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Write the First Draft of Your Novel in Three Months

 

with Coach Heidi Reimer




 

 

 


Writing makes you feel

at the centre of your purpose.



You have an idea for a novel. More than an idea: scenes mapped out, characters begging to live, the first chapter written and rewritten.

You know in your deepest place of knowing that you’re meant to write this novel. You long to bring it into being with a lot less staring at the blank page immobilized by “Do I actually know how to capture anything in words…maybe I’ll find some inspiration on Instagram…”

{End of writing session till next week.}


How can something you’re meant for be so consistently daunting...even defeating?

If there were a way to tap into your creativity reliably and joyfully — without overwhelm and resistance thwarting you before you’ve even begun — would you finally feel ready to write the novel you long to write?

 

 

 



I had no idea how to write my first novel. It took me seven years to finish it, because I was writing without a plan. I was writing it alone: I had no guide, no structure, no container to hold my exploration.

Writing a book doesn’t have to be so confusing and difficult. You don’t have to do it without support.

I’ve been writing with Heidi Reimer for the past three years, and I’ve learned so much from her approach. She’s a brilliant writer and editor who has been honing her craft for decades. She has a deeply feminist philosophy, and knows how to optimize our natural creative cycles, so our writing feels nourishing and productive.

Working directly with Heidi, I wrote the first draft of my new novel in three months.

Heidi understands process. More importantly, she trusts it. In my moments of doubt and confusion, her calm wisdom helped me keep the faith and finish my book. She helped untangle all of my writing knots — both in my craft and my ego.

I’m so pleased to introduce her to you!

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I had no idea how to write my first novel. It took me seven years to finish it, because I was writing without a plan. I was writing it alone: I had no guide, no structure, no container to hold my exploration.

Writing a book doesn’t have to be so confusing and difficult. You don’t have to do it without support.

I’ve been writing with Heidi Reimer for the past three years, and I’ve learned so much from her approach. She’s a brilliant writer and editor who has been honing her craft for decades. She has a deeply feminist philosophy, and knows how to optimize our natural creative cycles, so our writing feels nourishing and productive.

Working directly with Heidi, I wrote the first draft of my new novel in three months.

Heidi understands process. More importantly, she trusts it. In my moments of doubt and confusion, her calm wisdom helped me keep the faith and finish my book. She helped untangle all of my writing knots — both in my craft and my ego.

I’m so pleased to introduce her to you!

Sarah Signature (full) 600dpi

Sarah_Selecky




The First Draft Novel Coaching Program is a three-month coaching container that supports you to complete the first draft of your novel.



 

Igives you the tools and the accountability to create a quick, rough first draft in just three months — but we pursue that goal with a focus on process, not product.

You’ll learn how to step into the flow of creativity and partner reliably with creative source in a way that nourishes your spirit and amasses pages in your notebook.

The most thrilling outcome is a meaningful, fruitful relationship with the creative process, with your magically-emerging novel, and with the mystical place it all comes from.

But the other most thrilling outcome is finishing our three months together with a completed first draft of your novel.

The First Draft Novel Coaching Program is for you if:
  • You have an idea for a novel
  • You’ve begun a novel but are stuck in the early stages
  • You long for a sustaining and sustainable writing practice but can go days, weeks, or months without showing up at the page
  • You begin novels and become bogged down in editing as you go or lose inspiration fifty pages in
  • Your last novel took ten excruciating years and you don’t want to relive that experience
  • You can’t seem to find the time to write
  • You’d rather deep clean your bat-infested basement than face a blank page
  • You love the freedom of the blank page, but your meanderings rarely add up to viable plot
  • You want creative freedom, juicy synchronicity, ease-filled partnership with magic
  • You also want structure to keep you grounded, progressing, and on track
  • You’re willing to devote yourself to a creative practice and a set of creativity-sustaining principles, show up for your writing every day, and trust the creative process even when it’s uncomfortable
Book a Discovery Call with Heidi

 


“It was a very wonderful experience for me, working with you, giving me a focus on me that I really needed at the time, as well as incredible writing information and coaching. Your approach and content has made such a difference for me.”

