*Acceptance decisions made on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged.
Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive a formal acceptance notification via email.
Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
I Write to Make Sense of My Life: Writing from Personal Experience
Led by Frances Badalamenti, author of the novels I Don't Blame You (May, 2019) and Salad Days (October, 2021). Some of her shorter work can be found at The Believer Magazine, Longreads, Vol.1 Brooklyn, Entropy and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she works with writers as both a teacher and a counselor.
This is a 3-month Individual Mentorship that includes bi-weekly 1-on-1 meetings with Frances (75 minutes each). The focus can be fiction or nonfiction, but the emphasis is on writing from personal experience: autofiction (autobiographical fiction), memoir or personal essays.
You do not need to be working on a full-length book project; this is more about accountability and developing a consistent writing practice. Some level of writing experience is preferred. You do not need to be a published writer, but Frances requires a commitment to write on a regular basis during these three months.
You will be encouraged to develop a consistent, committed writing practice. You will hone in on developing your voice. You will gain an understanding of story structure. You will learn how to develop your writing with the support of community.
And most importantly: my promise is to create a safe, inclusive space so you feel comfortable doing your work and sharing your work. This will be an ongoing part of our dialogue.
The Ideal Applicant may be at any stage of their writing practice, but should have some experience writing. The ideal applicant will come to this mentorship program with the willingness to write and to establish a consistent writing practice. You will be required to write at least 2500 words per week; although, you will only be required to submit 2500 bi-weekly.
The goal of the three months is to establish a solid, committed writing practice. You will finish a few completed stories or essays or you will have a general sense of direction (and a solid head start) on a book-length project.
Participants in this workshop will be challenged to develop the ability to see their own work with fresh eyes and ask crucial questions about what is working and what isn’t. This mentorship will consist of Frances giving extensive feedback and advice from her personal experience publishing two books and online stories, essays and interviews. Critique will focus on strengths, but also on weaknesses. Frances will recommend books, excerpts, craft essays and/or articles tailored to each unique writer’s needs in addition to the needs of the group.
You will be able to send Frances questions and talk through any roadblocks you run into over the three months, but scheduled meetings (phone or Zoom) will occur every two weeks. You will be expected to submit 2500 words every two weeks (but you will be required to write 2500 each week) for direct feedback from Frances, to be discussed at the bi-weekly meetings.
You will also be given new resources from the instructor every two weeks such as: readings, writing tips, ideas on structuring your work, and the opportunity to get support around the struggles that come with being a writer. Since this work is writing from personal experience, which can be quite challenging -- Frances will be there to to support you on this unique journey.
Mentor’s Monthly Input:
- (Two) 75 minute one-on-one meetings between mentor and mentee
- Bi-weekly feedback from mentor on writing samples (approx 2500 words)
- Bi-weekly readings: specific readings will be tailored to individual writers needs and goals; to be discussed during one-on-one meetings
- Availability over email and phone to answer questions and provide support
The 3-Month Personal Writing Mentorship
- Bi-weekly one-on-one mentoring meetings (75 minutes); discuss writing, readings and establish goals/timelines
- Personalized roadmap for achieving your currents and future goals
- Accountability from mentor
- Access to mentor via email for questions for three months
- Bi-weekly critique of work (approx 2500 words)
- Personalized readings and assignments based on your specific development needs
- Writing and revision exercises as needed
Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:
- Participate in bi-weekly one-on-one meeting (75 minutes each session)
- Submit work to mentor (2500 words to be submitted every two weeks) based on individual project goals negotiated with mentor
- Keep up with readings
- Sample Reading List
- Every other week, writers will be assigned readings specific to their individual needs (I will determine these readings based on our discussions about their work). This is just a sample list, as I will determine the readings when I know whom I will be working with and what they will be working on during our time together.
Readings will include:
Autobiographical Fiction (short stories):
- A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
- The Collected Stories of John Cheever
- The Collected Stories of Richard Yates
- Pure Slaughter Value by Rob Bingham
- Livability by Jon Raymond
- Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka
- Best American Short Stories, various years
- The Night of the Gun by David Carr
- The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster
- Consent by Vanessa Springora
- This Boys Life by Tobias Wolff
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
- White Girls by Hilton Als
- The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
- Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan
- Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
- Little Labors by Rivka Galchen
- The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang
- How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
- Best American Essays, various years
Autobiographical Fiction (Autofiction novel excerpts)
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
- Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
- Real Life by Brandon Taylor
- Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman
- History of Violence by Edouard Louis
- 10:04 by Ben Lerner
- The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen
- Motherhood by Sheila Heti
Will be determined depending on the needs of individual writers
Full Tuition for the 3-month program is $2,400. Accepted writers must commit to the full three months and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Shop Pay or Affirm at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Additional Program Information:
Tuition is $2,400
The Mentorship is fully online and students may participate from anywhere.
NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.
Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this program.
Mentor Frances Badalamenti is the author of the novels I Don't Blame You (May, 2019) and Salad Days (October, 2021). Some of her shorter work can be found at The Believer Magazine, Longreads, Vol.1 Brooklyn, Entropy and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she works with writers as both a teacher and a counselor.