My mother was a fourth grade teacher whose passion was spelling and grammar. My father was a journalist who, for twenty years, wrote a semi-weekly column of personal musings. It was expected that I would be a good writer! But even if those were not the facts, still I could never NOT write. I journal; I correspond; I write on scraps of paper while waiting at stoplights, and on napkins while waiting for my coffee. Putting words together in powerful, pleasing, and persuasive combinations is my great joy.
My portfolio of published works includes magazine articles (Mothering Magazine, Shiatsu Journal, The Way), poetry (Ruah Poetry Journal, Tessera), technical writing (Network: A Profile of Older Adult Substance Abuse Services in Michigan), final exams for continuing education schools (somebody has to write all those questions), and teaching booklets for PeerSpirit, Inc. (A Harvest of Years: A PeerSpirit Guide to Proactive Aging Circles).
I'm also a professional grant writer, and have written dozens of successful grant proposals for nonprofit agencies in Michigan, California and Washington.
- "Concrete Island" from Marginal Eyes, a book manuscript currently in search of just the right publisher
- Cynthia presents excerpts from Marginal Eyes to an audience of 600 in Chicago, April, 2008
- "As Orion Watched." Mothering Magazine , Issue #112, May/June 2002
- "Quiddler and Tap-Dancing Clowns." (Itineraries, the Second Journey Ezine, Spring 2007 )
- "Pro-Active Aging 'Circle of Caring'." (Itineraries, the Second Journey Ezine, Fall 2006 )
- "Keeping the Balance at Hospice." PeerSpirit Circle Tale, March 2006
Even the finest and most experienced of writers cannot finally edit their own manuscripts. It is impossible to be objective, to "see" in perspective what one has worked on so intimately. A copyeditor is the one who discovers and corrects errors in spelling, grammar, and the meanings of words. Depending on how comprehensive the editorial work needs to be, the copyeditor may also contribute rewriting, deleting, and rearranging of the manuscript text. My editing experience includes several masters' and doctoral theses, as well as published memoirs, magazine articles, a cookbook, and even a textbook on the mathematics of fractals.
A good writing coach has many of the same qualities as a birthing coach: lots of experience, a sense of calm, and tenacity. She offers encouragement and advice, exercises and critiques, and whatever else it takes to bring out the best of the writer's skill. The writing coach is less concerned with editing details than with the overall courage and heart of the writer because the "birthing" of a manuscript has to have already happened before it is cleaned up and dressed.
Like the relationship between a birthing coach and the expectant mother, the relationship between the writing coach and the hopeful writer is intimate and intense. It is the writing coach who helps stave off discouragement, keeping the writer enthused and confident, even while delivering the news that the work is not yet finished.
I have two rules of grant writing to which I strictly adhere.
- Thou shalt do exactly as the potential funders say.
If they say they want a two-page inquiry, do not try to make it three pages; if they say the deadline is January 16, they do not mean January 18; if they say there are to be no personal pronouns, no adjectives and no adverbs (yes, I wrote to those specifications once!) that's the way the proposal must be written.
- Thou shalt not bore them. Within the proposal
guidelines set by funders, there is still a lot of latitude
to make a proposal lively and interesting - that's where
my skill and experience come in.
I guide my clients through all the phases of grant writing,
from determining just what it is that they are asking for;
through the research, writing, and submission phases; to the
celebration, letters of gratitude, and follow-up evaluations.