In this episode we talk all about the Write, Publish, Shine Intensive, which brings together my three courses, Write and Light, a course to get writers generating new, more profound work, Revision Love, my course on learning to self-edit your writing, and Lit Mag Love, my flagship course on getting published in literary journals. I share three lessons from these courses that make up the Intensive program.

Links from the Episode

Lessons in this Episode

From the Write & Light Course, Rachel offered a lesson on Surprise.

Pre-Writing Exercise: Transcribe a Stuck Story

Set a timer for at least ten minutes and write down a story that feels stuck in your mind. This could be an anecdote from your life that you tell people over and over again, but always in the same way. Or, it could be a fictional story you’ve been working on for some time (don’t refer to the original and write the major plot points down from memory). Tell it like you always tell it without making any changes—you’ll have the opportunity to discover and make it new in the writing exercise.

Writing Examples

Writing Exercise
Take your stuck story and make it new. You might write it in reverse as in the examples (above) from Davis Slater and Meghan Bell. You might start much earlier in the story or end much later. You might write from a different character’s or family member’s perspective. Or, you might write five different short versions of the story from different perspectives or times, as in Clarice Lispector’s story. You could also envelope it in a shell that fits it well (known as a hermit crab essay) like in Sara Ryan’s piece or Peggy Robles-Alvarado’s diptych.

Post-Writing Processing
Write down how you feel in your heart and your body after writing to discover and unstick a story. Is this how you want to feel as you write? If yes, write about what worked and how you want to feel as you write. If no, write down three to five words to describe how you want to feel as you write and some ideas for how to feel as you work on this course. (Keep checking in with those words after each future writing session—do you feel that way?)

From the Revision Love Course, Rachel offered a lesson on Specificity:
  • Hunt and peck for abstract words: Seek out words that abstractly describe feelings, states, emotions, qualities, concepts, ideas, and events.
  • Use search and replace: You can search for “ly” and “some” and see if you can change them to concrete ones. Once you’ve done this, you may try to make even your concrete words more concrete.

From the Lit Mag Love Course, Rachel shared a lesson on the Cover Letter:

  • Treat your cover letter like it’s business communication. (It is!)
  • Unlike in creative writing, when you write for business it is paramount that you start with your audience. You already know your audience really well, having researched the editors at the magazine. Write a letter specifically for that editor.
  • Remember that editor is tired and busy and reads a lot of work. If the editor reads your letter before your submission, you want the editor to go into reading your work without being bogged down with too many details or distractions. When the editor uses your letter to glean important information, you want that to be easy to see at a glance.
  • Rachel also mentioned #OwnVoices during the Lit Mag Love section.
    • #OwnVoices is a term that was coined by YA author, Corinne Duyvis. The term refers to books about characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity.

Membership in our Writerly Love community is included during the Intensive program, which includes weekly co-writing calls, a workshop with a warm group of writers, group calls on writerly topics, a library of resources, and a writerly book club.

    Learn More + Register for the Write, Publish, Shine Intensive course.

    Episode Transcript #79


    1. Rachel Thompson
    2. Meli Walker:

    Rachel Thompson:  00:01

    Welcome luminous writers to the Write, Publish and Shine podcast. I am your host, author and literary magazine editor Rachel Thompson. This podcast explores how to write and share your brilliant writing with the world. In each episode, we delve into specifics on how to polish and prepare your writing for publication, and the journey from emerging writer to published author.


    Welcome to a different episode of the Write, Publish and Shine podcast.


    We are still gearing up to release a series of episodes related to Room Magazine 46.3 Ghosts, on which I was the lead editor and worked with the brilliant team at Room. (Which was a pleasure and just so beautiful to be able to produce this issue. Which, by the way, is currently on newsstands and on So, our upcoming podcast series is going to take you a little behind the scene of producing that issue of Room, starting with episode 80 of this podcast that you’re listening to.


    Right now, in Episode 79, you’re going to hear, as I mentioned, something different. My colleague and our Community Facilitator for my course and membership community, Meli Walker, who you have heard before on the podcast, if you’ve been listening for a while. Meli encouraged me to do a standalone episode about the courses I offer. So, we’re going to talk all about Write, Publish and Shine, an Intensive course that I offer, which brings together my three courses that I’ve been offering for some time, Write and Light, a course to get writers generating new, more profound work, Revision Love, my course on learning to self-edit your writing, and Lit Mag Love, my flagship course on getting published in literary journals.


    This wouldn’t be an episode of the Write, Publish, and Shine podcast if we didn’t offer you practical advice and lessons. So, I’m going to go through each of those three courses, which are combined in the four month intensive program. I’ll also offer a best lesson from each. So, there’s something tangible for you to try if you’re stuck in any of those areas—writing, revising, or getting published.


    Hey, if you’re from the future listening at a later date, you can check out each of these courses and when the next intensive starts, which is currently offered twice a year. All of that info is up at If you’re listening to this right when it releases, know that the intensive start soon. So, if you are interested in joining us, please check it out at


    So, as I mentioned, Meli Walker is here to help me walk through the courses and the intensive program. Any resource we mentioned from the lessons will appear in the show notes—this is episode 79, so it will be up at


    Thank you, Meli for being here to walk us through this or walk me through this anyway. I hope we offer some value for listeners beyond the origin of each of the courses, we’re going to provide a bit of a best lesson and best insight maybe from each of the courses that we talk about today, which are all packaged into my intensives. So, welcome, and also thank you for prompting me to even do this in the first place.

    Meli Walker:  03:21

    I’m happy to be here. We have meetings and notion common threads about programming all the time but I’m interested to actually hear from you about why you created some of the programming we’re going to talk about today, and why it turns out to be really effective for the writers who engage with it, so they’ll be good.

    Rachel Thompson:  03:43

    So, we’re going to talk about the Intensive program, and I referred to this as courses (plural), because it really takes all of my key courses that help you write, publish, and shine, puts them in order—then you get to it in a four-month concentrated period.

    Meli Walker:  04:02

    It’s open for registration now. So, the idea is that you take these three courses in sequential order in a way that matches this flow of writing, publishing and shining Love it!

    Rachel Thompson:  04:14

    Yeah, and this is the second time I offer this in an intensive format. Although at least two of the courses are more than five-years-old, I think. They’re all have been tested and worked with writers for at least a few years. The Intensive, I put it together this way because I think it is a real kick-start for writers to get the accountability and support and custom-tailored feedback and a plan to move their writing careers forward. So, it’s definitely for writers who maybe have taken some individual courses but want to have something served up to them in a more intensive, I guess fashion that gets them moving forward.

    Meli Walker:  04:52

    I wanted to ask you a bit more about what kind of writers you have in mind for the Intensive and then the courses within but first, I guess like some practical information. It’s four months long, as you mentioned, it starts the last week of September, it’s open for registration. When you talk about those three courses, how did it grow? How did it become something in your mind?

