“Writing teaches writing. No one can tell you your own secret.”
– Gail Sher
The longer I do my own writing and coach and mentor other writers, the more I realize the truth of this quote: the best teacher of writing is one’s own writing.
When we immerse ourselves in the grand experiment of trying to tell our own stories, we stretch our skills, learn how to follow our instincts, gain confidence, and stumble over problems we are then forced to figure out (and, thus, learn from).
But we all know how isolating and lonely – not to mention confusing (am I on the right track?) this path can become.
It’s all too easy to lose faith in ourselves, our practice, our work and, simply, stop.
One day of not writing becomes two, becomes a week, a month, a year. Two years.
When this happens, it’s been my experience that authentic, challenging, and enriching engagement with other writers – as well as advice from a professional – can truly help!
The truth is: no other writer can give you all the answers to your own writing, but other writers can provide support, insights, and fresh perspectives.
With all of this in mind, I designed Writing Teaches Writing with a simple yet hugely valuable objective: to create an online space in which you, dear writer, can be supported, encouraged, and inspired as you commit to the oh-so-brave effort of expressing your own voice and figuring out what works for you to help you build faith in yourself, advance your craft, and be the writer you want to be so you can accomplish your most important work.
So if you are:
- Feeling alone with your writing
- Craving connection with other artists
- Pondering questions of craft and process (or publishing and grant applications) and wishing you could ask a professional
- Needing gentle guidance and support to get back to your words
- Eager to dive deeply into a project or re-engage with a work-in-process
- Hungry to learn new approaches to writing process and craft
- Wanting to find new tools and techniques to help you write better, more often, and grow faith in your work
… then this online writing program might be exactly what you need!
It will help you:
- Understand and process what your writing is teaching you
- Begin trusting your own writing instincts
- Sit more comfortably with the chaos and confusion of a creative project
- Gain wisdom around your inner critic (learn when to listen and when not to)
- Learn helpful methods for common avoidance reactions so you can get to work
- Tap into the excitement of your project
- Be less inclined to give up
- And, ultimately, gain freedom in your creative practice
How? By offering:
- Commitment: a compelling reason to devote time (whether 10 minutes a day or four hours) to focus on writing
- Coaching: thrice-weekly video, audio, written email lessons from me – as well as the opportunity to ask me unlimited questions about writing craft and your own unique situation and project
- Challenge: a mid-way online video weekend writing workshop tailored to the group’s needs in which we’ll write together, stretch skills and have fun!
- Community: an email group in which to engage with other writers, if this is something you need, in order to share your responses to my email lessons, report progress, celebrate success, and simply chat about the writing life
- A Cap: limited enrolment will encourage an engaged, enriching community that’s not too crowded!
- Celebration: an end-of-class weekend online video reading to share your best work (if desired) and listen to others’, as well as to name/retain your most important epiphanies from the class
- Critique: the option to include a one-on-one blue pencil critique session with me (jump to the F.A.Q. to find out more)
The course is fully online, through emails you can access when you have time, and just two ZOOM Video sessions (on Sunday afternoons).
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Here’s what people have said about my work as a teacher and coach:
“Lauren is a wonderful coach! She was always thoughtful, supportive, insightful and ready with just the right readings and resources. These days… I really *feel* like a writer who is actively engaged in her practice! I am so excited about what is to come, and I’m so grateful for all she’s done to help me along the way!” – Tara Borin
“Lauren provided excellent instruction, guided exercises, and a trusting positive environment in which to explore and grow as a writer. – J. L.
“Lauren’s online course was challenging yet the workload was appropriate for my schedule, which is quite busy at the moment. It gave voice and validity to the silent, more ‘unspeakable’ culprit that has sabotaged me over the years: my own anxiety. Lauren was patient, wise, and supportive as I faced it again, and again, and again…I’m getting better at getting to the work and I’m resolved to continue this practice.”
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Ready to start learning your own secrets to being a better, stronger writer?
The current class runs from January 12 – Feb 3, 2019 but a second pilot version will run from February 16 – March 10th. That’s three weeks of being challenged, guided, inspired and encouraged.
What can you accomplish in that time?
I’m not very good with technology. What’s involved in this course and how do the video sessions run?
This course is entirely online, using plain old email and an easy-to-use video conferencing program. Because it is mainly through email, you can refer to the lessons when you have the time, and engage with the community as much as you’re able.
The two video sessions – a workshop and a reading – are held through Zoom, a free videoconferencing program which is easy to download and operate (I’ll send you easy-to-follow instructions!) Then, on the morning of our two live sessions, I will send out a link which you will simply need to click in order to join.
If you can’t make these sessions – one a writing workshop, the other a final celebratory reading – they will be recorded to access later.
I hate prompts. What’s included in the thrice-weekly emails?
I’ve never been into prompts either – rest assured you won’t receive emails asking you to ‘write about the colour yellow, a briefcase and a thick fog’.
Instead, these ten email lessons will challenge you to think in new and different ways about your project and your writing practice.
They’ll offer questions to consider, provide food for thought, and give you guided exercises to figure out where you’re at, where you want to be, and to tackle the most common hurdles of doubt, perfectionism, etcetera.
I will also offer recorded versions so you can listen to them in your car, on a walk, or anywhere else. Most will also offer 10-20-minute writing sessions to help you process what you’re learning or to guide you into a daily writing session on your current work-in-progress.
Each will end with an invitation for you to send questions that have arisen about craft, your direction, process, or anything else either just to me or to the whole group – so you can get direct feedback the way you want it.
