Taking the step of sharing our work or deepening our engagement with it can feel risky, wherever we are in our practice. An effective mentor, as I see it, fosters exploration and creative risk-taking in a supportive and safe space. As your guide and mentor, I am committed to supporting you in a collaborative and dynamic process of creative discovery.

My Approach

You will be heard, encouraged, challenged and supported as you develop your writing your way, moving toward your goals. 

You may want to work towards a specific goal such as developing a manuscript, or something much more general, like establishing a consistent writing practice, generating new work, or practicing elements of craft. Or you might simply want a regular check-in and feedback on whatever has sparked for you between consultations. 

Our first meetings will focus on your interests and hopes for our work together, the places and perspectives you are writing from, and any concerns or fears you may have. Together we will create a clear and manageable schedule and plan. 

My work as we go on is to attend openly and fully to yours: to ask questions that sharpen your focus, offer suggestions for revision, open paths when you feel stuck – to be the responding voice that encourages you forward in your creativity and supports you along the way.

Our conversation may include generative writing prompts and discussion of work we admire and/or find challenging. We’ll consider the creative energy and expression in your work and in work by others you’re interested in. We’ll go up close with individual poems and elements of craft, and consider bigger-picture elements of structure and nuance.  

Writers are often surprised at what readers note in their work. In a dynamic and productive mentorship, these surprises are occasions for learning for both of us, in our dual capacities as writer and reader.

For me, the end—in the senses of both purpose and fulfilment—of mentorship is seeing you flourish creatively. 

See what others have said about working with me.

My Experience

I bring more than two decades of writing, editing, and mentoring experience, with writers of all ages and at all stages, to our work together.

My experience includes
·       workshops and discussion groups at Concordia University
·       mentoring and workshop facilitation with the Quebec Writers’ Federation and others
·       creative writing workshops and advising at John Abbott College
·       short workshops with Festival Blue Met Bleu
·       residency workshops at Los Parronales in Santiago, Chile
·       individual mentorships with emerging and re-emerging writers across Canada

I’m a poet with four books (Yellow Crane, The Rapids, Volta and Swimming Among the Ruins), several chapbooks (Obelisk, Twenty Views of the Lachine Rapids), a solid collection of award nominations and reviews, and a side gig as a collaborator with three other poets in the group Yoko’s Dogs (Whisk, Rhinoceros).  I talk with poets and write about poetry and the writing life at Concrete & River, and I co-curated with Mary diMichele the online micro-poetry journal HALIBUT. I also give talks, host workshops, and guide reading for poets and non-poets alike. Most recently, I’ve worked with the performance group Bon Echo on poems for multiple voices. 

My Fee Structure

Mentorships may take place over a few weeks or several months or more, depending on the aims and work preferences of the writer. Typically they include one-on-one meetings (in person or by videochat, depending on circumstances) and time dedicated to writing and responding. Fees can be arranged on an hourly basis ($65/hour) or as a fixed fee.

For more information, contact me at <susan[at]susangillis[dot]ca>