, I read Writing is My Drink, which I loved. I got the idea to contact Theo for mentoring, though after reading her book I was somewhat star struck and wondered if she was too famous and talented to want to work with someone like me. Answer: no! She was wonderfully down to earth, like that funny friend that you can’t quite get enough of. She read all of my pages – so many! – and then we met via GoToMeeting for an hour and a half. The meeting was recorded so I could return later to review it, which I have. Theo did something that isn’t easy: she gave me just enough critique to get me moving, but also plenty of positive reinforcement. I left the meeting feeling buoyed and hopeful. Her main piece of advice has had a huge effect on my project. She said she thought that my memoir was actually a novel (and gave me many reasons why). Though I was surprised, I knew she was right. After this nudge I haven’t looked back. I have finished one full draft of the novel and am working on revisions. I’m so grateful for Theo!​
Jennifer Noel
Not only does Theo bring strong academic credentials and experience as a published writer to her role as writing coach, perhaps most importantly, she brings her generous humanity. Theo offers original insights and practical suggestions for your writing which cohere with your own vision. As a skilled and experienced coach, Theo guides you towards your authentic voice and provides encouragement as well as creative suggestions as you reveal your story. Her strengths as a well-read writer often come into play in the coaching process as she suggests texts and authors as reference points and resources. Nestor is able to discern the strongest framework for your narrative because of her unique perspective but she never imposes her vision on you. Working with Theo is always collaborative. Theo meets you where you are as a writer and guides you with firm compassion to tell the story within you. Her flexibility and willingness to work with your schedule also lessens a bit of the inherent pressure of writing. Theo’s extensive writing knowledge and strong editing skills, coupled with her deft touch working with writers make working with her highly satisfying and enjoyable. I have had a multitude of teachers and coaches over the years, and Theo stands above them all. With her combination of professional credentials, experience as a published writer and her innate compassion towards writers and the writing process, Theo is a rare resource.
Kit Cudahy
Theo is a gifted teacher. She is so incisive and helpful in steering me in the right direction that I can’t say enough good things about her. I highly recommend!
Shigeko Ito
Theo Nestor is my go-to manuscript coach. With her guidance and critique, I crafted a personal essay and writing sample that resulted in my acceptance to Columbia University’s MFA program in creative nonfiction. Around the same time, I came to her with an essay I had written about a traumatic event just after the event had occurred. Her advice to me was to step back and take time to process and gain perspective. Theo was right—I’ve only recently come back to that essay and am now able to explore the event with literary and emotional honesty in a way I couldn’t have before. More recently, I sought her expertise on an essay for which I could not pin down an ending. She diagnosed the problem—I had tried to address more than one issue in an essay requiring a singular focus. During revision, I followed her advice and wrote not only a stronger essay but also the once elusive ending. I am deeply grateful for her insight, kind but direct feedback, and actionable suggestions. More than any other writing teacher, Theo has helped shaped my writing and, therefore, my life.
Phoenix Glass

11 Responses to Writing Coach

  1. Margaret Coombs Farris says:

    Dear Theo-Thank you for everything you have taught me this past year. It has really contributed to my recovery and has helped me find my current passion (I hope it continues). I spoke to you a while ago about meeting with you privately. In particular I’d like to get some suggestions for my “Stratus” entry as well as some tips on the writer’s conference in July. I’ve never attended anything like this, and I want to get as much out of it as I can. If you could give me an idea of good times for you, I’ll let you know that I’m flexible and can drive during the day, but can also meet at night if that’s better. I look forward to hearing from you. Fondly, Margaret Coombs Farris

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  4. Theo is a highly-skilled teacher and coach. I owe much of my publishing success to her instruction.

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  7. I’m a nonfiction writer wanting to write a memoir…

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