Living Collaborative Exploration: How I Work with Writers

WORKING WITH WRITERS LIGHTS ME UP. It’s exciting to help new writers find their feet, and then watch them take off as they gain confidence and strength. It’s like seeing a newborn foal, who staggered upright in the first minutes after its birth, galloping around the paddock, tail raised high, a flag of independence.

New-to-me writers often ask about the process: What steps will we take to help them get from here to there? It’s a great question. My answer, however, is always this: It’s our process, not just my process. It’s a path we’ll create together, by walking along it.

Sure, I’ve had a lot of experience accompanying writers on their writing journeys—but every writer is unique. This means that what will help one person grow and learn is specific to them. My job is to pay attention to what’s working—and what’s not working—and take my cues from the writer I’m engaged with, not what helped a client last month or something I read in a textbook fifteen years ago!

We’re blazing a trail. Not following a map. Our journey together is a living, collaborative exploration* of what it means for each person I work with to be a writer in this world.

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*Hats off to Ryan Van Cleave, Creative Writing BFA Coordinator, Ringling College, for finding just the right words to describe what I do.

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