    Rachel Thompson:  05:15

    So, it grew out of my signature course, which is a term I learned from other course people, but basically means it’s the course I’m known for, Lit Mag Love. That was my very first course. It began as a live session taught in a quiet library, a little more than seven years ago, I only track that because it was the year that my youngest child was born. Every time my child has a birthday, I’m like, oh, great. The course is another year older. So, many folks come to that course. Over the years, I’ve had many hundreds of people take that course, they’ve learned a lot about how to place their writing, and what they need to do to place their writing. Sometimes what happens though, is they realize, well, actually, I need to write more things. Of course, I need to generate new work. Then I also need to figure out how to self-edit my writing and know how to revise it, know what kind of feedback to onboard, as they’re revising it. Then when the work is as far along as they can take it, then they need to get in that mindset to submit it to the places that are going to help them reach the next step in their writing journeys.


    The Lit Mag Love course, well, there is a bit of help with the writing itself, I give feedback on the first pages of people’s submissions as they’re preparing them. It really does focus and hone in on where to submit it, the mindset for submitting it, how to submit it, and get to that next step in the writing journeys. It doesn’t focus as much on revision, or on generating, which is why I created the other two courses that now are part of the Intensive package.


    The Intensive fills in those two gaps generating and revision, and then it culminates in the live session of my popular Lit Mag Love course. So, I’ve described it as WRITE, REVISE, & PUBLISH WITH LOTS OF SUPPORT!  That’s the tagline of the Intensive program, because we go through my most popular courses for writers in an order, as you said, a chronological order that guides writers from writing, to revising, to publishing, and with support from me. So, I’m there along the way, and we have regular one-to-one check ins. Then you also are going through with a cohort. We’ll unpack all of that in just a moment.

    Meli Walker:  07:28

    Yeah, I’m thinking, again, about what kind of writers would benefit from this. I know, you wrote on the website page for the Intensive registration, which is, that

    “Deadlines have been slipping, maybe writers are looking for some guidance and support, and want to develop editorial skills.”


    So, I want to know a bit more about what kind of writer did you have in mind when you created the Intensive. We know that when we are doing our creative writing, or when we’re working on our platform or engaging with our audience, as writers, we have to think about our audience, and who are the writers you think about when it comes to the Intensive? Who would benefit from it?

    Rachel Thompson:  08:13

    That’s a great question. Thank you for prompting that, and also connecting that to the idea of audience, which I think we need to think about when it comes to our writing, like you said, and then everything we’re doing in the world that we’re offering the world.


    The courses I offer, they’re not for brand new writers, though I have had a couple jump in and find their way through it and really been inspired by it. But it’s really more geared for writers who have been reading seriously, maybe taken a couple of workshops, or published a little bit, but they haven’t had the traction they wanted, or know they have much more to learn about what they’re here to say in their writing, and then how to revise it—and how to take the right feedback to revise it and ignore the feedback that doesn’t make sense. I mentioned that a couple of times, because I think that’s a theme that’s come up recently with books and something we’re working on actively—then to send their work out in the world with almost zero f’s given about the results, but we all know that as artists, we’re very open people, and so feedback, negative feedback, especially can still impact us. But it’s trying to get to that sort of balance equilibrium when it comes to thinking about the result of what’s going to happen.


    So, what I’m trying to do is bring writers to know their writing and their positioning in their work and getting that commitment to the long haul of getting published and understanding in a little bit more detached way, what that feedback means and just understand how the publishing business works. The fact that I’m using the word business means it’s not personal, a lot of the time the results that you get, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not doing amazing, brilliant work. It’s just a matter of finding that fit and making the timing work for you.

    Meli Walker:  10:00

    Yeah. Because your experience in working in literary magazines specifically is how you named the course also, it’s Lit Mag Love, so it’s got a little bit of like, abbreviation going on there in terms of having knowledge of the literary publishing industry, let’s say.

    Rachel Thompson:  10:17

    Yeah, it’s called Lit Mag Love, and I’ve talked about the origin, like how many years ago I started Lit Mag Love course. But I did start that course, too. Because I had begun working for Room Magazine, I’ve been a writer submitting to Lit Mag’s. Then once I started editing with Room, I just realized the vast gulf between what I knew as a writer and then what I then learned as an editor about how Lipt Mags work. So, that’s the core drive of that course is demystifying things and making sure that there’s more transparency and clarity between what’s happening behind-the-scenes. Then what’s happening for you, the writer what you’re seeing on the surface. So, that’s why I started, Lit Mag Love. Then of course, one thing led to another and led to this Intensive program that takes in not just Lit Mag Love, but my Write and Light course and Revision Love course.

    Meli Walker:  11:07

    Good transition, let’s get into that. So, the Intensive begins with the first of the three courses, which is called Write and Light, which is about generating material. I remember, when you launched the course, I don’t think I was working with you yet. I was a member at that time, and I remember being excited by the outcome of doing 10 lessons, and ending up with these 10 drafts, these little baby drafts, that would be the start of 10 pieces of writing that would be worked on to become something more. There’s still 10 lessons, right? Am I getting that right?

    Rachel Thompson:  11:43

    Yeah, it’s still 10 lessons. This one, you’re reminding me because I did write it during the first year of the pandemic and it was really a way to bring people back into the fundamentals of writing that time, and you mentioned being a member so this is something I did in the membership community. So, kind of beta tested there with those folks, and then it became a full course that I offer now as a standalone self-directed course, on my website. But then it’s also now the first stage of the Intensive, where you also are submitting drafts, to me, those baby drafts and getting feedback.

    Meli Walker:  12:21

    It’s good context to know you wrote that in this after times, or the new times that we’re in. Lesson two is called Writing in a Plague. It really recognizes that difference and maybe needing to generate new material, because perspectives have changed or circumstances have changed. So, I like that.

    Rachel Thompson:  12:40

    Thank you, I think it really is kind of a response to the need for more authenticity in how we approach our writing, and how we draw materials for our writing. In the course, I promise to help people go deeper into their writing, to write more honest and compelling work and I provide examples of what I think are beautiful, compelling and honest, works that touch on difficult parts and times in people’s lives, whether that’s sort of the microcosm or the macrocosm of those things. People who take the course, have called it intensive, which is not. I don’t want to confuse things with the language, but it’s definitely part of the Intensive program. I guess maybe they call it intense, let’s say, and that’s definitely an adjective that’s been used to describe myself a lot in my life. So, I thought, oh, well, this feels like it’s really true to who I am and how I think about writing and how I teach.


    The first lesson is called Don’t Erase Me. It’s kind of about showing up and taking that position as a writer and taking up space as a human, who’s maybe been erased in some ways. So, that’s kind of where we start from. Then we play a lot with craft within the course as well too though. So, there’s lessons about visibility showing up, writing in a plague, about surprising yourself as a writer too, and the joy of the discovery within writing. Then probably my favorite concept in writing, my early motivation for writing is the idea of emotional biography. So, really delving into the feelings of being human and translating those onto the page.

