What is it?

Think of it this way: To be good at baseball, it is not enough to know the rules of baseball. One must have quick reflexes, good hand-eye coordination, strength, agility, and speed. This kind of mastery requires good coaching and, most importantly, practice.

Same goes for writing. Some knowledge is required to write well of course. One must know the rules of grammar, usage, mechanics—but writing is mostly a skill. Writing coaching works best for students who already, for the most part, know the rules. They just need someone to help them practice and build their skills.

Recommended for students ages 11 and up.

Hi, I'm Ms. Finnigan!

I graduated with my M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Creative Nonfiction) from the University of Montana. Years ago, I worked as an online writing coach for students and adult writers.

For the past nine years, I taught Creative Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition at Kolbe Academy Online, where "my" freshmen got a crash course in learning how to write academic papers at a high school level. I loved setting them up for success in high school and beyond!

Whether you're just learning how to write a good paragraph or ready to pen your magnum opus, I'd love to help you on your journey.

Where do we start?

I am happy to help students with:

  1. writing projects that have been assigned through a Teach to the Text Study Guide,
  2. writing projects that have been assigned through another curriculum, or
  3. writing projects that the student has undertaken independently or that we have initiated together.

I will work with students on a project that is already underway or we can start a new one “from scratch.”

Just let me know what you have in mind!

How does it work?

• Easy! It's all done on email

• Students can send one email per day, Mon-Fri

• Coaches will write back within 24 business hours and assign 15-30 minutes of work

• One month minimum

• Course sharing allowed among siblings who can switch off days

Parents, make sure you have access to the email account your child will use so you can monitor progress and provide oversight!

Students are under no obligation to respond within a certain timeframe. They can write to their coach once per day or once per week, whatever works for them (and their parents). But once a course begins, the “clock is ticking.” Missed days cannot be added to the end of the course.

The student does not enroll at a certain grade level or with peers. The coach works with the student one-on-one and meets that student at his or her current skill level!t

Start Today!

What to expect

In the first exchange, the coach and the student will get acquainted, talk about goals, and pick the first project.

Then the coach will walk the student through the project step by step, sometimes paragraph by paragraph, working together through all phases of the writing process, which the coach will break down for the student into manageable pieces.

If the student prefers to write first drafts independently, the coach and the student can skip right to the feedback and revision phase.

Lessons arise organically as the course progresses. The coach is continually assessing the student's work, identifying teaching points, and prioritizing them according to age, ability, goals, and other factors.

Writing coaching offers a truly individualized form of teaching through which the teacher can identify strengths and weaknesses as well as gaps in knowledge, and create a custom strategy that will allow that student to grow as a writer.


"Detailed feedback given to students with an obvious desire and effort to support their success."

— Parent, Spring 2022 Professional Review

"Essay feedback is super helpful…It really has helped me progress as an analyst and writer, and kept me on top of the writing."

— Student, Spring 2022 Professional Review

"As to teaching, my son had a wonderful time in Ms. Finnigan's classes. She really inspired him to write, in particular. His writing has really blossomed this year and I believe part of that is down to Ms. Finnigan's encouraging words and affirmation. Going into this year, I expected this class to be a tremendous struggle as neither grammar nor writing are huge favorites. Remarkably, he began to pay closer attention to grammar than ever before and really grew as a young writer. He's always had an interest in storytelling, but his coursework this year really supported him on the path, as well as develop his writing skills further. Thanks so much! Such a blessing! … From what I could tell, Ms. Finnigan is a very enthusiastic, warm, and engaging instructor. My son really loved his classes with her this year. He always had an extra bounce to his step after class."

-- Parent, Spring 2022 Professional Review

"I love the feedback Mrs. Finnigan gives on poetry :). She is always very encouraging and gives specific feedback on what she likes and what needs to be improved. Mrs. Finnigan made poetry accessible and fun for me, and I had never written or seriously studied any poetry before."

- Student, Spring 2022 Professional Review