I offer some (limited) individualized, one-on-one services, yes.
Most people who hire me to coach them individually do so because they want to speed up and/or dramatically deepen the development of a manuscript they’ve already undertaken, and because they know that borrowing some intensive attention from me will keep them writing through their stumbles and into a more honest long-term relationship with the creative process.
I recognize my clients because they’re generally shaking with fear but know that they have to climb into the crucible of NOW and give themselves the gift of completion regardless—not in spite of—the shaking. They also understand that if they want something they haven’t had before (like, say, the experience of holding in their hands the complete working draft of a book they’ve been backburnering for years) that they actually have to DO things they haven’t done before.
I have complete respect for writers who have reached this understanding and who are trying to make that leap. It inspires me profoundly to be a part of these moments in their lives.
Coaching spots usually open up in my schedule once a year—usually either in the fall or at the new year—and require an unblinking commitment from both of us to be successful. We sign a formal agreement that we make to one another at the start dictating the details of our work. Our agreements can look all kinds of different ways (you don’t even have to be local to northern California to work with me in this way), but what they have in common with one another is an unwavering commitment to followthrough, and an initial assessment period that requires you to be honest about what you want to accomplish and what it is that you need to change about your current approach in order to get yourself to the other side. Putting the working agreement together is a dialogic process: We start from a series of questions about your vision, needs, and current writing practices and from there develop a working plan (some combination of periodic checkins, meetings, page deadlines + feedback turnarounds, hot-moment sessions, and potential other custom elements) that will actually get you where you want to go.
Coaching is not ‘magical manuscript ease,’ and does not guarantee its own success. I do not take on coaching clients for periods of less than six months because we do actually move mountains.
My client load for this kind of work is currently full. The next time I will be accepting inquiries from prospective one-on-one clients will be in summer/fall 2018 for starting dates in 2019. If you’d like me to send you my questionnaire for prospective coaching clients at that time, send me an email at rgouirand [at] gmail [dot] com, and I will add your name to the list of writers to notify when I know how many openings I may have for the coming year. If you haven’t worked with me before, you should know that I give priority to writers who have been in workshop with me for a year or more–I would recommend checking out the ‘Programs’ tab and trying to get into a workshop that will help you develop a regular writing practice in the meantime.
MANUSCRIPT READS AND FREELANCE EDITING
I am sometimes available for developmental or critical reads of completed or in-progress manuscripts—but my availability for these projects varies widely from season to season and is sometimes nonexistent. Email me if you’d like to see when I might be available and to get a quote on my current rates. It’s more rare that I take on traditional editing jobs (of the sort that involve line-level corrections to finished manuscripts), but I know lots of overqualified folks who do. Feel free to contact me for a reference if you’re looking for that kind of help with a finished draft.
Recent clients say:
I worked with Rae for six months on manuscript development, and I should warn you you will be sad when it’s over. Rae’s poemsight is scary sharp, and I learned quite enough simply from paying attention to her readings of my work. The generosity, flexibility, and responsiveness she brought to our partnership reflected, to me, her deep reverence for the creative impulse and the making human person. She is a poet guide extraordinaire—go walking and see for yourself. (KME, Sacramento CA)
Rae has a divining rod for writing. When I sent her wandering cosmic rubbish, she found the chips of stars. When I couldn’t articulate what was going on, she did. Sometimes this meant she acted as a mirror, reflecting back and highlighting what it was that already existed. Other times this meant conjuring up a whole new solar system to consider. I worked with her for nine months—and aside from kicking my butt into high-gear writing action, she also held space. Her energy alone helped my creativity to find discipline. And somehow, in the end, Rae helped me to blow my own socks off. Now that’s a rare deal. (AH, Woodland CA)
Rae helps me hear my voice. After her recent review of my 100,000 word manuscript (and thirty-some pages of written comments), I feel like I have a map for how to move from a rough first draft to a less rough second draft. She was able to comment on the big picture and vision as well as to get into the nitty gritty details. What I came away with was the feeling of having a climbing rope to hang on to while I continue to whittle away and pick-axe my way to a deeper and richer place. (BN, Davis CA)
Rae’s input on my hybrid manuscript was invaluable. I told her “Here it is. Now what is it?” and she was able to clearly reflect back to me her experience of the work. Her poet’s eye was able to zoom in on language in a way that informed my revision of the manuscript on both micro and macro levels. Her input was thorough, supportive, and encouraged exploration of the creative opportunities already imbedded in the writing rather than offering suggestions imposed from on high. (TB, Portland OR)