    Meli Walker:  14:17

    I also love that, moves from some of the lessons through that. It’s talking about the emotional biography, and then it goes from like, there’s a couple more lessons delving into the shadow and then it moves into research, Research as Astonishment. So, it’s also got some groundedness in terms of coming back to material that excites you, as well as delving deeper into the less surface aspects of a person’s perspective.

    Rachel Thompson:  14:47

    I’m glad you mentioned that lesson two because credit where it’s due that came from my own learning I took a course with Jessica Wilbanks and offer a short memoir piece called Father of Disorder, as an example of Research as Astonishment to being able to connect deeply, emotional, material dysfunction within a family to research about how matter works in the universe. So, there’s some really, I think, for me very exciting connections between that heart and headspace that happens in writing, and that’s definitely where Write and Light shines, let’s say, as a course.

    Meli Walker:  15:25

    Yeah, and I hope it’s okay to mention, I know that you and I doing our own creative writing together, as well as lessons that we have created for the community have both involved animals, or insects, or marine animals and their biology and the excitement of researching those animals and the way that they live and the way they behave and their biological imperative, and how that can help to describe or translate even these really intense human emotional experiences. That’s what that’s making me think of.

    Rachel Thompson:  16:05

    Yeah, and how, I guess, if there’s like a philosophical underpinning to the course, too, it’s about how I like to show up in the world as a writer, and I think the writers that, you know I surround myself with, and the writers who are attracted to what I do, also show up in that way to where we’re just sort of intensely curious about how things work, and constantly making connections. So, you mentioned animals, I’m like, oh, a shark moves in that way. That’s really interesting. It reminds me of things in my life, and how to connect, and then the trick of how to translate that into writing in a way that also excites the reader. But who is it who said, I’m not going to remember, but no surprise for the writer than no surprise for the reader. So, it’s the idea of kind of surprising yourself.


    In the writing, I realized this is actually in the lesson. So, something’s reminding me of this, because it’s actually in the lesson. So, there’s a lesson called Surprise! I just found who said that it was Robert Frost, so no surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. So, those are kind of all of the parts that make that course work. It is, again, available as like a standalone course, on my website. It’s something that we did as members together live when I released each of the lessons. But now I don’t offer that at all as a self-directed course, except for in the Intensive now. So, we start with writing these lessons and communicating with each other about where you’re at with the lesson, sharing pieces from what you’ve been writing in that, and then the next step, if we’re ready to move there, I think. We’ve talked enough.

    Meli Walker:  17:42

    We have! But let’s give folks a little preview of a prompt, because you mentioned the lesson “Surprise!” you mentioned writing in reverse. I think I found that the assignment for this lesson three: Surprise! It does reference the writing in reverse. So, I don’t know if you want to give the listeners a little teaser version of that prompt or…?

    Rachel Thompson:  18:05

    Absolutely, yeah. Because I do think it’s one that people are often surprised by, as they work on it.

    Meli Walker:  18:12

    We have comments from people who took the course. A lot of the comments are people being like, oh, I was surprised by my revision in this two steps. Then I was surprised by others as well. But I’m giving away their lesson. So, go ahead. Sorry.

    Rachel Thompson:  18:25

    Yeah, I think it’s good to remember what people said when they first took this as well. So, in each of the lessons, I have like a prewriting exercise, and then a writing assignment. So, the prewriting exercise for this one is to set a timer for at least 10 minutes or find whatever you can do to get yourself into your notebook sitting in the chair, and then write down a story that feels stuck in your mind. So, this could be an anecdote from your life that you tell people over and over again. But it’s always in the same way, and you feel stuck. I don’t know about you. But I definitely have that where there’s sort of the stories that kind of get into this groove with and I’m always repeating it the same way, and there’s something about it that I’m wanting to show people that I can’t quite articulate what that is.


    One thing I should have said from the get go is this is a multi-genre course too so it could also be a fictional story that you’ve been working on for some time. So, the assignment would be to also not refer to the original text, but just write down the major plot points as you recall them. So, in your notes here, the freewriting, you would tell it, like you always tell it without making any changes. Then you have the opportunity to discover and make it new in the writing exercise.


    The writing exercise is to take your stuck story and make it new, so you could write it in reverse. There are some great examples of stories told in reverse. I think I’ll include a couple in the show notes just to help people because I think that also inspires and creates the excitement and there’s a surprise for you to see how a surprise can work. So, then you could start much earlier in the story that you’re stuck on. So, that stuck story that you transcribed in your freewriting, then you’re going to take that and just start at a different point, you could write from a different characters or family members perspective, you could write five different short versions of the story from different perspectives or times, that’s actually a reference to Clarice Lispector’s story, which is the fifth story. That’s definitely one that I’ll include in the notes. Then you could also envelop it in a shell that fits it well, so that’s known as a hermit crab essay, where you add it into just a form that is pretty banal, and pedestrian. But then you’re writing a story within that form, the one that’s coming to mind, and I don’t know if this is in my links here, but it’s called Drug Facts. Everything I mentioned, I will include in the show notes, which is basically the sheet that you get when you get a prescription, but it’s a really great story, I’m forgetting the author. But again, it’ll be in the show notes. So, then, for the assignment, for the writing assignment piece, it’s important that you take your time, take lots of notes, then give yourself more time than usual, to mull things over before going back to the page, and trying to bring that surprise to the stuck story, bring it back to life, surprise yourself, and then surprise your reader.


    Then with these assignment, final thing, sorry, now, this is like a three point assignment. But I also encourage processing. So, then, after doing that, you write down how you feel in your heart and your body after writing to discover and unstick a story and just think about how you want to feel as you write. If you felt that way, in doing this, the feedback is only mentioned that we get is that people are quite surprised by how they can kind of surprise themselves in the writing, and I feel like that creates a lot of delight and helps people reinvigorate and get back into their writing practice in a way that has a lot more energy.

    Meli Walker:  21:58

    This is why I wanted to talk to you about it and give listeners a chance to hear about what motivated you to make these courses. Hopefully, it’s clear to people listening that this is important to you, even though there’s some wanting people to register for the course, so a little bit of selling going on. But of course, I was pushing you to do this so that there would be a chance for people to hear about why these courses are important, and how it might help them.


    Speaking of that, Revision Love is our next course. I’d love to transition into that. That is a course that really changed my writing. I think I’ve even sort of gone on public record and said that it transformed my writing life forever. So, Revision Love is a revision course. I’d love to hear about how that happen, you’ve already mentioned that Revision Love came out of Lit Mag Love where people were like, okay, that’s great about my first page, but how do I go about revising my work? Becoming my own best editor, which includes knowing what feedback to take on? But before that feedback even maybe happens, how do we take a piece of writing that we generated in the Write and Light course and turn it into something that we might think about publishing or even sharing and workshopping? Tell us about that.