— Martha, Hammond, NY


 

Introducing Heidi:

Heidi_brighter

I’m Heidi Reimer.

I’m a novelist, essayist, and writing coach.

I help stuck writers stop dreading their writing sessions and start writing their novels with flow and ease.

Iwas eight years old when I knew I was a writer. I wrote stories freely until it came time to turn the lifelong dream into a grown-up reality…and the greatest pleasure of my life became hard.

 

Over the decades that followed, I approached writing with…

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An ego-based, left-brain yang energy: trying to follow the rules and get it “right,” chastising myself when I didn’t or couldn’t deliver.

I felt blocked; I felt like a failure; I eventually concluded I didn’t have what it took.

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An instinct-based, right-brain yin energy: following my intuition on the page, letting the words, characters, and stories surprise me.

This approach was all about process. It released me from perfectionism and self-criticism, uncovered a more natural voice, and healed my battered writer. But I ended up with a lot of beautiful writing in which nothing happened and a fear of sitting down to a blank page because my work felt directionless and unfocused.

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And finally, an approach that is a balance of the two: freedom within a gentle framework.

This approach has enabled me to develop a writing practice that is generative, nurturing, and sustainable. It’s all about process…but it results in completed and viable stories, essays, and novels.

My eight-year-old self would not have believed how long it would take, but my debut novel will be published by Penguin Random House in March 2023, with the second slated for publication the following year and a third nearly completed.


Yearning to write, struggling to write, failing to write, learning to write, and — finally — writing (freely and with purpose and joy): this has been my life’s work.


It’s why I’m passionate about showing up for other writers too...especially writers who haven’t rocketed to success on the 25-under-25 lists, who’ve yearned and stumbled and doubted but still know this is their purpose.

Because the hard part of writing a novel is not the craft of writing a novel.

Structure, plotting, dialogue, narrative arc, character development, tight and clear sentences. They can be studied and improved.

The hard part of writing a novel is showing up. 

It’s making your practice your priority even though you have a job, a family, and an overwhelming to-do list.

The hard part of writing a novel is facing the blank page or the flashing cursor, sitting with the discomfort of the unknown, opening the portal to your own subconscious and to what might be buried there. 

It’s showing up to this uncertainty, even when you feel uninspired, unoriginal, bored, resistant, or afraid. 

This is the stuff that makes “someday” feel like a much better time than “today” to begin writing a novel. 

It’s why you might get 20,000 words in and decide this idea isn’t viable after all, or you need to do more research, or it’ll go better if you wait for your sabbatical/three weeks alone at the cottage, or retirement, or for your kids to grow up. 

It’s painful to not do what we most long to do, and it's painful to show up to what we love and experience it as suffering. 

 

Your ego does not want you to write creatively because it doesn’t feel safe. And the ego’s job is to keep you safe. 

Your ego is okay with you producing a Pulitzer-winning novel — as long as you do it on the first try and without revealing anything real. It’s not okay with you being a beginner, stumbling, feeling confused, getting lost. It gets very good with the convincing reasons you shouldn’t try.


 But when you have the tools to help you put aside your logical left brain (where the ego, editor, and critic live)...

When you know how to approach the creative process so you’re flowing with it instead of against it…

When you partner with your novel and listen for what it wants to become through you…

And when you do so within the supportive container of a co-creative relationship with an experienced guide…


Writing your novel becomes not only doable but deeply pleasurable.

Book a Discovery Call with Heidi

 


Sarah Selecky Writing School

Your remarks [are] so helpful, and so indicative of the tremendous, priceless resource you are — another creative brain to oversee my own creative endeavours. I am so fortunate.

Jaffrey, NH


 

At the end of our three months together, you will have:

A writing practice that’s joyfully non-negotiable

You show up for your writing, and your writing shows up for you, and that is now a bedrock fact of who you are and how you move through your days.

A healthy relationship with your daily practice

Supportive instead of self-flagellating, nurturing instead of draining, expansive, energizing, purposeful, and productive.

New tools and practices

Learn how to get out of your own way, escape the critic on your shoulder, and step reliably into the flow of creativity.

