Editing with deadlines - the Cinnamon Press Mentorship
In the autumn of 2014, I received an invitation to apply for a Cinnamon Press mentorship, based on a submission I had sent to Cinnamon a few years before. The mentorship is a year-long process, which gives you the time and opportunity to devote to your writing and receive feedback.
I had been working on Cold Crash since I was pregnant, but my daughter at that point was nearly two. I had a rough draft of the complete manuscript (although it was later expanded), but it needed editing and revising, but I couldn’t seem to find the time. One fact of life of academia is that there is always work that will expand to fill any time available, whether teaching, marking or the management responsibilities that come with my Associate Dean post. My Dean of School, Jeremy Ridgman, very kindly agreed to fund the mentorship, and I applied.
I was accepted onto the mentorship in December and paired with my mentor Jan Fortune, the head of Cinnamon Press. By January, I needed to send her a full manuscript, which sat right along peak marking time. I never plan on doing any of my own writing or editing in January, but with the structure of the mentorship – someone actually expected to read my work – I managed to do both the marking and the polishing. The positive feedback I received from Jan remains some of the most heartening words I’ve had to date about my writing, and we started on a year of working on the text of Cold Crash.
Jan broke the novel into three chunks and sent it to me with detailed feedback. She had suggestions for revisions and additions, line edits and overall feedback. It rather matched what I give my own students, but at times it can be tricky to do that for yourself. By the end of the year, I had a vastly improved manuscript.
In January of 2016, the mentoring students were invited to a residential weekend in Ty'n y coed in north Wales. I’d never left my daughter before, and Jan graciously agreed that I could bring my two-year-old and husband along to the retreat! It was a great weekend of workshopping and writing, and I met some amazing writers, including Kate Thomas and Adam Craig, who also designed the cover for Cold Crash. It was also wonderful to meet Jan in person, after a year of working so closely with her.
If you want a support structure around your writing, do consider a Cinnamon Press mentorship. It’s an extraordinary opportunity!