Writing mentor

I work as a writing mentor with a number of people who want someone to shepherd them through: a book project, writing in other formats (e.g. blog posts, comics, journaling, zines), developing their writing practice, and/or reflecting personally on their writing.

Specifically I work with people who are:

  • Engaged in topics that resonate with my own work (e.g. those related to gender, sex, relationships, trauma/mental health, Buddhism, social justice).
  • Writing in formats which I’m also engaged with (e.g. non-fiction books for a general audience, comics, zines, critical self-help, erotica, ghost/horror fiction, memoir).
  • Interested in exploring both the content and process of their writing, as well as how it relates to their own personal/spiritual journey.
  • Committed to continuing to develop a writing practice that is self-consensual, and to engage in a mentorship relationship which has consent at its heart.

Experience:

This mentorship builds on my decades of experience writing and publishing 23 non-fiction and fiction written and graphic books – as well as articles, blogs and zines, in addition to supervising undergraduate and postgraduate writing, and working with therapeutic clients around their writing. 

What I offer:

I weave together practical and emotional support with the content and process of writing and what it brings up; being a gentle and generous ‘first reader’ to feed back how the writing lands with me; and providing advice around publication and publicising your writing.

Specifically I can offer all of these forms of help:

  • Support with the content of your writing, e.g. drawing on my expertise around gender, sexual, and relationship diversity, mental health, or other matters.
  • Assistance planning your writing or reflecting on your ideas.
  • Reflecting on how your writing lands with a reader, e.g. having sessions for each chapter/piece to discuss it.
  • Thinking about your writing practice and how you fit it into your life consensually and build self-care around it.
  • Help with the blocks and challenges you face with your writing, including engaging with the inner critic.
  • Talking with you about the emotional impact of your writing, e.g. what it reveals to you about yourself, or the challenges it throws up for the rest of your life.
  • Thinking through what you want to do with your writing, e.g. publication in various forms.

I don’t offer:

  • Editing.
  • Working with academic writers or students.
  • Finding people a publisher.
  • Enabling anybody to treat themselves non-consensually in relation to writing (e.g. forcing themselves to write, harsh deadlines, engaging in projects where they have to write for other people in ways they don’t really want to do).

How the relationship works:

I mostly see people for this work for one-hour sessions online, roughly once a month during the period of writing, but there is some flexibility around this, including the option of one-off and more infrequent longer sessions. There will always be a consent check-in prior to the session with the option to postpone if one or both of us isn’t feeling it on the day.

I’m also up for working with groups or writing retreats.

Out of lockdown it may be possible to meet in person if you are able to travel to my studio in Sussex.

Payment:

Practitioners pay me on average what their clients pay them. Others pay on a sliding scale, both for time spent together and for any reading time in between.

Other writing mentors:

I tend to be pretty full up with mentees, and can only take on people very directly in my areas of interest, and where we have a good rapport so the relationship works well for both of us. If I can’t offer you mentorship, or I’m not the best fit for you, I can recommend the following mentors who work in similar areas to me:

Contact me directly if you are interested on meg.john.barker@gmail.com. For more information check out my contract below.

Writing Mentor Contract MJB