I coach writers working on memoir manuscripts, nonfiction book proposals, MFA program applications, and personal essays, meeting on a one-off or ongoing basis depending on the needs of the individual writer. My coaching clients have published memoirs and cookbooks with small and large publishing houses and have been published in Yoga Journal, Salon, Self, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and many other places (find links to selected examples below).

Coaching meetings are held online via a meeting platform that allows for us to meet face to face. My rate is 120 dollars an hour, and I’m willing to meet for very short, focused meetings and charge by the minute (minimum 15 minutes). 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 and reading at the speed of light. I don’t proofread unless a client desperately needs me to because it’s not my strength, but I’m happy to refer you to an excellent proofreader. If you’d like to know more about the coaching process or set up a session, send me an email at

Selected memoir titles from my former students and clients:

The Alchemy of Loss by Abigail Carter

California Calling by Natalie Singer

The Chicken Who Saved Us  by Kristin Jarvis Adams (Finalist: Washington State Book Award)

Dopefiend: A Father’s Journey from Addiction to Redemption by Tim Elhajj

Marijuana Nation by Roger Roffman

There’s Been a Change of Plans by Amy Koko

Starved: A Nutrition Doctor’s Journey from Empty to Full by Anne McTiernan

My Fluorescent God by Joe Guppy (Named one of 2015 Best Books by Kirkus Reviews)

Bering Sea Strong by Laura Hartema

GUTS by Janet Buttenweiser

Memoir from Noe Alvarez forthcoming from Catapult (2020)

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

Nonfiction books from my former coaching clients:

Differently Wired by Deborah Reber

Novels from my coaching clients:

All I Left Unsaid by Rosy Crumpton

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

How I Fell for an “I’m the Man” Man by Susan Forray

A World Away, A Wish Answered by Natalie Appleton

As a Father, I Was Hardly a Perfect Fit  by Tim Elhajj

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War by Judith Gille

Labels of Married Life, in a New Life by Margot Page

In the New Year, More Cuddling by Kristine Lloyd

Washington Post essays by my 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-Velush

Self magazine essay by a former student:

Running helped me cope with my husband’s sudden death by Allison Ellis

Salon essays by my former student and client:

Dating after the mastectomy by Wendy Staley Colbert

Why bigger breasts eased my cancer recovery by Wendy Staley Colbert

Brain, Child magazine essays by my former students:

Nearly Drowning by Vera Giles (selected by editors as one of the magazine’s best essays of 2015)

Movie Night by Natalie Singer-Velush

Coffee Cake and Kindness by Reni Roxas

Full Grown People essays published by my former students:

On my Watch by Joyce Tomlinson

BabyShusher by Natalie Singer-Velush


MFA and MA programs my students and clients have gone on to attend:

Goddard, Pacific University, Lesley University, Emerson College, Columbia University,  University of Washington, American Institute of Indian Art (IAIA), and City University of London.



author-photo-1 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 at twice 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 here and on Twitter @theopnestor. Read testimonials from coaching clients here.

11 Responses to Coaching

  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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