Writing Intensive

This is an exclusive opportunity to work closely on your writing. We may talk about your Substack, but this is about you becoming the writer you’re meant to be in the most efficient, effective, and personalized way possible. That may entail structuring and writing a book-length work.

You will

  • get the skills you need to make people (including agents and editors) want to read (and keep reading) your work,

  • publish with confidence, and

  • feel energized in your writing and career.

Book here

How it works

  • Each 30-minute Zoom meeting, we’ll go over a Substack post, piece of writing, or part of a chapter—maximum 1500 words.

  • You’ll submit it to me via a link to Google Docs twenty-four hours before our meeting.

  • Minimum number of meetings: Three.

Book here

Some of the techniques we’ll cover

Key Craft Tools to Make Your Writing Soar

  1. Finding your voice

  2. Storytelling like a pro

  3. Keeping readers reading

Journalism Essentials to Make Your Writing Clear

  1. The lead, the worthy subject, and the not-so-inverted pyramid

  2. Writing short

A Writing Process that Actually Makes Writing Easier

  1. How to set yourself up for success—every single day

  2. Real writers revise (and revise and revise)

  3. Easy editing and painless proofreading techniques

Being a pro

  1. Pitching media outlets

  2. Submitting to agents and editors

What qualifies me to do this?

(You should always ask this of anyone you work with.)

  • The fifteen years I’ve spent teaching creative writing in the best MFA programs in the country (The University of Iowa, Northwestern University, etc.)

  • The writing and publicizing of my memoir Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses (HarperCollins)

  • My twenty years as a freelance journalist for The New York Times, Oprah Daily, The Paris Review, and many other media outlets

  • My M.F.A. in creative writing and Ph.D. in Literature

  • My experience building two bestselling, featured Substacks

  • The many conversations I’ve had with the amazing people who run Substack—I want to share with you the advice they’ve given me

A bit more about me

As I mentioned above, I’ve taught undergraduate and graduate creative writing and literature students for twenty years at The University of Iowa, Northwestern University, et al. I have many degrees and letters after my name: M.F.A., M.A., Ph.D.

I’m an author at HarperCollins, a former advisory editor at The Paris Review; a freelance writer; and the creator of two bestselling, featured Substacks —

Writers at Work with Sarah Fayand Cured: The Memoir.

My debut memoir Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses(HarperCollins) was an Apple Best Books pick and hailed in The New York Times as a “fiery manifesto of a memoir.”

I’m currently serializing the sequel, Cured, right here on Substack.

I write for many publications, including Oprah Daily, The New York Times, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Time Magazine, and The Paris Review, where I was an advisory editor. I’m the recipient of the Hopwood Award for Literature and grants and fellowships from Yaddo, the Mellon Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony, among others.

My master plan is to make Substack the literary epicenter of the universe. That means helping you produce your best work and get paid (very well) to do it. The sooner more of us are out there charging for our exceptional work, the sooner the public will get used to paying for our ideas and words; agents and editors will look to Substack to find the next big author to sign; and writing will become a viable, income-earning profession again.

I live in Chicago with my two beloved cats, Siddhartha (a.k.a. Sweets) and Theo. More than anything, I want a t-shirt that says, Ask me about my cats.

Baby Theo (left) and Sweets (right) hard at work on their new novel

For more, visit www.sarahfay.org and follow me on Instagram @sarahfayauthor (though IG is mostly my cats, who get tens of thousands of views).