how i work

“Writing is just the right words in the right order.” The late Lucy Grealy, my MFA teacher, loved to remind my classmates and me of this fact. As a life-long reader who has used writing to find my way, I can sense when the right words are in the right order. Over the past decade, I’ve honed the skills I need to nurture my clients’ feel for language. Together, we identify and build on the strengths my writers show up with. Then, through personalized exercises or project-specific assignments, along with weekly meetings and feedback, we sharpen and build upon what’s working. Thus, each session generates more confidence.

What happens when you contact me?

  1. We begin with a free, half-hour phone consultation. During this call, you let me know what’s going on in your (or your employees’ or child’s) writing and I ask questions to help us both get clear about the kind of work we might do together.
  2. If we both agree that it makes sense to move forward, I draft a set of three or four goals for us to focus on first and a tentative action plan to help us reach them.
  3. We go over the goals and action plan during our first meeting (live or via phone or Skype) and make any appropriate changes.

Your goals determine the scope and contents of the plan. If you’re a novelist, our agenda could range from “adding conflict to Chapter 7” to “exploring your resistance to the protagonist’s daughter.”

If your employees’ emails are hard to read, our plan might include working on when to use commas versus when to use periods and coming up with a list to check before hitting “Send.”

With students, action plans often include anti-procrastination sessions and/or lessons on how a good thesis can make a college student’s life much easier.

Most action plans include assignments and feedback from me and weekly meetings. Face-to-face or by phone or Skype, you tell me how the project is going; we review my comments on your work; we track your progress toward your goals; and, when needed, we trouble-shoot and strategize.

When I work with employees or students, the action plans include periodic check-ins with managers or parents.


After talking about your needs and looking at our goals and action plan, we’ll agree on a certain amount of time per week at a certain price, so there won’t be any surprises when it comes to costs. My basic fee is $120 for a one-on-one session that lasts 60 to 75 minutes. This price includes my prep time for reading/reviewing up to 30 pages and compiling any needed lessons. Extras, like reviewing more pages or offering on-call availability or working with groups, cost more. See sample action plans and fees for your kind of project: creative, business or academic.

It’s common for me to begin working with people at one hourly rate, as we get a sense of the fit and figure out how best to work together. Then, after a few weeks, we can switch to a longer-term arrangement with a set schedule at a lower hourly rate.

If you know that you can afford to spend only a set amount of money on my services, tell me what it is and I will give you an honest assessment of whether it’s enough for me to provide you with the help you need.

© 2014 Lisa Freedman