Embodied Writing Mentorship

Dear Writer,

I’m excited to invite you to the first Embodied Writing Mentorship. Friends and mentors have tethered my words to the ground of my ordinary life, holding the spool of my ego in the firm grip of consistent honesty. For words to soar with wisdom, they must grow from the dirt of a well-lived life. And I want to fertilize your dirt. But before I really invite you to be part of this experiment, I need to say a few things.

The truth is, I am offering this mentorship in grief and hope. Being a writer can feel like shouting in a cacophony of sound. We fear being drowned in the ocean of a million voices louder and prettier and more tweetable than ours. We mistakenly think shouting louder or longer will make us heard. If we stop speaking into the sea of sound for one day or one week, will we ever be heard? 

The sneaky riptide of platform-building is dragging writers out to sea, isolating us in the weary strokes of endless effort, flooding our lungs with the weight of envy. In such a sea, the words we give the world are breathless, broken, and boring. Worse, the lives behind the words—your lives—feel more discouraging and dissatisfying by the day. Tethered to endless scrolling for affirmation on a screen that can’t love you back, your eyes grow dim to the light of the goodness that’s scattered beyond your screens, beyond your words, beyond your effort, beckoning you to behold. 

The world doesn’t need exhausted writers, adrift on the anxiety of our hustle to be heard. The world doesn’t need more voices, shouting into the abyss of saturated sound. The world needs better writers, shaped more by the ocean of God’s love than the sea of scarcity. The world needs the stronger, quieter song of writers so amazed by the goodness in our ordinary lives we cannot help but pull others into the goodness in theirs. The world needs writers shaped by silence, rooted in the love of a God beyond our comprehension, overflowing with a grace we cannot hoard. The world needs writers willing to lay down the burden of platform-building for the greater yoke of friendship with our Lord.

I have a relieving little secret to share with you: the platform-building narrative of publishing is partial BS, and you don’t have to follow that storyline in order to share beautiful words. In fact, when we march to the beat of the Hustle-Hard Story, we reduce not only the potency of our words—we reduce our very selves. This mentorship is about moving from hustling to holy attentiveness, from anxiously producing words with hopes to be heard to joyfully hearing a goodness in our lives we get to share. 

Here’s what it is not:

  • I will not teach you how to grow your social media following by thousands of people. I think slow growth is sacred and all of our writing—including our presence on social media—should be personal, relational, and brimming with story. Wisdom isn’t always popular. Wise words sow seeds that grow fruit that lasts. I don’t want you wasting your time growing a kingdom of weeds.

  • This mentorship is not a roadmap to a book deal. It is an invitation to bigger desires and better loves, from which the best kind of books can be written. Will it shape you to publish a better book? Yep. Will that be the focus? Hell no.

Here’s what it will be:

This mentorship will be a place where you practice moving from anxiety to trust in both the writing and sharing of words. During these 8 weeks you will grow in awareness of the tug in your heart to be heard and sharpen your sensitivity to the sound of God’s abundant love in your life. You will be challenged to relentlessly set down patterns of striving to instead practice habits of holiness: to live with attention and amazement, to share words of embodied, earth-bound wisdom, and to extend a grounded, care-filled presence on social media. 

I’ll be tilling and fertilizing your dirt with you during these 8 weeks. You will receive weekly, honest, care-filled feedback aimed at helping you cultivate your own inner editor and shepherd of words. You will practice paying attention to your life. You will practice sharing words that shepherd others to do the same. You will trade hustle for hard, good work, stooping to the dirt alongside the 20 other people in our cohort. You’ll give and receive hard feedback, helping others tether themselves to the ground of their ordinary, good lives. 

You’ll need to read one of the following books by week two of the mentorship, so go ahead and start reading now: Anatomy of the Soul, Walking on Water, or The Writing Life. Just pick whichever one sounds best for the season of life you are in right now.

You’ll also need to identify two flesh-and-blood friends with whom you will share some of the words you will be writing during this mentorship. You’ll be asking them for honest feedback about your words and overall presence. Choose people who will be honest, friends who aren’t constantly telling you how amazing you are. You will need to commit to listening to their feedback, no matter how hard it might be. (Wisdom listens and lives in embodied relationships.)

You should expect to spend between 15-45 minutes a day writing, depending on how quickly you write. You’ll also be reading one book (listed above), plus engaging with an article, video, or podcast weekly. I will also be encouraging the practice of some spiritual disciplines throughout the mentorship, which are hard to quantify in terms of time.  Plan on spending about 2-3 hours a week on this mentorship.

You will need access to and familiarity with Google Docs as it will be our main tool for communicating and sharing our work. You will also need to download Zoom and Voxer, as I will utilize these tools for communicating at various points in the mentorship. I will not be mentoring on how to use these tools. If you have questions, google them. I will explain more in the syllabus, but familiarity is a must.

You will need at least one active social media account where your words are public. I don’t care if it is Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or all three. Engaging on social media is going to be a central part of this mentorship, as I believe it is where so many of us fall into habits of soul-killing hustle. We’re going to change that.

The cost for this eight week mentorship is $200. You will need to pay the entire amount on Square before October 2nd to have access to the group. Once you’ve applied and been accepted, I will send you an invoice via Square, which you can pay by email.

If you like what you hear, are ready to stop hustling, and can commit to everything I mentioned above, then I’d love for you to apply! Apply here by September 21st. I will let you know the final decision by September 25th. We’ll begin the following week on October 3rd and wrap up the week before Thanksgiving (November 22nd). I’m limiting this mentorship to 20 people, so I’d love to include those of you who are really ready to engage this process with commitment and honesty. And I truly cannot wait to read your words and dig into some dirt with you.

Lover of words, friend with a message burning in your heart, you don’t have to hustle to be heard. Let’s walk down a different path together.

Warmly,

KJ