A complete first draft of your novel

It will be rough, it will be raw, it will be juicy and full of surprises. It will definitely not be publication-ready. But it will be the basis of your novel, sparkling and real and existing in the world, ready to be turned into your second draft.


 

1-on-1 First Draft Novel Coaching
— Pricing —

 
Your Investment:

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Centered members:

$1,000 USD/month for 3 months

($3,000 USD total)



 

Non-members:

$1,250 USD/month for three months

($3,750 USD total)


Book a Discovery Call with Heidi

 


Sarah Selecky Writing School

It was hard to move from the ‘idea’ stage of the book to writing it. I was worried I might not be a ‘good writer’, which also hampered my start date. To me, the biggest advantage of working with a coach is that because you are paying for professional services, you get down to business and do the writing.

Having a writing coach moves you along really well and before you know it your manuscript is done and ready for the next steps. Grateful for the opportunity to work with the wonderful Heidi Reimer!

Toronto, ON


 

Here’s how we write a novel
in twelve weeks:

1.  It starts with getting conscious, clear, and intentional.

Before we do anything else together in the First Draft Novel Coaching Program, I help you get clear on exactly what’s been keeping you from the completed manuscript and the nourishing, productive writing practice you long for. We do this through a guided written process called Creative Remaking, which you’ll complete on your own and share with me before our first session. 

Your own personal blocks might be camouflaged or they might be dancing loud and rambunctious right in front of you. Fears, judgments, long-ago-seeded beliefs: we invite them into the light and examine them. And once you have clarity on them, you begin to release them and install new beliefs and helpful self-talk in their place. 

From there, you’ll create a new intention to set a powerful course for our three months together, for your writing practice, and for the novel you’re writing. That intention will be your north star as you transform your relationship with creativity and write the first draft of your novel. 

Our first coaching call together is your Creative Remaking Session. We’ll have a full hour to delve into all this together...so we can clear the way for the work of the next eleven weeks.

2.  Next, you’ll begin to explore, receive, and create your novel.

Each week for the next 11 weeks, we’ll meet for a 30-minute Zoom session where we’ll engage with what you’re experiencing this week in your novel and your writing practice. These calls help you stay on track, stay connected to your purpose and your goal, and give you a safe place to bring questions, frustrations, and oh-my-god-I’m-writing-my-novel! exhilarating creative joy.

Each week you’ll also receive a guidesheet that will be your touchstone through the week: gentle but clear directions on what to do in your novel that week, laid out for you in day-by-day steps and inspiration. 

The structure in each week’s novel-writing guidesheet is a place to hang the wildness of the imagination, a container to hold and give shape to the uncontained raw material you’ll be digging up. 

For the first three weeks, you’ll explore deep-mining questions to unlock your characters, what they yearn for, what happens to them, how, and why. We start with plenty of guided dreamscape, and through that process, you’ll create a loose outline for your novel.

3.  And then, you’ll write your novel.

In the remaining two months.

What! Yes. 

One short, doable step at a time.


 Here’s what makes it possible:

  • You’ve brought into conscious awareness the limiting beliefs, fears, and self-doubt that have kept you from moving forward in the past; you’ve actively engaged in clearing and transforming them; and you’ve set an intention to keep you focused on what you desire.

  • You’re showing up at the page daily (with one day off for rest, renewal, and creative well-filling), and there is power in consistent, daily accumulation.

  • You are not editing as you go. In fact, you’re not even reading what you’ve written. This is because…

  • Your inner critic/censor/editor/smart-holder-of-advanced-degrees brain is not invited to this party. Writing quickly without editing allows you to let go of ego and enter the unconscious where your material is.
  • You are willing to write badly. You’re setting aside (temporarily) everything you know about what makes a good sentence or a good scene so you can escape the analytical thinking that keeps you rewriting the same paragraph for three days and bars your access to the less explicable, less defensible, more mysterious depths of story source—the place where you discover things you didn’t know you knew. Getting to that place requires trust, intuition, and letting go of control. It requires being willing to write badly. 

  • You are not overthinking. You’re making blink-moment choices and moving forward — never backward — in your novel.

