“With Anne’s support and encouragement, I produced more writing than I have in years, and wrote with more self-confidence than I ever have. As a fellow writer, she celebrates the courage it takes to sit before a blank page and write as well and as honestly as one can.” – Keith E.
“If you want someone to take you deeper into your own work -- so you know where it sings, where it wants more from you, and why any of your words matter, work with Anne.” – Shelley K.
Who I Work With
People I work with come from all kinds of writing backgrounds. Some are taking the first steps on their writing journey, dipping in to discover what stories and themes from their life hold the most charge and meaning for them. Others are experienced writers who need the discipline of deadlines or the knowledge that there is an expectant and careful reader waiting for their words. Wherever you may be on your writing path, I can meet you there.
I read, write, and give feedback on all kinds of nonfiction—from memoir to lyric essays, personal essays to book-length projects, and the occasional report or grad school application. I have also worked with fiction writers, and I enjoy reading an occasional poem or genre-transcending piece.
My Mentoring Philosophy
Writing is a process through which we can discover who we are, what is important to us, what we think, feel, and need to say. As a writing mentor, I am here to help you access your most authentic voice and meaningful work. I believe that it is important for writers to take risks, and to allow ourselves to explore the places that hold the most energy, charge, and emotion. To this end, I believe it is essential to write often, to write without censoring, and to develop an understanding of your own writing process: from free-writing or journaling to the first attempts to shape and craft a piece, to the many stages of revising, rewriting, publishing, and letting go.
Writing is an act of communication: first we seek to communicate with ourselves, and once this dialogue grows strong, often we then yearn to communicate with others. This is where revision, rewriting, and getting feedback and perspective comes in.
Writing is also an act of faith. You follow a spark of an idea and see where it goes. Often, the best writing lets go of preconceived ideas and allows your natural flow of words to dictate the direction of a piece—especially in early “discovery drafts.” A rare piece comes out in fine shape in an early draft; others may take months or years to gestate.
How I Give Feedback
When I give feedback, I try to articulate what I think the piece is about. The surface story may seem obvious, but beneath this story I try to locate the underlying themes, questions, or hidden layers of nuance and meaning. I ask a lot of questions, I point out the strengths of the writing, as well as places that are confusing to me, that could benefit from more detail, or that seem unnecessary. I look at the overall shape and structure of a piece, including beginnings, endings, and transitions, and sometimes I may suggest a radical revision, an entirely new way to approach your piece or subject matter. I also suggest line edits, and pay attention to specific word choices, sentence structures, and small details. I listen to what you tell me about the kind of feedback you are seeking and specific questions you may have.
I always try to respect your intentions as a writer and offer my opinions not as “the authoritative voice” on writing, but as one voice, one person responding to your writing. Others will have different opinions, and the more you listen to the range of responses out there, the more you will learn to identify what resonates with you and what doesn’t.
Ways We Can Work Together
I am open to working with you in a way that best meets your specific needs and goals.
As an editor, I can give feedback on a piece-by-piece basis or a book-length project, through email, snail mail, by telephone, Skype, or in a face-to-face meeting. Feel free to contact me via email for a quote.
As a coach/mentor, I often work with people for an initial three-month period and then we decide if we want to continue. You will create a "self-contract" outlining your goals over an agreed upon amount of time-- one of which will be for you to submit work to me regularly for feedback-- and together we will work towards helping you fulfill your writing aspirations. This mentorship model is inspired from the low-residency MFA program I attended at Antioch University Los Angeles.
To learn more about my mentoring services, to hear testimonials, or to receive a quote on an individual piece or a book-length project, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org