Mentoring

Woman at The Writing Pad

**   If you would like to join a rewriting group in Tel Aviv for max. 8 people from Sept. 2016, be in touch with judylabensohn@gmail.com. The group will meet once a month on a Thursday from 9:30 – 2:30.

Individual mentoring: Email me to set up an appointment to discuss your needs. I can meet you in Tel Aviv, Haifa  or Jerusalem.

The writer, like everyone else,  is a person with much inner confusion. The writer wants to craft something clear and perfect from that confusion, something a reader will understand. Often, writers do not know what they are doing.

That is why it is important to have a good teacher/mentor nearby.

A good teacher/mentor is a person who understands the writing process, reads widely, writes, struggles with making sense, succeeds, publishes and starts from scratch again.   A good teacher/mentor is not afraid of her imagination or her feelings.

I love to teach and mentor almost as much as  I love to write.  I bring this enthusiasm to each session, be it a classroom, consultation or Skype conversation. Since I understand  that the creative process is slow, I never make promises how long it will take you to finish a story, a book or an essay. I believe that as you nurture a piece of writing, the writing nurtures you.

I also believe in aggressive cuts. Unfortunately for some, I suffer from  acute honesty. I will not tell you what you wrote is wonderful if I don’t think it is. However, I promise to point out the strengths in your writing and help you build from them.  I promise to help you cut your clutter, so you can actually see your story or essay. I promise to point out the other story lurking beneath the page.

If you want to work with me, know that I will dedicate myself  100% to your success. My students get their work published.

Since  each writer’s pace is unique, I follow your needs. Some writers want to meet once every three weeks for ninety minutes. Others want to meet weekly for an hour.  Others say they are ready, but it takes them another three months (or three years) to show up. Each person and his/her timing.

I’ve enjoyed mentoring by excellent writers and fine human beings – – Diana Hume George, Lauren Slater, Lisa Knopp, Leslie Rubinkowski, Phil Gerard, Mark Mirsky, Steve Stern and Allen Hoffman. I understand the critical importance of good mentoring and love sharing what I know and what I have received from others.

I bring to the table understanding, experience, seriousness and a sense of humor.

Testimonials :

Working privately with Judy proved an excellent decision. She recognized my strengths and weaknesses and provided support for constructing a coherent text. In addition to her professional skills, she is enthusiastic, insightful, kind and subtle, as much a partner as a mentor. If anyone is wondering how to turn pages of episodes, a few ideas and some personal insights into a marketable manuscript, I have two words of advice–Judy Labensohn. I couldn’t have done it without her.     Tova Herzl’s  Madame Ambassador: Behind the Scenes with a Candid Israeli Diplomat was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2014.

…By the way, I really enjoy the class and most of all, I enjoy you. I think you’re a great teacher.      Shira Peck, So You Want to Write! 2013-14

Your choices of material were inspiring, just enough theoretical input and the right amount of practice, an appropriate variety of resources, a classroom climate that was relaxed, supportive and encouraging, but not undemanding. As a teacher, you always showed the utmost respect and accepted different types of writers, but did not spare constructive criticism when appropriate. You maintained a sense of humor and managed one or two potentially challenging classroom situations with intelligence and empathy. It was truly a privilege to be in your class. Elana Rechtman, Kibbutz Zora, So You Want to Write! 2012-13

You almost wouldn’t notice how good a teacher she is because she does it so calmly and naturally. …It is actually her underlying respect for the students that makes her a great teacher. … I for one felt ushered along, recognized, respected, validated by Judy as well as by all the others in the class. We looked at each other in a positive light and I attribute that to the larger light Judy lightly shed on us. … Hananya Goodman, Beit Shemesh, So You Want to Write! 2011-12

I learned so much from you about the craft of writing and, at the same time, about the importance of exploration and self-discovery in our work. I gained confidence in my own writing skills and inspiration to keep on writing. You struck a perfect balance in the class between praise and criticism, encouragement and caution. You made the dynamics in the group work to everyone’s benefit. It was the highlight of my year and I thank you.  Miriam Levi, Beit Shemesh, So You Want to Write! 2011-12

Your help this past summer with the essay was invaluable to me; I simply couldn’t have done it without you. (Remember the long introduction we ditched?) Thanks for your encouragement and support.            Janet Gool, author of “Messiah, Not Otherwise Specified,”   published in Becoming a Nurse, Creative Nonfiction Books, 2013

I am grateful to Judy Labensohn for her insightful comments on so many phases of the manuscript, her enthusiasm and her invaluable guidance.                  Diane  Wyshogrod, author of Hiding Places: A Mother, A Daughter, An Uncovered Life, SUNY Press, 2012.