  • You have daily plot, character, and structure guidance to ensure you’re building a novel that’s not only wildly alive but also a viable story with compelling characters, real stakes, a narrative arc, and a destination.

NOTE: You’re also not receiving feedback on what you write. During the process of creation, I want you to be free of anxiety about any external expectation or assessment. This means you won’t be sending me what you write. Everything you create in this coaching program lives in the protected space between you and the page.

 



 Questions Writers Often Ask Before Signing Up for Coaching


I have a full-time job! I have a four-year-old! A rowdy husky who must be walked eight times a day! I don’t have time to write an entire novel in three months.

You don’t have to set aside seven hours a day to do this. Two hours each day, six days a week, is the ideal amount of time, but you can also do it in one hour a day if that’s what you have. 

The important factor is that you’re ready for devotion to your creative practice and ready to commit to your novel.

And you’re not writing an entire novel — you’re writing a messy first draft with zero demands for polish or perfection or getting it even close to right.

One small piece at a time. 

The power of working with — and investing in — a coach is that you’ve instantly created not just accountability but a time-limited container that says NOW is when you’re writing your novel — and gives you built-in support both to help you do that and to ensure you do it. No longer is everything else in your life more urgent than the thing that is most important to you. You’ve built urgency into your creative practice — which means that time, that thing you could never seem to find for writing, now rallies in this new direction. 

Your writing — the priority in your heart for so long — finally becomes the priority in your life.



I’d love to commit to this, but I’m afraid I’ll get overwhelmed, lose focus, and quit.

I’m here as your coach to gently assist you in not doing that. Not in a taskmaster/stern-professor-with-a-deadline way, but as a compassionate guide who knows the roadblocks that might come up for you and is there to remind you where you’re going, why you’re going there, and — most importantly — show you how to get there.

Overwhelm happens when the steps are vague and the options vast, when there’s no clear path to follow. The First Draft Novel Coaching Program is flexible enough to bend to the needs of your novel, your writing practice, your life circumstances, and your unique, individual writer-self, but it’s also solid enough that you always know what your single next step is.

You’ll focus on that step for that day — and then the next step on the next day. And so on.

As long as you’re willing to trust the process and do the next thing, you’ll make it to the end of your draft.



Will I be writing my novel to a template? Not sure how I feel about that…

I used to be very resistant to outlining or even to learning about story structures. Hemming myself in beforehand felt too constricting; I wanted the freedom to be surprised, to watch my characters take over, to follow my intuition wherever it led. Outlining felt like a mechanical and restrictive way to approach writing a novel, and following someone else’s formula for novel structure? That was for people who weren’t artists. 

The truth is that structure liberates the imagination. When you have at least a few parameters to work within or guidelines to follow, your mind is freed to focus on the creative and you can finally get traction. 

What I’ll guide you through in the course of our coaching relationship is a flexible three-act structure to help you map out the beats of your story in a way that will foster narrative momentum and a growth trajectory for your characters. It also provides a framework for you to hook into day by day, so you’re not showing up at the page with that sinking feeling of “now what?” 

This structure is a loose hybrid of the Hero’s Journey, the Heroine’s Journey, and the Virgin’s Promise. It’s not going to result in a formulaic story. You’re free to cut it all up later and weave your scenes together in a completely different order. You’re free to look at the novel framework and leave it behind before you write a word. You’re free to explore ways of pushing it in a more feminine, non-binary, non-western, cyclical, or spirallic story-telling direction, too. 

But it’s there as something to push against and engage with, and that is surprisingly liberating. 



Is this for beginning novelists or for writers who’ve written novels before?

It’s for anyone who’s ready to commit to writing the particular novel currently pressing at their heart, whether they’re five novels in or have only ever written short stories, academic essays, or text messages.

It’s a personalized, one-on-one process, so we’ll work exactly where you are.

Experienced novelists will probably have more context for the aspects of novel structure or character development we’ll explore, but this isn’t a requirement. 

If it’s your first novel, I’ll show you how to avoid the years of floundering, effortful misery, and abandoned manuscripts that I logged in my early attempts at writing novels.

