Earlier this year I knew it was time for me to start writing a book. I wrote my first creative non-fiction piece. I sent it to several talented friends and then became sad at the feedback. I felt like I would never have the tools needed to tell a complete story. I love my writing style, I love the free-flowing nature of my words. But, this style hasn’t always felt conducive to story telling. I didn’t have the tools.
I met Cindy at an Asheville Blogger group about 4 years ago. I was nervous to be there but, she seemed comfortable and confident. She spoke about writing like it was her second nature and with such ease that I knew she was probably talented. Plus, I’m pretty sure she was wearing a leather jacket so she had to be legit.
After meeting I made a point to find her blog. I spent the next several hours reading and laughing and reveling at her story telling prowess. She guided me through her stories effortlessly and joyfully. I never felt like I was struggling to get through a piece, instead I held onto every word. As someone who writes personal essays, storytelling felt like writing magic to me. What kind of sorcery does Cindy Reed have that I can just not tap into? (you can read Cindy’s work here.)
When I realized that Cindy began offering a writers bootcamp I locked that into my mental bucket list. I will do that one day.
I started working with Cindy at the beginning of October and it has quickly and effectively provided me with the pieces that I was missing. I feel more capable as a writer and as a story teller than ever before.
Details for how the process worked for me:
- To start the process, I sent in a 750 word creative non-fiction piece to Cindy.
- Every Tuesday I would receive my coursework for the week.
- I’d have the week to explore that information and edit my piece accordingly.
- Every Friday I would send in my edited piece.
- On Saturday I would receive fresh edits from Cindy.
- On Tuesday we would meet and discuss the edits and the coursework together.
- I had the chance to ask any questions I had at this time and it was always efficient and effective!
In one month my piece went from a guessing game of writing to a finished and cohesive story that has already been accepted for publishing.
I’ve had my work edited before in a way that felt discouraging and frustrating. But, every time Cindy sent my edits to me it felt like they made sense. I knew that she understood my writing style and structure. She helped me to enhance my work rather than attempting to completely change it.
The best piece of the process is that I now feel empowered to edit my own work in this way too.
She’s given me the tools that I needed to not only create better work, but, also to feel capable of pushing through and pursuing my dream.
Cindy has made this program incredibly affordable and it’s a one month commitment! I highly highly recommend this process to anyone wanting to create more dynamic creative non-fiction pieces.
More on Cindy Reed:
I am a writer, editor, teacher, and speaker. My passion is the science of storytelling — how humans are hard-wired to connect with each other through the communal experience of sharing stories. I’m a four time winner of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year award and the nonfiction editor for yeah write, a weekly blogging challenge. My work has appeared on Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, Vibrant Nation, In the Powder Room, Aiming Low, I Just Want to Pee Alone, and WhatToExpect.com. On the organizational side, I specialize in writing about law and public policy, especially criminal justice reform.
I’ve taught writing in one form or another since I was in law school back in the Reagan era, continuing throughout my careers as a lawyer, an academic, and a writer. I’m a Master Online Teacher certified by the Illinois Online Network, and I’ve been teaching online since 2004. I love to break down the essentials of good story with writers and bloggers of all backgrounds and experience levels. I frequently present at conferences on the craft of writing, particularly the essentials of nonfiction storytelling.
I live in the magical Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with my daughters.