Mentorships

Writing can be a lonely occupation. In the privacy of your study, perched precariously between all of the other demands in your life, it’s easy to lose heart, or faith, in yourself or your work. If it is the first time you have attempted a book-length work, it can be hard to know where to start … or how to finish.

We are great believers in the mentorship model. It is more personal and intense than a university course or workshop, and, we believe, usually much more effective. Our goal is to support you in finding ways to complete your project and continue to improve your writing that are particular to your writing needs.

A mentorship is about you, your writing project, and your dreams as writer.

A skillful mentor who respects your intentions can see things you cannot and help you to achieve the full potential of your work. It can be a challenging but often exhilarating working relationship, during which you make far more rapid progress than you would if you stumbled along by yourself.

Olvar Wood offers three, six and twelve-month mentorships. We also offer ‘residential’ mentorships in combination with short-term stays.

The year-long mentorship is designed around developing your manuscript for submission to a publisher. It includes a broader program of reading, thinking, exploration of your creative process, and self editing skills. From 2014, year-long mentorships are available via application only. One mentorship will be awarded for free each year.

All mentorships are based around a fortnightly submission cycle of up to 5000 words. Your mentor will read your work and prepare detailed feedback within a fortnight of receiving your work. If you live near Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, you can also meet with your mentor regularly to discuss your progress. This option is available by phone for those farther afield, or by email if you prefer.

Where do we begin?

The first step is to contact us: admin@olvarwood.com.au

It would be helpful if you could provide some details about your writing experience and achievements, the project you are working on, and your goals. And a short sample of your writing (2000 words).

Then we’ll contact you to set up a meeting/phone call. The initial meeting is an opportunity for you to ask questions, to make suggestions, and for us both to see whether we’re a ‘good fit’.

The first meeting is obligation free, and (if in person) coffee is on us.

Mentorship agreement

Shortly after the first meeting, we will email you a draft mentorship agreement, which will include a clear statement of the mentorship’s goals, your responsibilities as the writer, and the mentor’s responsibilities. We’ll work at finetuning this agreement as the foundation of a mutually-agreeable professional relationship between you and your mentor designed to help you achieve a set of clearly-defined, realistic outcomes within the timeframe.

Feedback

The feedback you will receive depends a great deal on where you are as a writer and the nature of the project. It will range from structural/big picture issues, right down to grammar, punctuation, and formatting. It will usually cover the basics of plot, character, setting, dialogue and so on, as well as style and voice – and how all of these things work together to tell your story. If there are particular areas – say writing dialogue or action scenes – that you wish to work on, your mentor can tailor additional material and exercises to suit. Feedback and discussion can also include tips on writing practice, planning and self-editing, and preparing work for submission to a publisher. It will usually include suggestions for further reading, research, and potential markets for your work.

The aim of the feedback is to be as honest and constructive as possible, explaining what is working well and what could be improved, using practical examples and suggestions, and equipping you with the skills not only to complete your project to its full potential – but to continue to develop as a writer.

Rates

Rates for our mentorships are based on two hours per week of the mentor’s time.

  • Three months: $1350.00
  • Six Months: $2500.00
  • Year-long: $5000.00
  • Short term residential mentorships: standard weekend ($275.00 + accommodation), standard week-long ($650.00 + accommodation). Custom and group packages are also available. Accommodation is booked and paid for separately.

Although we believe a fortnightly feedback cycle is optimum for keeping you and your mentor actively engaged with your writing, mentorships are flexible, with the cost based on the mentor’s time spent rather than calendar time elapsed. You can choose, for example, to spread your mentorship out over a longer period if you need to take a break for any reason, or have limited time to spend on your writing.

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