I teach both creative writing—in the sense of prose fiction writing—and also how to write nonfiction creatively and effectively. I’ve worked with some people on their poetry, but I should not be considered a poetry teacher as that requires a different set of skills.
Many people who have graduated from college, including Ivy League colleges, still haven’t learned to write well. People who do write well, and I like to include myself in this group, still have unlimited growth horizons since writing is a skill that has no ceiling. A good writer is always willing to learn more and skillful feedback and coaching can greatly shorten the development time for a writer. During my years at the NYU graduate creative writing program, I worked with some master teachers like E.L.Doctorow (my advisor and main mentor) and Russell Banks. I saw the many ways that writing workshops could help writers and a few ways in which they were sometimes unhelpful. In my experience at NYU, the feedback writers were given was usually highly accurate, but in a workshop setting it wasn’t always possible to locate the sort of feedback that was most appropriate to an individual creative process.
One-on-one coaching can be more individualized and holistic. The creative writing process is a function of an underlying psychological process. In some cases it is best to address these separately and keep the focus exclusively on the writing, in other cases it is more helpful to work on the interrelation of these processes.
If someone can master the skill of writing, then they have almost certainly achieved a general state of being well-educated. If you can write well, you can think well, you can read well, and therefore have acquired a versatile skill that will allow you to express, entertain, inform, challenge, persuade, motivate and teach. Writing is a technology and art that can be used for infinite purposes.
Although I have a graduate degree in writing, and have taught writing in high school and college for fourteen years, I have benefited greatly from working with my editor, Austin Iredale, for the last few years. Almost all writers can benefit from the right kind of coaching and editing.
If you would like to work with me, send me a brief email about your current project, and a writing sample of any kind. In order for the consultation to be productive, we both need to feel that we are suited to work together. I love working with young people on their writing but it must be based on mutual enthusiasm. “Compulsory education” is oxymoronic from my point of view. See: Crossing the Great Stream—Education and the Evolving Self and The Path of the Numinous—Living and Working with the Creative Muse