Almost every day I’m conscious of how fortunate we readers and writers are to spend time thinking seriously about stories when there’s so much other work to be done in the world. Sometimes it feels like a guilty pleasure, but when you sit back and consider that the earth can turn on its fat axis for billions of years without a drop of ink to grease it, but you and I can’t even watch the clouds without whipping up a lie for whoever’s at our elbow, it seems clear we were born for this work. May as well do it well, you know?
January’s always been my favorite month because it’s so devoted to dreaming and planning, but it feels especially significant to me this year: My Two Cents Editing turns 10 this fall, and my goal for 2019 is for us to be of service to writers who want to tell better stories more skillfully.
The mentorship program we launched last January has proved to be a meaningful way to connect with authors for one-on-one conversations about their works in progress and their writing practice. We’ve refined that process for the new year by introducing more structure to those conversations and offering a couple of new packages at different price points, including a 3-month guided mentorship with 12 weekly sessions and unlimited email support. We’ll soon offer the option to record and download mentoring sessions so clients can listen again later and see how they’ve progressed.
Where mentoring addresses the whole writer in conversations that cover habits, attitudes, blindspots, insights, goals, and solutions in addition to improving elements of craft, Matthew Arkin’s creative writing course teaches specific skills with discrete exercises followed by comprehensive line editing and critique. The Storyteller’s Eye provides a framework for improving mastery one element at a time without putting a manuscript on the line.
Well, it’s the middle of the night and I’ve been at this newsletter for three and a half hours. If I had to pay the bills with my writing, my children would surely starve. I’ll sign off in a minute, but I wanted to tell you my favorite books of 2018. Goodreads tells me I read 64 last year: 45 nonfiction and 19 novels. These were my five favorites:
- Deep Work – nonfiction by Cal Newport (life changer)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – fiction by Ken Kesey (I know, I’m late to the game)
- Heartberries – memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot (powerful, Native American)
- One of the Boys – fiction by Daniel Magariel (wow. yikes.)
- George – middle-grade fiction by Alex Gino (a perfectly ordinary middle-grade novel about a trans girl <3 <3 <3 )
You can see the rest here if you’re interested. I’m shooting for 72 books in 2019 and I’d love to see what you read in your spare time. If you’re on Goodreads or have been thinking about using it as a reading log or a resource, feel free to add me as a friend. (I’m right here.)
Thanks for reading, dear writer. I truly hope these lines find you safe and warm, healthy and loved, that you have everything you need, and that you can see how to share the extras.