    Rachel Thompson:  23:08

    When it comes to my own confidence, this is the one that I feel the most confident about, because I’ve been an editor for so many years, as well. I really like to be able to impart what I’ve learned as an editor and how to revise work. So, the course, I actually have on the page that is 10 concrete strategies, because apparently like the number 10, but I’ve actually added to it into another 15 lessons that help people improve their writing. But also, I would say the underpinning, again, philosophy of this course, is self-confidence. So, it’s having the ability to really discern the feedback you get about your writing, and know how to take it apart without breaking it. Even actually, the Surprise! lesson that we just shared with our listeners, is kind of about that, too. It’s about taking a story and just telling it in a different way. Then cracking into more deeply what that story is about, like really honing in on what you want to say.


    Through these lessons, which are incredibly practical, actually, I should say, like, there’s just like, work on this one slice of what it means, grammatically, even and structure and form, looking at those things, looking at themes, looking at all those kinds of English Lit type of things, but in ways that are really accessible, so you don’t have to have an English Lit degree to do the course. Then being able to, still if you’re a writer who is sharing work with other writers, which most of us are, and most of us that’s important to do, and asking for opinions or sending your workout to editors and receiving opinions, being able to go, oh, yes, that’s helpful in this way. Or no, that’s not helpful in this way. But they helped me identify something else about my writing. There’s no shame or no judgment on the person who’s giving you that feedback, but just being able to sit with that kind of feedback and really know, because I find a lot of writers when they’re starting out, know how to generate new work, get excited about a story. Then they’ll submit it to Lit Mag’s probably a bit too early or share it with other writers and get feedback that really just kind of makes it all fall apart because someone’s missed something or we were sort of more off the cuff type of comments that weren’t relevant to what you’re actually trying to do with your writing. I have to say, I mean, I’m super confident about this course, I guess, not to braggadocios, but people take this course. Like you said, Meli, they feel like it really changed how they write, but also they go on and submit their work. It’s always winning awards, and I’m always getting great news from people who’ve done some amazing things with the work that they worked on in Revision Love.

    Meli Walker:  25:48

    Maybe we don’t need to give a lesson from Revision Love, maybe just give a bit more idea of what kind of lessons so you’ve got five sections with three lessons in each section. I love the name of the sections, its framing, adding, clarifying, animating and knowing. So, for example, framing, it’s the middle, the end, and structure for the three lessons within there. Then adding speaks to, sometimes you need to generate more material or add more energy as in lesson four, or add more to the setting and characters in lesson five, and then we go back to research again in lesson six. So, those are some of the examples of what type of lessons that we do in Revision Love. Are there any other examples of lessons or things that you would want people to know about maybe some particulars of the course or feedback you’ve gotten?

    Rachel Thompson:  26:43

    One thing that maybe, just kind of accidentally happened, when I put the course together is we get really close in some parts, and then we get really far away. So, it is definitely a course about seeing things in a new way in you’re writing from both, again, the micro and the macro perspective. So, like in this section on animating that you mentioned, we have this lesson, a bird’s eye view where you really take in just from a distance, even I have you physically put pages on the floor and look down and go, okay, this is where this is going. This is what’s happening in each section of my story or poem. But then in that same section, there’s a lesson on emotion, going really deeply into the feelings of a point of view character within a story or the narrator in a poem, and bringing us inside their experience. So, I guess it’s a course that really changes perspective about people’s writing.


    Maybe I think I will throw in one brief lesson. This lesson is called Specificity, which is about bringing things from less vague abstraction in our writing into more concreteness. Some of it’s just really simple, like some of the tips I have in the course include just like search within your document, and just searching out words that have the “ly”, which are adverbs, words that describe a verb, and then thinking about what are more concrete verbs that you can use. The verb that gets closer to what you’re trying to say, rather than trying to describe that word, just because it slows things down a lot.

    Meli Walker:  28:25

    I was going to say that part of the assignment for this one is to hunt and peck for abstract words, use search and replace, as you say about the “ly’s”. I remember feeling more confident, like okay, I’m doing this step of revision right now, I’m only focusing on specificity. I’m not also focusing on theme, or, well, I am, but I’m thinking about how specificity can help the theme. It’s not time to think about the title at this moment, it’s not time to look at dialogue. I’m just doing this one thing and how that knowing what I was doing in each class made me feel more confident, which sounds so simple, but experiencing it in each of the lessons was important.

    Rachel Thompson:  29:05

    You’re right, this is kind of a simplification because I think, a lot of writers are grammar nerds too, oh, yeah, I should try to avoid using adverbs. Thanks, Rachel. That’s really obvious, but I’ll give you an example because there’s a student in the course, Valerie who- so this isn’t about an adverb, but it’s also just about using the correct verb or amplifying the verbs that you use. So, the first example that Valerie had was you were cremated. That’s the first, the line as it began. The more concrete version, the revision is you were incinerated vaporized, pulverize to three pounds of cremains. I think you can see the effectiveness of that we’re just drawn in because those words are just so much more tangible. We can see three pounds of cremains even though that’s a weight thing, but it’s like you can visualize that. You can see how the things we can hear, see, smell, and touch, in your words connect us more to the right Seeing and there’s something really sonically specific in the punchy language and that concrete example too, it’s like it’s showing the impact of that death, there’s something meaningful to that rather than just the more plain. So, in this case, actually, it wasn’t about cutting things down to be more specific and simplifying. It was about adding and creating more specificity that way.

    Meli Walker:  30:22


    Rachel Thompson:  30:24

    So, I guess if we had an assignment for this, it would be to go through and just do an audit of all of the verbs. Look out for those adverbs, look for words that have the word “some” in them too like the somewhat somewhere, somehow, because that’s always a little ding, ding, ding. Okay, I could be more specific here. Then examine every verb and go, is this the most impactful verb for what I’m trying to say, in terms of not just dictionary definition? Correct. But is it creating that punctuation that you want it to create? Like, so if it’s a punchy scene, is it punchy enough? Or is it too long and flowery and or maybe you have a scene where you want things to slow down and maybe use a longer word. But the trick here, like Meli is saying too is like in each of the lessons, you really just cut through on that one task. Then you’re able to piece-by-piece through each of the lessons, get a holistic revision of your work. But you can only do that by really limiting yourself into what you’re looking at in each lesson. And

    Meli Walker:  31:29

    Then the Intensive you’ll provide that’ll support too because you’ll be there to support folks as they work through those lessons and help them process a bit what they find out about themselves in their writing, as they do those lessons. So, that’s a great feature of the Intensive is to have you there too, as a support.

