I am excited to announce year two of the Sayable Writing Mentorship. We begin on March 8th. Here’s what a few of 2018’s participants said about the guided mentorship:
“I cannot think of a way in which this course did not exceed my expectations. You served each of us so well over these last few weeks, pouring into our writing, sharing content that was both challenging and enlightening, and encouraging us as writers and followers of Christ.”
“It has been the single best thing for me as a writer. Pivotal.”
“It was cathartic, almost. I signed up to "find my voice" and "regain what I had lost." Lore took us on a journey to do just this. I found myself sitting and journaling after each reading. I highlighted pieces of her emails and tacked them onto my workspace so I would be reminded of why I was writing and who I was writing for. Her instruction was invaluable because she pointed us to authors and artists excelling in their field, and ultimately pointed us to Christ. My experience cannot be quantified.”
Before I issue the invitation to be a part of this year’s group, though, I wanted to say a few things.
If your aim is to be published, this is not the group for you. Most of the advice out there for folks who want to get published is all about making connections, networking, building a platform, getting an audience, etc. I don't want to disparage those efforts, but I think the thing our world is really thirsting for is not more writers, but better writers. Becoming better writers takes time, feedback, brutal honesty, humility, a willingness to edit and be edited, patience, the ability to hear the word no, and not see a no as a deterrent but instead as a tool to shape and hone writing.
I will not be helping you get published quick because I think quick publishing is one of the worst things that's ever happened to good writing. I will also not be connecting you with any publishing platforms or sharing your social links or blogs during these weeks. My job in this mentorship will be to help you become a better thinker, writer, and submitter of your own work on its own merits—not the merits of your story or who you know or wherever you think your work belongs. That said, most of the writers who went through the 2018 mentorship have seen remarkable growth in their reach, not only on their personal sites, but publishing on well known sites, essays in books, and a few book deals.
Now that we’ve talked about what this mentorship won’t be, what will it be?
It will be a place where you will exercise the muscles of non-fiction first person narrative writing (much like the sort you find on Sayable). We will not be doing fiction writing of any sort. These will be short and long essays. Let your personal ideas, thoughts, and perspectives flow. The best writers know what they think about all kinds of things, instead of simply regurgitating whatever research or popular opinion is floating about. What piques your interest? Gets you excited? Makes you sad? What do you fear? What are you willing to confess? What do you know about God? What do you not know about Him? This is the stuff we’ll talk about and work through. There are plenty of deeply theological writers out there whose lives are woefully uninspected, who find themselves caught off-guard in all kinds of pride and arrogance and fear and doubt and more because while they knew much about God, they overlooked inspecting their own hearts. Calvin said, “Nearly all the wisdom which we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
You will be annoyingly aggressive with your own writing. You will let others be annoyingly aggressive with your writing. You will edit, embellish, omit, and extend. You will “kill your darlings” and you will cradle them rarely. You will not force your words using cheap tricks like alliteration or cliche.
You should expect to commit about 15-45 minutes a day to writing, depending on how quickly you write and how much you procrastinate. There is also one book you’ll need to read, plus one article and podcast each week. Plan on spending about 2-3 hours a week on this.
You will need to purchase one of these books: On Writing, Walking on Water, Bird by Bird, or The Writing Life. It doesn’t matter which one, just pick one that looks most interesting to you. You will need to have it read by the beginning of week two, so buy it soon and get started.
You will need to find two people in your life who know you, flesh and blood, in real life (no online buddies), who will commit to reading a few of your pieces before you hand them in (as assigned). You will need to commit to listen to their advice. These should not be your mom or your aunt, unless your mom or aunt are handier with a red pen than they are with effusive praise.
You will need access to and familiarity with Google Docs as it will be our main tool. I will not be mentoring on how to use it. If you have questions, google them. I will explain more in the syllabus, but familiarity is a must.
The cost for this eight week mentorship is $250. You will need to paypal the entire amount before March 8, 2019, to have access to the group. Once you’ve applied and been accepted, I will send you the paypal information.
If you can do all this and want to commit, then by golly, I want you apply! Apply here by February 17th. I will let you know the final decision by February 22th. I will choose ten applicants and we will begin on March 8, 2019. Last year I received over 200 applicants within three days and closed the process earlier than I anticipated because I couldn’t wade through that many applicants. I won’t do that again this year but I am just setting a shorter deadline. I’m anticipating fewer applicants this year, so if you applied last year and want to be considered again, please apply! Get to work! I can’t wait to see your words.