And if you’ve written other novels and found the experience punishing, confusing, or just plain hard, approaching a new novel in a completely different way — with support and a quick, judgment-free process — may be the healing your creative spirit needs.



What exactly happens when I click that “Book A Discovery Call” button?

First, you’ll be taken to my calendar to choose a 15-minute time slot that works for you. You’ll answer a few questions about your writing and what you’re looking for. Then you’ll receive an email with a Zoom link for our call. 

The purpose of the discovery call is for me to understand who you are as a writer, for you to understand who I am as a writing coach, and for both of us to discover if we’re a good fit for close, creative work together. The coaching relationship can be intimate; it requires vulnerability, presence, a compatible sensibility. This call helps us both feel that out.

If it’s a YES for both of us, we agree to move forward with a three-month coaching relationship, and I’ll send you a booking link. You’ll receive a welcome email from me with your Creative Remaking PDF, and you’ll schedule yourself a solo date to get conscious and intentional about what you want to transform and create in the next three months. 

Once that’s done, you’ll book your first coaching call, the one-hour Creative Remaking Session…and we’re off on our creative adventure.




To see if this program would be a good fit for you right now,
book a 15 minute call with me.

Book a Discovery Call with Heidi


Here’s exactly what you get in the First Draft Novel Coaching Program:

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  • The Creative Remaking block-releasing, intention-setting process to get clear on what’s been holding you back and what you want to release, create, and transform in your writing.


  • One Hour-Long Creative Remaking Coaching Session to delve into your history and relationship with writing, your goals, what came up for you in your Creative Remaking process, and what you want to shift and create in our three months together.


  • 11 Weekly 30-Minute Coaching Sessions to keep you on track and accountable week by week as you write your novel, so you never feel alone with your questions, doubts, plot puzzles, and wins.


  • 12 Weekly Guidesheets with step-by-step support and inspiration for each day’s writing practice, so you’re never facing the blank page with no idea what to fill it with.


  • A Guided 12-Week Novel-Writing Program that will support you to write the first draft of your novel in three months, emailed to you weekly through PDF guidesheets and personalized just for you in our weekly coaching sessions.


  • Accountability, so you can finally stop setting word count and chapter goals that predictably fall prey to the urgencies of life.


  • A Balance Of Creative Freedom and Gentle Structure in both your writing practice and your novel-writing approach.


  • Practices to Help You Access the Subconscious, where your real material lives.


  • A Completed First Draft Of Your Novel in three months.


  • A Creatively Healthy Writing Practice and a transformed relationship with your writing.



 

Book a Discovery Call with Heidi

Questions? Email us: support@sarahselecky.com 



Heidi headshot 1

About HEIDI

I’m a novelist, essayist, and writing coach based in Prescott, Ontario. My debut novel, The Mother Act, is forthcoming from Penguin Random House in 2023, and my short stories and essays have been featured in Chatelaine, The New Quarterly, Little Fiction, Literary Mama, and the anthologies Body & Soul: Stories for Skeptics and Seekers, The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood, and Outcrops: Northeastern Ontario Short Stories. I have tried to write or longed to write or resisted writing or feared writing or, finally, actually written for 36 years.



About Sarah

I help writers centre their relationship with writing so they can do the creative work they long to do. My debut collection, This Cake Is for the Party, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. My novel, Radiant Shimmering Light, was published in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S., and Poland. It has been optioned for television and will be a premium one-hour series.

Sarah-Selecky



SSWSTeachers_sm_cropped.jpgPhoto: Our 2017 teacher retreat.

About Sarah Selecky Writing School

W

e’ve been offering vibrant online creative writing programs since 2010. Our holistic approach teaches writers how to cultivate a trust in mystery as they learn their craft, so they can have a healthy and happy professional writing life.

SSWS star logo HIGH RESWe believe that skill comes from study and practice, that magic happens when we create, and that our writing thrives when we are part of a supportive community.

Book a Discovery Call with Heidi

 

Our school welcomes people of all identities, races, abilities, and interests. We share an inclusive, generous, and heart-centered point of view, and are committed to cultivating a culture of empathy and insight.

Our headquarters are on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples, adjacent to Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) territory.

www.sarahseleckywritingschool.com