    Rachel Thompson:  31:46

    We don’t call it Hot Seat coaching, we do kind of like warm seat coaching, where people have an opportunity to work through parts of the revision with the other students in the intensive too in the Revision Love portion of the course. It might sound a little bit scary. I’m saying this, as I’m thinking, oh, we’re trying to encourage people it’s intensive, but it’s a really great way to see, like, even if you’re not in the warm seat that time, you’re going to see some things that you yourself do in your own writing.

    Meli Walker:  32:16

    I think that gives people an idea of becoming more confident and revising your own work, so that at some point, you’re then willing to submit that work to Lit Mag which is the third course, the Intensive, so I think we could talk about that, if you want to move on to that.

    Rachel Thompson:  32:35

    Sure. So, this course is my signature course that I already mentioned. It’s kind of the flagship, I guess, the course that I’m most known for and where I’m most known in terms of the literary space is as an editor or literary magazine editor. So, it’s the five-week guided course, it is my very first course that I offer. The promise there is to get the big guest for your writing from literary journals you love. You learn how to submit writing more effectively, and really, it’s more than that. It’s like a comprehensive course to kick-start your writing career, where you find and connect with your readers.


    The course takes writers through the idea of really knowing who they are and what they’re here to say. Then how to both set the goals that they need in order to get where they want to with their writing, and then to take the actions to get where they need to, to reach those goals. One of the kind of cheesy expressions, I don’t say this as much front facing, but it’s sort of what I say in my mind when I think about the course is like, it’s hearts and smarts, hearts and smarts. So, it’s about caring for yourself, caring within a community, finding a community that helps care for you and nurture that writing within you. Then also just like cutting through the noise of what you actually need to be doing in terms of the work and just thinking of it in a more focused and actionable, I hate that, kind of bureaucracy type of speak. But this sort of action oriented way of moving through the process of submitting, taking those actions, doing the things that you need to do in order to publish. People take that course, and they publish their writing in journals, we’ve had so many big “Yeses.”

    Meli Walker:  34:23

    One thing that I like, and it’s reminding me right now is one of the first things that folks do in the course is to identify why they want to publish. Then there’s sort of like there’s flowchart type of logic that you’re offering where it’s not a flowchart, but if this is your goal, then these are some of the steps you might want to take or these are the types of what magazine you may want to submit to. Then the group is also creating a resource list of Lit Mag’s based on research and then combining those efforts to start creating your own personal list of Lit Mag’s that you’re wanting to be part of, and have your work at.

    Rachel Thompson:  35:04

    Yeah, and the idea behind creating that list together is to put into practice the research that’s involved because, sorry to use that word research, but it is a requirement of submitting to Lit Mags and the landscape of Lit Mag’s is so vast, and that’s probably, the first thing that people say when they come in the course, I just didn’t realize there were so many, there’s so many more than, maybe they had a couple that they’ve been trying to get into and hoping they could get into, sending work out to probably, that either wasn’t appropriate for the journal necessarily, or wasn’t revised enough to be ready to be received with love and submitted and published by the Journal. Then the fact that there are so many Lit Mag’s means that there is a requirement to do research.


    In the course, we practice doing that together, that process is a little bit laborious at first, and then it becomes easier and easier with practice. Just understanding, what are the key points I need to look at? Let me make that concrete because it’s pretty abstract the way I’m describing it right now. So, what you said Meli, is helpful, because it’s definitely where we start is like, what’s your goal. So, if your goal and we pick from 10 possible ones, and then people sometimes add them, although, I think in the last few years, we haven’t added any new ones. But at the beginning, we added a couple. So, your goal might just be, I want to see my name in print, I want to see my words published in pixels on a screen or in a physical journal. Those are two choices that you can make in a subsets of choices within that goal. Then if that’s your goal, then when you start looking at the journals, you can consider… That’s to me, faster approach. You want to quickly see your name in print, you’re not looking necessarily at different rankings of journals, different qualities and are looking at awards, you don’t have a book length manuscript ready to go to a potential agent or publisher. So, none of those things are in play. It’s just like, I want just to get this response to say somebody’s out there reading my words and saying, yes, it’s suitable for publication. So, the kind of details that you look at, then when you’re doing your research are:


    Well, how many new writers does this magazine publish? How quickly do they get back to people? How new or seasoned are the editors? How long has the journal been around? All of those things are going to be factors in determining whether that’s something that’s suitable even before we look at, okay, well, what genres do they publish? Would they like my weird fiction about cats who go to the moon or something, you know, like, is this the type of place that would fit my work, they sort of more qualifying is like, I guess, mentioning something coming in more into focus, we look at the blurry edges first, it’s like, oh, are these places that are going to help me reach my goal. That’s the smarts part of it. But it is kind of the hearts part of it too, because it’s like, creating that mindset where you go, okay, this is just like, a series of questions that are going to lead me to the thing that I want about, like when it comes to publishing, and it’s not me personalizing the idea of being rejected by these places, because you’re rejecting the places before you even submit there, you’re like, well, that place, there’s been around a really long time, they get tons of submissions, they only publish a few new writers, and mostly their commissioning work. So, no, that’s not a good place for me to send my work, because my goal is getting published more quickly and seeing my name in print. But maybe that’s the right place, though, for someone who has published quite a few places.


    Another example of a goal might be still to kind of validate their work and to see their name in print, but at a higher tear type of place. Or maybe their goal is to do all that because the writer has a manuscript ready to go and wants to start building more of a following, a track record, and be able to find agents and say, hey, you know, I worked with this editor, who’s well-known within you, the agents literary circle. So, for all that, you may make different choices, which are like, oh, okay, I’m going to submit to a place that does take a longer time, I’m going to be playing the longer game with my writing, and not just sending it off to anywhere that will have it, because one thing you’ll find too, is there’s really different legs to the response time. So, a lot of the places that maybe aren’t appropriate for the person who has that goal of getting to that next step on the staircase of their writing career and their publication journey, are going to respond more quickly, because they’re like, oh, wow, we’re getting this brilliant work that we’d love to see in print, but maybe you could have held out for the place that would take a bit longer and might be more fitting for your goal. It’s a lot clearer in the course. [unintelligible 40:00] absolutely what we do in five weeks and just look my conversation here, but that’s kind of in a nutshell how the Lit Mag Love works.

    Meli Walker:  40:08

    Yeah, one of the words that’s coming to mind is discernment, is helping people discern what would be best for their goals. Then like you say that gives maybe a sense of agency as well, because the writer is then selecting publications that they feel would be a good fit for their writing at this time. Because timing is also a key as well. So, getting specific, and getting that focus, the idea being to find success when it relates to that goal, and in the landscape of Lit Mag’s. So, I think that’s great. It’ll be great for people to hear about what’s involved.


    One of the things I wanted to mention with Lit Mag Love is how much I enjoy doing the alumni calls and having those visits from those live calls that participants in the course can come to and hear from someone who’s taken the course in the past and hear from that writer about what happened for them when they took the course, where are they at with their writing, where were they at before? It’s a great opportunity to hear from another writer and to feel maybe less alone to feel that camaraderie and relating to the struggles and the successes and even though it’s maybe not the exact same path that the writer is on, I just, I really enjoy doing those calls.