In effect, these emails are designed to enable me to be your supportive writing coach or ‘guide on the side’ supporting you in your practice and helping you get through any sticking points during these three weeks.
What credentials do you have, anyway?
I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, and a certificate in Teaching and Training Adult Learners from Georgian College.
I’ve also taken courses in creativity coaching and have coached writers from around the world and taught workshops throughout North America and online while maintaining my own writing practice.
I’ve had two books published (a novel and a poetry collection) and have two (a second novel and poetry collection) coming out in 2019 – all with respected small and mid-sized Canadian publishers. I’m also represented by Transatlantic Agency in Toronto, Ontario.
More important, however (at least to me) is the deep meaning I get from helping writers make breakthroughs and become passionate about their work and their identity as writers. I believe that devotion to one’s work, studying craft, and learning how to persist despite inevitable doubt and internal challenges can allow anyone to be the writer they want to be – and I love, love, love helping people get there! This effort to share what I know – knowledge that’s sometimes been hard won – feels like part of my calling.
What’s a blue pencil critique session?
This is an opportunity to get direct, one-on-one input from me on the words you’re putting on the page. If you include a critique session when you sign up, you can send me 8-10 pages of your work and a synopsis if the excerpt is from a larger work. I’ll provide thorough written notes and meet with you over Zoom for 45 minutes to an hour for discussion. Sometimes this is all it takes to get a fresh eye and a burst of inspiration for a project that might be stretching your limits and tempting you to give up. Just take a look at what a frustrated writer said about a recent hour-long critique session that we had:
“Before I did my critique session with Lauren I wasn’t sure if I’d ever finish my novel. My revisions weren’t going well and I had encountered several structural problems I didn’t know how to resolve. After meeting with Lauren I feel excited about it again. She was incredibly insightful and helped me build confidence in my creative process. She provided me with the tools, knowledge and resources I need to restructure my novel. Lauren also helped me create a clear plan I can follow to accomplish my goals without feeling so overwhelmed.” – E. B. Page
Why don’t you have a Facebook group where we can hang out?
Ah, Facebook. Last spring, I deactivated my account for these reasons. Months later, I hesitantly reactivated it. At that point, my account was quickly – and thoroughly – hacked (which I found out thanks to this site) so I closed it again – this time (I think, I hope) for good.
Yes, it helps keep people connected and life without it can sometimes feel weirdly lonely but, for me, it’s a trade-off. I exchange the feeling of being uber-connected for the experience of having lots of space to think and do. Without it, I find I have so much more room for quietly considering whatever project I have on the go, reading, knitting, meditating, surfing the Internet for answers to intriguing questions raised by my current WIP, etcetera.
A quote I love: “Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.” – Mahershala Ali
You can, however, find me on Twitter (because I can take it or leave it for long stretches and don’t run into addiction) at @lcarterwrites, and I’d happily see some tweeting around #writingteacheswriting
And, we won’t have Facebook but we will have a more personal, intimate group exchanging emails and meeting face-to-face via the video sessions.
Having said all this, however, you are, of course, absolutely encouraged to ‘do you’: find and connect with others in the class on the social media platform of your choice, if you want; whatever works for you and your writing life!
I write [insert: poetry, creative non-fiction, fiction, or whatever applies].
Is this course for me?
Because this course acts a bit like a tether – connecting you to community, while offering guidance that applies to any genre of writing, and opening the door so you can ask me whatever you want about your writing experience and your work – than it doesn’t matter what you’re working on!
As long as you are writing steadily, and want to learn and do more, this course will work for you! (Also, I’m a multi-genre writer of poetry, short and long fiction, non-fiction and – lately – children’s books – so, although more experienced in some, I can speak to a variety of genres).
What does ‘special pilot rate’ mean?
This is my very first time running this course! I’m super-excited about seeing how it works and getting loads of feedback so I’m charging less than when I run it the next time as I figure out what works and what doesn’t (and student input will help me immensely in this task).
I’ve never written anything before. Is this class for me?
I can absolutely appreciate and respect your interest in writing (and, you should start!), but this class is designed to best serve people who are engaged with their writing (even if that means having abandoned lots of projects, not doing it when they know they should, and feeling plagued by guilt). If you are looking to begin a writing practice, check out my online, self-directed course Nine Simple Steps To a Solid Writing Practice which will guide you through the basic elements of starting a writing practice utilizing lots of my own hard-won lessons. Once you get going and are intent on a project, I’d encourage you to sign up for this class when it runs again!
What’s your refund policy?
Because this course is capped and I’m offering it at a special pilot price, I won’t be offering any refunds, so please be certain you want to be part of it before you sign up! If you aren’t sure, get in touch and we can have an honest chat about whether or not it’ll be a good fit for you (because my aim is first and foremost for you to get a whole lot out of it!)
I’m sold! How do I sign up!?!
That’s terrific! I’m so excited to work with you!
Still not sure whether or not this course is for you? Shoot me a note at lauren AT laurencarter DOT ca ~ I’d love to chat!
A Note On Scholarships: Interested but can’t afford the fees? If you’re financially challenged and a writer who is a senior (65+) living on a fixed income and/or self-identify as having a diverse experience, check out the scholarships I’m offering! The deadline to apply is January 7th.
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And a couple more testimonials…
“I found Lauren’s online course very helpful in reigniting the fire for working on a second draft of my novel, as well as just instigating a daily writing structure. The information Lauren provided and others in the group shared was invaluable. Lauren not only provided her own writing solutions and habits including pitfalls and wins, but she offered many other writers’ opinions through supplemental readings.”
“Thank you for being a wonderful teacher and creating a platform for all of us to engage and prosper.”