Are you stymied about how to start a blog? Stuck three-quarters of the way through writing a memoir? Wanting to get a more consistent look and style with your client handouts? Needing information about self-publishing? I can help!
I am offering writing mentorships for trainers and behavior professionals through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) again in 2020. You can bring any writing projects to the mentorship, from outlines to final drafts, and get intensive one-on-one help. My coaching and the course materials will help you improve your writing and better represent your business. And you can do this while collecting some serious CEUs through your professional organization (see below).
The mentorships start on January 12, 2020. During the eight-week course, I will provide individual coaching to up to 15 mentees with writing projects of their choice. There will be print and video course materials and a weekly videoconference.
There are also spots for auditors. They will be able to view all written discussions in the classroom between the mentor and mentees, will have full access to the supporting course materials, but will not take part in the videoconferences or submit their own projects.
The link above will tell you “who, what, when, and where” about the mentorships. But here I’m going to tell you the “how and why.” How will they work and what will it be like for participants? And why should you sign up?
How Will the Course Work?
The mentorships take place in an online classroom. The classroom allows for several kinds of interactions. When I created the structure of the course, I wanted to be sure there would be plenty of material in addition to the one-on-one editing/coaching. I created nine video lectures and supporting printed materials. The videos and printed materials cover style sheets, time management, motivation, organization, voice and audience, writing tools, editing tools, search engine optimization, references and plagiarism, and collaboration.
During the course, I’ll also post resource lists and timely articles on writing and the writing industry. I will provide startup assignments and information on typical business documents for mentees who want help with writing but don’t know where to start. We’ll probably have a silly contest or two. Mentees will upload or link their individual projects so we can work on them together. Auditors and other mentees will view our discussions and the editing process.
Documents we can work on include but are not limited to articles, blog posts, class handouts, behavior assessments, biographies and other marketing materials, announcements, grants, reports, and books. Fiction is welcome.
The mentees and I will have weekly videoconferences. When I started this mentorship, I didn’t realize what a pleasure these would be, nor how they would help the mentees become a community. We usually have some amazing crowd-sourcing moments, and mentees often end up doing peer reading for each other during the course and after it is finished. Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be if you take advantage of the community available through the mentorships.
What’s Special About the Structure of the Course?
- I will not be grading anything. We’ll all push aside the “write-it-for-a-grade-and-hope-the-teacher-likes-it” paradigm. That’s not what mentorship is about.
- I will be your hired coach. You can tell me the types of assistance and critique you want, or you can turn me loose and say, “Help!” We’ll figure out the best way to work together. My goal will be to help you improve your writing skills so you can turn out some great documents. I’ll help you get unstuck if that’s what you need. My help won’t be painful or embarrassing.
- Our chat content will not be subject to critique. We will do a lot of communicating in a chat interface. Even though this is a writing mentorship, the spelling and grammar police are not invited to chat conversations. Abbreviations, shortcuts, hasty punctuation, and other chat conventions will be fine. Nothing in the mentorship will be critiqued except the mentees’ projects, and then only by me unless a mentee requests feedback from others.
- Introverts needn’t worry. The group activities are not mandatory, and I’ll do my best not to put you on the spot. I’m an introvert too, and although I love the social aspects of the mentorship, I won’t be pushy about participation.
- Psst. You don’t even have to be an animal behavior professional. The topic is writing, and the concepts I teach and that we discuss are universal to communicating effectively in English. Most of the projects and many of my examples are animal behavior-related, but people with other interests or from different professions are welcome.
Why Take the Course?
You can get mega-CEUs at the same time you solve writing problems that have been plaguing you for months! Or you can use the synergy of being with a group of like-minded writers to get a jump start on a whole new project.
Previous mentees have brought full-length books, both memoirs and non-fiction. We have worked on blogging a book and booking a blog. Mentees have brought handouts that present the challenge of technical writing for a lay audience. We have had long discussions on voice and many mentees have worked on theirs. A couple mentees have found out that they can write humor! I have had the pleasure of working together with mentees on short stories. We’ve worked together on the structure of a professional website. And of course we’ve worked on blog posts—lots of blog posts.
The Value of Coaching
Even if your writing is already very clean, you have no motivation problems, and your website is state of the art, you can still benefit from coaching.
Top-level professional singers use vocal coaches for their entire professional careers. Professional athletes likewise receive coaching as long as they compete. Having an expert outside observer and teacher is essential. It allows professionals to get more information about their tasks and feedback on their skill sets. It prevents them from falling into idiosyncrasies. It gives that invaluable second pair of ears or eyes.
So why not writers? Writing skills can always develop; we are always improving. Calling on a mentor doesn’t mean you are helpless or unprofessional. It’s not about getting a grade. It doesn’t have to hurt your ego. It’s about getting an outside perspective and expert feedback.
Improving your writing will help you communicate better with your peers, provide clearer instructions to your clients, and present a more polished public appearance. And participating in this writing mentorship is fun.
A Note from a Participant
Eileen Anderson is the consummate writing coach and professional who can help weave your human voice into your emails, handouts, and website with all of the proper information including appropriately written science-based references.
Eileen is not only enthusiastic and encouraging, she is also in expert in the field that you are writing about. This class is a rare opportunity to be mentored and coached to keep the level of your written correspondence and materials on par with your knowledge-based expertise.Benita Raphan
You can read my bio on the mentorship page linked above, but I’m also providing some writing samples here. Since my voice in the blog is casual, I’ve included some documents that demonstrate more formal styles.
- Blog: Eileenanddogs.com.
- Book: Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (sample available at Amazon.com).
- Master’s Thesis: Characterization of Active Sound Cancellation Zone of Silence in Reverberant Enclosure with Periodic Disturbance. (My thesis advisor required that I write in the passive voice, by the way. That style is changing in the sciences now.)
- Narrative from funded grant: EFG Health.
Copyright 2016 Eileen Anderson