    Rachel Thompson:  41:26

    Yeah. Thanks, Meli. We started doing those alumni calls just in the last couple of years of sessions. People found them really helpful. What we used to do was actually have more live calls with editors. But now we have an entire library of over 20 interviews with Lit Mag editors, and I’ll continue to add to that and continue to invite Lit Mag editors to come and speak to our course community. Actually, all the alumni of Lit Mag Love are invited to those calls, too. So, we bring in the whole group, whether you’re in the live course, or whether you’re in a past session, to come and ask questions from different literary magazine editors and journals.


    After a while there’s kind of like a pattern to it. That just makes sense. It’s almost like we’re confirming what I’m teaching in the course sometimes, it’s like, but is that really true? Is it really true that editors enjoy publishing someone for the first time and you should put that in your cover letter? Yes, it’s really true. We asked many editors just to make sure and it turns out, yes. It really is true for, I mean, not every editor is exactly the same, but the majority of editors really feel excited to publish someone for the first time.


    We have these calls with editors. Then we started adding in the calls with alumni who are just a little bit further up the path, then the writers who are in the course, and just talking about what they took and what they left to from the course too, because it’s not like, but there’s just this one specific way, I definitely take you through a specific process in the course. But all of it is kind of tuned toward we start with like that idea. What is it that you want? What are your personal goals? People share just different approaches that they’ve had and successes they’ve had. Times when like what I appreciated in the last series of alumni calls that you hosted, Meli, where people saying that because of their own energy or ability to show up for their writing, when they’ve taken breaks, when they’ve honored their own limitations and were careful with their own resources, and what they’ve been able to do, working with their own energies and limitations. Usually, I mean, the person I’m thinking of, I won’t call it specifically, but it’s like publishing and like, really well-known magazines, and stuff. So, it’s like having these great successes, but also how honoring limitations has been helpful for that. So, that’s kind of an aspect, I think that maybe isn’t specifically in the course. But it’s kind of become more and more part of the DNA of the course because of the people who’ve taken it and what we’ve shared as a community in terms of being ready for the long haul of being in a writing career and not burning all your energy out in the short haul.


    I guess people come to Lit Mag Love because what they were working on, like the way that they were approaching, and they’ve maybe published in a few places too, but the way that they were working on submissions wasn’t working for them and didn’t feel sustainable. So, actually, that does kind of come to that idea of working within your own limitations as well too. A part of why it’s not sustainable is like expending energy that’s unnecessary, and sending work to the wrong places that are not fitting for you for your own writing, taking that kind of feedback to heart, even the absence of feedback to heart and going,

    “Oh, well, they sent me a form rejection letter. It means that they don’t like my work.”


    What we do and let me let us clarify a lot of that and just understand that people are busy and the absence of information isn’t really as negative, although by share this where I have a biased towards negative thoughts around to get any kind of feedback that’s slightly negative thinking, oh, that must be because of this, that or the other. So, it’s important to really kind of understand how Lit Mag’s work. The odds of actually being successful in placing the work and how difficult that is and how that’s even changed in the last few years with the pandemic, there’s been just an upswing in submissions to journals. So, we kind of keep on top of what’s happening behind the scenes at the Lit Mag’s, so that we can better understand what that means for our own work, and still feel the feelings maybe of rejection, but then have another sober voice, either within us because it’s been something the writers learned in the course or within the course community, saying,

    “Hey, that didn’t mean that your writing is no good, or you should stop writing, it means maybe you can make some changes, but also, it just wasn’t the right time and the right place for you to send your work.”


    Sometimes people just fall into publishing in journals, because they think I guess I’m supposed to be doing this. That’s what writers do, they publish in these journals, and they publish in these specific journals that I’ve seen, my writing peers publish in. I think whatever we can do really mindfully is going to help us again, clarify what our goals are, and get to the specific places that are going to help us reach those goals. That said, though, I think I’m not going to use that as our listening sample, I’m going to use the cover letter, because what is the other thing that people ask so much about and always like really anxious, and we don’t do it until the third module of the course. They’re anxious about what does a cover letter supposed to have in it? Or what clever things am I supposed to be saying in the cover letter? Or what should I not say? Because oh, no, I’m going to shoot myself in the foot and have the work not accepted, because of something I said in the cover letter.


    Now, I will say that letter thing is possible that you can actually set up an editor to read your work in a way that’s not very flattering. So, I find with the cover letter that less is more again, this is something that we have confirmed over and over again, because we’ve interviewed so many editors, and we asked them about the cover letter when we do. That’s all part of the Library of recorded interviews with editors that is part of the Lit Mag Love course.


    In the Lit Mag Love course, I’ve really specific directions on how to write the cover letter and helpful strategies for writing your bio. If I nutshell it, it’s just that you should treat your cover letter like it’s business communication, because it is. So, unlike in creative writing, when you write for a business, it’s just paramount that you think about your audience. That’s where you begin.


    In creative writing, we start with our gut, and our feelings and like the fire within us kind of thing. But in business communications, always external. So, you think about your audience. At the point in the course, where we’ve looked at the cover letter, we already knew our audience really well, because we researched editors at the magazine, and we know, the places that we’re sending work to. So, you write a letter specifically for that editor.


    Things we keep in mind is that editors are tired and busy, and they read a lot of work, and that they’re committed to reading your submission. There’s a world in which they’re accepting all these submissions and then not reading them. So, you don’t have to convince them to read your work, you don’t have to try to sell the piece in any way by spoiling the ending or talking about the motivation or what it took you to write the piece. You want that to all happen in the discovery that they’re making as they’re reading the piece, and just not over explain. The king of that expression that people attribute to the royal family

    “Never complain, and never explain”


    So, it’s sort of like maybe both of those things or things that you would want to avoid. It helps sometimes to remember things that they rhyme. So, that’s why I’m using that, I guess. But I did say you can turn people off, and that could be by overly explaining or talking down to your audience, or talking yourself up in a way. Sometimes we do get like rather egotistical and strange letters. Then also the response, when we reject those writers, we know it’s going to be kind of like, as one editor told me that they wouldn’t have received a correspondence they said,

    “No, I reject you, instead of you rejecting me and my writing.”


    When we see that, we may be chuckle a bit. That’s maybe the only time we’d ever kind of laugh at our writers because they just don’t understand the process. They don’t understand the way the submissions work.

    Meli Walker:  49:38

    You’re speaking as an editor, like a literary magazine editor when you’re saying we received these letters, because you’ve seen so many cover letters, you’re able to succinctly describe maybe what to do and what not to do when writing a cover letter because you’ve seen so many.

