Whether you’re working on a book or just beginning to find your voice as a writer, I can help you open the channels to deeper, more soulful expression and access the abundant source of powerful material hidden inside. With a background as a psychotherapist and dharma teacher, as well as a masters degree in writing and many years of experience in the publishing world, I can support your process spiritually, creatively and practically as your writing opens and unfolds. I can help you open to the joys of a regular writing practice, work with blocks as they emerge, structure your project, encourage you when you feel like giving up, and respond to work in progress. I’ll hold your hand and I’ll challenge you — all in an atmosphere of openness, non-judgment and deep play.
My mentoring is best suited for those who want to use writing as a means of self discovery and increased awareness; who want to expand their capacity for articulation and deep inner sensing. This is writing as deep soul practice. I see my main purpose as helping you realize the work on its own terms and at your current capacity, so it stays authentically yours.
Writing can be a challenging process. Many writers carry difficult memories of having their work criticized, corrected and misunderstood by teachers and peers, as well as powerful streaks of perfectionism and the tendency to judge and compare. These patterns of thinking about our work, along with the vulnerability of exposing parts of ourselves that we might normally keep under wraps, can create unconscious blocks to writing about what most matters to us. I offer an open, receptive, supportive space to move through these old stories and get on with the powerful work of expression. In this context, the process of writing can be deeply transformative.
When I look at a piece of writing, I take it in as a world with itself as a reference point — not according to a standard that comes from outside the work itself. I tune into the piece as though it were a child, and rather than imposing an idea on it, I see what it wants to be as best I can and try to align with that. With this attitude as a basis, my job is to sense where you are in the writing process and what “mind” will be most helpful at that stage to cultivate — whether generative, reflective, or discerning.
In the generative stage of writing, I give you ideas and prompts for creating work from a place of spontaneous ease and help you to cultivate the generative attitude so that your writing time can be experienced as enjoyable, deep play, instead of a frustrating and chaotic struggle.
Once you’ve generated material, I help you to reflect on your work by acting as a mirror — asking questions, pointing out embryonic areas that might be explored, looking at questions of tone, pacing and structure, and offering encouragement for sinking into a deeper layer of truth. I also help you work with inner demons that keep you from your work, and address the habits of mind that undermine your ability to tolerate the practical and psychological challenges of staying with the creative process.
And finally, in the discernment stage, I help you to refine and polish your work, lending a careful eye to the coherence and aesthetic of the piece as a whole while helping you to recognize and clear the voices of your judging mind which can often derail our work at this stage. I can also help you to sort through the various paths toward publication and choose which direction to pursue.
For those who intend to publish, it is important to understand that I see myself as facilitating your own deep creative process rather than acting as a traditional editor. While there are plenty of fine editors who will help you to refine your work to an outside standard, reshaping it with their own ideas or even ghostwriting it for you to help you get a book contract, that is not my style. I won’t write your book for you, but I will help you connect to your inner source of material, sharpen your attunement to your own aesthetic, give you tools and insights into crafting your work and support an inner-directed process so that you come to trust yourself as a writer. The work will be entirely yours.
It doesn’t matter whether you intend to publish your work with a traditional publisher, self-publish for a large audience or for a few close friends, send it to magazines, put it on a blog or use it as a private process just for you. These are all equally legitimate avenues, none better than another, when you are committed to using writing as a tool of integration and awakening, as well as art and communication. In that case, I’d be honored to serve as your guide, mirror and mentor as you tangle with your writing demons, celebrate your insights, and realize your work.
I am available for single sessions on an as-needed basis, or ongoing mentoring at package rates via Skype to anywhere in the world. In addition to working with individuals, I periodically hold online writing circles as well as in-person groups and retreats. If you resonate with this approach to writing, please contact me for a free 30-minute consultation to explore together how my style of working might take you to a new level in your writing.
[schedule a session]
For those who are interested in using writing as a spiritual practice, you might want to also read about my approach to spiritual mentoring, which informs my work in this context. These sessions provide resources and encouragement for developing and sustaining an enlivening personal spiritual practice that integrates transcendent insight with earthly life.
[more on spiritual mentoring]