Mentoring and Coaching

 “Colleagues are a wonderful thing. But mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.” — Junot Diaz

Mentors can play a crucial role in our personal and professional lives. Mentoring involves learning from someone who wants you to grow. Exceptional mentors lead by example and lift up their proteges by giving them the knowledge and tools they need. I am honoured to be an experienced mentor to emerging writers of narrative nonfiction. Lifting others is a vital part of my professional life. My clientele are as diverse as their writing.  Whether you are emerging or experienced, seek a creative outlet or publication of an essay or book proposal, I am highly attuned . I provide the support, encouragement, and insights to help people grow toward their goals in narrative nonfiction.

“Kathryn has an uncanny ability to understand who you are and where you want to go as a writer and unlock your potential step-by-step with patience, respect, and eloquence. She is a creative, fun, and resourceful teacher and artist who won’t hold back from you her insights into the inner workings of the publishing world. She’s a gem of a mentor.” — Onur, Washington, D. C.

Mentoring is bespoke and as diverse as your writing voice and subject. It can be focused on the technical and necessary side of publishing (writing query letters, developing a book proposal, author platform, social media). It can be focused on particular skills and techniques in narrative nonfiction (voice, narrative presence, scenes, dialogue, characterisation, and more). It can also be on best professional practices (developing a productive writing practice, a writing mindset, approaching agents, and more). Often it is a combination of all three and more — a hybrid of skills to help people grow.  It is all my great joy. I work with people around the world on writing query letters, book proposals, essays and essay collections, narrative nonfiction manuscripts, long-form journalism, and prose poetry as well as public speaking, book tours, and more.

“Kathryn is an exceptional teacher. As a best-selling author, she knows the publishing industry first-hand. And she is highly adept at refining one’s technical skills without stifling a writer’s voice. Without her mentoring, I would be stumbling along in the dark along my path to publication. Her guidance, support, and knowledge are game changers.” — Lise, Los Angeles, California

Each mentoring session includes detailed critical feedback on 20-25 pages of writing combined with a one-hour discussion of the writing for that week. Meetings are upbeat and enjoyable, take place on Zoom, and are a mix of custom or bespoke teaching, lecture, and discussion.

“Kathryn was a fabulous mentor at a time when I needed it the most. I was working on the manuscript of my first nonfiction book, and Kathryn had recently finished Writing Wild, which has a similar structure to mine. She provided wonderful advice about how to balance different chapters, how to better tell a story, and always reminded me to be specific rather than vague. Kathryn gave me courage to pursue interviews with higher profile people than I would have otherwise approached, and boosted my confidence as a writer. Our weekly call gave me goals, a schedule, and kept me accountable in my writing process. Because of Kathryn, I had a clearer sense of what makes a full-length nonfiction book work and how to get there. Working with her while I was in the final stages of my manuscript dramatically improved my final product and gave me skills that I will carry with me for my writing career.”-McKenzie Long, California, This Contested Land (University of Minnesota Press)

MENTORING AIMS

  • Learn to identify and practice the terms, tools, and techniques used by writers of narrative nonfiction.
  • Read and discuss a wide range of fabulous narrative nonfiction essays and books.
  • Explore and express your unique writing voice.
  • Write 6-8 essays for a portfolio of your own work.
  • Benefit from the practices, mindset, and experiences of a professional writer.
  • Enjoy the supportive structure of a writing community.
  • Practice writing queries for publication of your essays.

TUITION & TIME

  • £1250 for eight sessions (payment plans available)
  • 60-minute meeting
  • Detailed written feedback on 25 pages per session
  • Flexible times — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly

MENTORING PHILOSOPHY

My teaching and mentoring philosophy is holistic and personal, focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. Mentoring is about responding to each student, whether they are emerging writers or writing beyond the level of content mastery. I create a supportive and bespoke learning environment that fosters creative expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth while moving toward publication, if desired.

MENTORING EXPERIENCE

I am a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, I have taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University. I have a global mentoring practice, thriving online writing courses, and lead in-person retreats, courses, and workshops throughout the United States and Britain.

Contact kathryn@kathrynaalto.com for a free 30-minute consultation.