    Rachel Thompson:  49:55

    I’ve like verified this with so many editors too, asked them what they want to see in cover letters to, and it seems like there’s definitely a pattern. When you see anything that kind of deviates from that, it’s okay to show a little personality. Like if you are funny than put something’s funny in it, sure, but make it short, and really make sure that it’s funny. Touch that out, I guess a bit. Because I think it’s not helpful to try to be funny or to be clever, or to talk about the tradition that you’re writing in.


    Sometimes, these days, maybe the exception in terms of explaining a bit is like the OwnVoices idea. So, be able to connect, if you’re writing about different communities, how you actually are affiliated with that community, or in relationship with that community, or from that community. So, sometimes, that’s kind of maybe the only place where you would do a little bit of explaining. But otherwise, it’s really just, dear editor. Or if you’ve looked up the person, put their name in there. Say who you are, say what you’re submitting, the title of your piece, word or line count, the genre, if an editor has invited you to resubmit, even if it’s a past editor, if the journal is ever invited you to resubmit mentioned this, but then don’t mention any other details about the past communication, you don’t need to say what happened before. If they asked for a bio, you can include this, and where that is a hybrid, I guess maybe of business communication and creative communication. So, you can show a little bit more personality and a bio, but then keep to the word count.


    Usually what happens is, I find I get bios that are much too long, when people are submitting, they’re not paying attention to the word count for bios. It’s important to state where you are, and that’s about it that can make it really short, not give a full history of your writing life, but just precedents to anything that might connect you to the editor.


    If you know an editor is in a certain region, and maybe knows people that you’ve worked with, you can do a little bit of name dropping. But again, really brief like each of these elements that I’m mentioning shouldn’t be more than a sentence, not even a paragraph. You can mention it’s a simultaneous submission too if it is because that is actually a helpful thing that allows us to know that we love a piece so we should probably skip it up quickly before another editor does, because it’s been sent out elsewhere. So, maybe I’ll leave it there that is a little bit more, I have to say about the cover letters in the course.


    I also review people’s cover letters and give them feedback on how their cover letters look for me, and in a concrete way where we’re specifically looking at the journals that they’re sending work to and thinking about what that journal would want in a cover letter. Often journals will say on their submissions pages, what they want to have in the cover letter.


    Then the way that works within the Intensive is, then everything we’ve been working on kind of culminates towards Lit Mag Love. So, you’re coming into it with new writing that you’ve workshop that you’ve learned to revise, and then you start really thinking about, I would say greater knowledge too of what you’re here to say, and what’s the best audience for you to reach to say what you’re here to say in your writing? Then we find the places that will be most suitable for your writing.


    At that point to you in the Intensive, I know you, and your writing really well and can help steer you better towards publications that are going to help you fit what your goals are for your writing. You do this with a full cohort of the Lit Mag Love community. But then there are kind of extras that happen for the Intensive, so more personal touch, I would say that’s throughout the whole intensive, the differences that there’s more of a personal touch from me, even in these group coaching style courses.

    Meli Walker:  53:49

    So, there might be a cohort of folks just taking the Lit Mag Love course, while the Intensive folks are also going through it. The intensive folks are getting more feedback and conversation with you as they go along. Of course, in terms of goals, the Lit Mag’s, the folks working through the Intensive would have been thinking about their goals for writing before getting to Lit Mag Love specifically.

    Rachel Thompson:  54:15

    There is this kind of magic that happens with having a whole bunch of different writers working together on this because it’s just the right questions come out like, we have Q&A calls, also just with me for the Lit Mag Love course, and people will ask questions, and then other writers be like, oh, yeah, I never thought to ask that question. But that’s something really important to me too. I need to know the answer to that. So, it’s kind of fun to do it in community because it really helps everybody that “A rising tide lifts all boats” kind of idea too that everyone’s success feels like it’s connected to everyone else’s success too, even just the success we could define as just submitting the work and getting over the mindset obstacles that prevent us for even sharing our work out there.

    Meli Walker:  55:02

    Oh yeah, it’s good to have each other. Speaking of having each other, Writerly Love membership is included in the Intensive, but folks are working through it.

    Rachel Thompson:  55:11

    That’s right. I don’t want to get people necessarily distracted from what they’re doing in the Intensive, because the Intensive is intense. But there is access to a full library of resources that include past guest workshops, even on different topics, like all different types of genre topics, or just the idea of character and setting or different things that have come up in the years that we’ve been doing the membership as well.


    Writers who have more time are welcome to participate in everything that we do in the membership, which includes co-writing calls every week, we do those twice a week, and includes different member connection calls on different topics, we just recently had one on contests and how things went when people submitted to contest, how they pick pieces to submit to contests. That’s more of like a peer oriented discussion. So, we bring members together, and they talk about that.


    If you’re doing the Intensive, and that’s enough for you, what you will find though is I’ll be able to pull in those resources and tailor them specifically to what you’re working on. So, if I know that you’re working on political poetry or something like that, or you want to think about how to bring more research, like we talked about Write and Light or more specific topical subjects into your writing, then I can send you to a specific library item on this, usually like a one hour video call that we had with a guest on that topic. That’s just one example of many that we have in the resource library.


    Then I guess what also is most helpful in terms of the membership is then you’re also have access to the group brain that we are as a community, and you’re able to pop into our publishing channel and say,

    “Hey, I’ve got a piece that’s (describe the piece) and then I’m looking for a few places to send it to. Any suggestions?”


    People may have submitted work to places or successfully published with some places, and they’ll be able to answer those kinds of questions as well, too.

    Meli Walker:  57:10

    Sometimes the timing of that is fun. It’s like someone’s like I’m writing this flash piece, speculative fiction, and then someone’s like, I just saw a contest for that, or I just saw a famous show for this, like, you have to submit it here. Then sometimes that does result in people getting published in those things, just so the timing. So, the knowledge sharing is really, really wonderful.

    Rachel Thompson:  57:33

    They also get access to you in terms of your role as community facilitator, too. You help them navigate through the membership, too.

    Meli Walker:  57:43

    Yeah, it’s great to meet folks and find out where they’re at and help them navigate the membership and find resources in the library. Then because I’m speaking to all sorts of members as they join, and just over the years, sometimes I’m able to connect writers and say,

    “Oh, you know this person is also working on a memoir in this specific form that would be a fun connection for you.”


    Sometimes out of the membership folks end up forming their own feedback groups and things like that. So, that’s a little more specific to the ongoing membership. But just to say that, a lot of people comment on how grateful they are to have that ongoing connection to other writers, and to have that like sort of safe container to share what they’re going through and reflect on their goals and reevaluate their goals and all this kind of stuff that we do together that makes us feel less alone. So, they love it.

