Helping students excel at writing

One of my ideal tutoring situations would be mentoring students who are highly motivated to get good at writing, especially students considering writing as a career. I've been a writer my entire life; since college I've been able to make a living as a writer and part-time tutor. Writing is the thing I'm most passionate about, it's the driving force in my life, and I'm very enthusiastic about helping young aspiring writers build their skills. When I was in middle school and high school I spent a lot of time reading and writing, but I think I would've benefited from having a mentor to help me evaluate and improve my own work. I write in pretty much every form and genre, from journalism to poetry to novellas, and I could help you or your child with their work no matter what kind of writing they do.

For the past few months I've been writing more poetry than usual. I've always loved poetry, both reading it and writing it, but most of my writing in recent years has been journalism, essays, and short stories. In theory those genres are more work than poetry, because they involve more words. Paradoxically, though, poetry can actually take more work: writing poetry well means paying much closer attention to what you're doing than writing prose does. That's especially true for traditional poetic forms because of the amount of work it takes to fit words to the rhyme scheme and meter.

So after a few years away from poetry, I somewhat unexpectedly got the urge to write poetry again. Most people I know who write poetry write free verse, i.e. poetry without set rhyme or meter, but I decided it was too easy to write bad free verse. In order to make myself work harder on my poetry, I began working in Shakespearean sonnet form. After a while I grew bored with sonnets and started working in a complex poetic form I invented myself, and I've been enjoying that very much.

Having a background in linguistics like I do, I really enjoy poetics, the study of poetic form. I love thinking about iambs and dactyls, pentameter and tetrameter, and the tricks poets can use to fit their ideas to those structures. Not everyone finds that as interesting as I do, of course, but knowing how to analyze other people's poetry better is extremely useful for improving your own work. If having a gifted writing mentor sounds great to you, please get in touch and I'll do everything I can to help.


Brien S.

Struggling with Writing, Reading, German, or English? I can help!

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