Judy is an incredible writing mentor who offers thoughtful critique, strong guidance, and inspiring words during the most frustrating moments of writers block!                                                                          Alice Mishkin, Dorot Fellow in Israel 2010-11     

After attending a writers seminar at Maaleh Hachamisha where Judy was one of the group leaders, I turned to her to help me with a book that lay for many years in one of my drawers. For over four years I enjoyed many outstanding and productive sessions with her. I am deeply grateful for her skillful guidance and patience. She was always willing to take time to respond to my questions. Judy’s contribution to my book, Only for a Short Time,  is immeasurable.                                                            Siska Topaz, Rehovot

     Judy is an outstanding writing teacher and coach. She has a keen sense of what makes a story work, a broad knowledge about the art of writing and general literature and has the innate ability to pass those on to her students. During the past four years in which I have participated in writing workshops led by  Judy, I have grown immensely as a writer, so much so that two short stories I wrote for her workshops have been published–one even winning an award abroad. I would have never reached that level of writing without Judy’s workshop and her direction. Judy is not only serious about writing, she is also very supportive of her students, fun and funny and her workshops have been the highlight of my very busy weeks.                                                  Judith Sudilovsky, Jerusalem

     Judy manages to create a safe space where participants can speak honestly in an atmosphere of mutual respect. She provides a unique combination of warmth and rigorous professionalism.                                                     Shoshana London Sappir, Jerusalem 

     After many years of not writing, I joined Judy’s writing group. I found her thoughtful and insightful editorial remarks very inspiring. In just a few weeks I was able to finish a short story that I hadn’t finished in years. Under her tutelage and with her encouragement, I submitted it for publication in an anthology. To my delight, it was accepted and is due out in 2011. I am very grateful for her support and hope to continue working with Judy in the future.                                                                    Diana Flescher, M.D., Jerusalem, author of  “Mr. Stone”  in At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die, published by Creative Nonfiction Books, Pittsburgh, 2011.

    I met Judy Labensohn in 2002 when I brought her a meager twenty pages and asked her to teach me how to write. Six years later my memoir, The Rabbi’s Daughter, was published in the UK and the USA. We worked together for a year on the basics, from how to put narrative into scenes to the writing of credible dialogue.  Years later we worked on an edit for my agent before he sent it to the publishers. Judy was a guiding light, a careful reader, an insightful editor and an inspiring and encouraging teacher. I owe so much of my success to her.                                                                                        Reva Mann, Jerusalem

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that my second novel will be out this week. I owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you for meeting with me that day in Tel Aviv and encouraging  me, even when I just wanted to quit. I’m so glad I didn’t quit. My novels may not win any prizes, but my audience likes them and that is what’s important.                                                                                                           C.L. Gray, Civil War historian, USA

   You have moved us into and out of ourselves in a very profound way.                                          Brenda Yagod,  Jerusalem                                                         

    I wanted to come to this (retreat) very much, but was afraid, intimidated. I found a place where I felt reconnected to a deep, personal space. I felt validated in being able to see myself as a writer…and I found a warm, accepting experience of meeting others who have embarked on a similar journey as Americans in Israel.                                                                         Donna Ron, Kibbutz Ein Harod Ichud

   I acquired the tools to take pages of notes and turn them into something powerful and interesting.                                                       Avraham Berger, Jerusalem

I thoroughly enjoyed attending your workshop…a supportive framework in which the craft of writing was taken to a new level through the commitment developed to writing and the valuable comments and insights that I received.   Mike Doktofsky, Jerusalem

You are   instructive and comforting, honest and gentle, insightful and positive…I am so lucky to have you by my side (on the net).          Laurie Bisberg, Haifa

… She speaks from the heart with such profundity and genuine emotional honesty.                                                Dr. Miriam Adahan, Jerusalem

***

  Here’s a list of  other Anglo writers in Israel who teach in Israel  in English. Their information here does not constitute an endorsement from writeinisrael.com 

If you’re looking for a quiet room for writing, contact Ilene Moskowitz, who runs A Room With A View at Kibbutz Samar in the Arava. See www.samar-view.yolasite.com

 

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2 Responses to Mentoring

  1. Ruth Mason says:

    Judy,
    Mazal tov! I look forward to reading every word.
    Ruth

    Like

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