    Rachel Thompson:  58:38

    What you’re saying about feeling less alone is kind of part of why doing this in this intensive format really works well too, because it’s like, it just can be feel really overwhelming to go, how do I get from here, I want to write something, I have a few ideas or I’ve been toiling away at something for a while and I’m just not getting the traction that I want to get in terms of getting it published in places but also maybe even just like the ability to sit and work at the piece for enough time to prepare it for publication or to hone in and have it say, expressed in the way that you want to express things and communicate and like people understand what you’re saying. What we’re doing is kind of, people are still kind of working in that proverbial room of their own on the writing itself. But there’s a lot of support and community and connection that happens throughout the Intensive that helps carry people on then from generating to revising to publishing.

    Meli Walker:  59:39

    And finding momentum too, because maybe I’m projecting my own experience, but it’s often not that I don’t have time to write, it’s that I sometimes feel like I need a bit more accountability, I guess is the word although I often struggle with that word because sometimes sounds punishing to me, but the version of accountability in which someone wants to know how it went, someone is actually interested to know what happened when you did that thing you said you were going to do, and that someone’s waiting to hear about it, even if it’s not the best news, is the kind of accountability that has really worked for me. This reporting back, you know that people are interested in your report and your update, and that keeps me going and keeps me connected to just the whole experience of writing. Like you say, thinking about it as sort of a long haul thing is really helpful when you know that there are people that are interested in what you have to say about how it’s filling.


    Often folks don’t have people in their real life, in their like daily in person embodied walking around life that are writing in this way, or approaching writing in this way. So, this online component, being able to talk to someone in the Yukon, or in Six Nations territory, or someone that is also going through the same things and may not be present in your daily life is, I’ve heard them, a lot of people say that it’s really helpful.

    Rachel Thompson:  1:01:09

    I really like what you’re saying there, Meli, because I’ve definitely heard from so many writers that I’ve worked with, where it’s like, I get lots of love and support from people in my life, my loved ones, but they do not understand why I would, one say,

    “Oh, I’m struggling with this, I’m trying to write this, I’m trying to do this.”


    Then for them, because they don’t want to see you in pain, they often will say,

    “Well, do you need to do that?”


    So, just understanding the madness, I guess that is being a writer.

    Meli Walker:  1:01:39

    Yes, I need to. Leave me alone.

    Rachel Thompson:  1:01:42


    Meli Walker:  1:01:44

    I’ll be much happier around the house if you let me go through this.

    Rachel Thompson:  1:01:48

    That kind of comes to like the discernment of feedback as well, too. It’s like the loving feedback that’s well meaning, or the person that reads your work and always says,

    “It’s great. I don’t see anything wrong with it. This is brilliant!”


    Whereas oftentimes, there are things that we need to work on, and that sort of I guess the other extreme, just to call back what I was saying about workshopping, too, in getting feedback that isn’t necessarily, you know, it’s too prescriptive. It’s not the right feedback for you. Again, there’s a discernment to be made, I guess, discernment is one of our keywords for this whole program, discernment to be made between feedback bits too specific and then feedback that’s just not from the right person who gets how to take your work to the next step that you need to go.

    Meli Walker:  1:02:35

    Wow, have we done it?

    Rachel Thompson:  1:02:36

    I think we have. That is the Lit Mag Love Intensive, and thank you Meli for convincing me or I didn’t take much, not much convincing, but just proposing to me that we do a whole episode just to go through that. What I’m hoping to that people can take away some of the specific lessons that we’ve brought from each of these courses. Then also to know that this opportunity is available for you. We are starting it soon as of this recording, and then also plan to run it again around February, in mid-February is when it will happen again.


    Then apart from that the three core courses that we talked about are all available as standalone courses, too.


    If you’re like oh, I’m good on the generating, I know how to revise my work. I know how to be an editor of my own work, but I just need help with publishing then consider the Lit Mag Love course. That will happen in January.


    Then the Revision Love course, if you’re on the other hand thinking I know what my goals are, I know where I want to send the work out. But I need help with revising, that will be taking place in November.


    The Write and Light course is available all the time. It’s an ongoing open registration. That one’s totally self-directed course.


    All the other courses are with me helping you along the way and you work with a cohort live, and I want to say in-person, but it’s not really in-person. But we are live in different places at the same time. Everything I do is online. It has been since before the pandemic days. So, this was always kind of funny for me in the early days of the pandemic where people were learning what all the tools were that we were already using.


    Join us, but the reason for that is, I guess maybe I could dig into that for just a sec, which is, the reason we do it this way is our audience, do you have a hinted at this, like some different limitations that prevent them from maybe going to a full-time chorus or MFA, not to mention the financial limitations of doing something like that, but also, maybe they have young children, a lot of folks that work with, have young children, have different abilities or disabilities that are preventing them from showing up at specific times and specific places.


    As I mentioned, in the Intensive, you set your own schedule and do it at your own pace with accountability support, though, so we don’t let you drop off as well, too. So, we definitely call on you to show up. Sorry to use your least favorite word, Meli, accountability. But that’s what we do.


    I hope that it has you interested, if you have questions about any of the courses, you can always reach out to me. I’m at, you can see everything about the courses that I offer up there.

    Meli Walker:  1:05:21

    Yeah, it’s great to hear from you about these courses. I know you’ve put a lot of your critical mind into it, a lot of your smarts. I know that you also care a lot of other writers working through these courses, and that these courses are helpful and a great resources and that there is a before and after experience. I think it’s really great for people to hear about these courses from your perspective. Hopefully, that’s good.

    Rachel Thompson:  1:05:48

    That was an overview of the Write, Publish and Shine Intensive. You can learn more about the program at You will also find all of the resources that Meli and I mentioned that were for the lessons that we discussed in the episode. That’s up at This is episode 79.


    I look forward to connecting with you. If you have any questions about the Write, Publish and Shine Intensive or any of my courses, I’m always here, you can reach out to me at Or just check out everything that is offered in the course, including the start dates, and end dates and all the expectations at


    We will be back soon with episode 80 that will look more deeply into the spooky Ghosts issue of Room Magazine that I just finished editing, which you can get an issue copy of at, both digital and tangible that you can hold a paper copy in your hand. So, do check that out and check out how we messed with the cover in honor of our theme. If you’re familiar with the Room, you’ll notice that there’s a departure for this issue. It’s 46.3, if you’re looking for it on the site, and it’s called Ghosts, so more on that to come.


    Thanks for listening. If you benefited from anything that we shared in terms of the specific lessons, always love to hear about it. You can reach out to me at


    I would love it if you tell other luminous writers about this episode or about the Intensive, if you think might be a fit for them. You can do this by sending them to the podcast at or tell them to search for Write, Publish and Shine, wherever they get their podcasts.


    Thank you for listening—I encourage you to write, publish and shine as I always do.


    I love to give a territorial acknowledgement at the end of each episode. And I am a guest in the South Sinai, Egypt, on lands historically and presently occupied by the el Tarabin Bedouin.

    Meli Walker:  1:07:59

    This is Meli Walker recording from unceded W̱SÁNEĆ territories.

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