Friday, January 19, 2018

Honoring Limitations During Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatment and writing don't go together. At least, they didn't for me. I thought I'd keep up my blogs, write, and submit while traveling five days a week, managing side effects, juggling my schedule, etc. Workarounds aren't new to me, so I didn't see a problem.

Well...  my hubris didn't last. I began to nap daily. Brain fog (an occasional visitor in my life before) stayed all day, multiple days a week. Side effects whisked me away to the bathroom fifteen times within twenty hours. Poetry didn't flee me completely, but it was erratic and strained.

I felt so terrible about letting my blogs go (especially this one). I'd berate myself for not being there for my readers. "Workarounds," I reminded myself as I dozed off. It didn't matter that I was busy saving my life so I could continue the work I do. Nope. All I knew was work wasn't getting done.

"Honor your limitations," I tell people around me a lot. But I never apply it to myself, regardless of what I'm going through. Not without a pile of guilt, anyway.

I'm feeling more like myself these days, though I'm not at 100%. In February, I find out if my cancer is gone. It's also the month submissions are open for mentor applications for The H.U.P. Mentor Program, something I've wanted to bring to our community for a very long time.
Each time life is upended, you must re-examine what you need and honor it. You don't have to thrive every moment you exist. Surviving is enough. It ensures you're still here to do whatever you planned on doing tomorrow... and beyond.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Mentor Program: An Overview (2021)

We need applications from disabled/neurodivergent writers with multiple marginalizations. Please, please apply. We want this to be an accurate representation of our community!


The H.U.P. Mentor Program will give promising new/emerging disabled and/or neurodivergent writers one-on-one attention from an established disabled and/or neurodivergent writer in their field. The mentee doesn’t have to have a completed, novel-length manuscript to polish, but can also ask to be mentored on querying agents, writing a book proposal, submitting to literary magazines, revising short stories, pitching articles, etc.

Mentors and mentees must agree to a minimum of two interactions a week. All correspondence will be done via phone, e-mail, Skype, Facebook, etc. Mentors and mentees will list on their application which methods of correspondence work best for them.

Schedules and How Things Work:

This program is free and open twice a year: February 1st to April 30th and August 1st to October 31st. Applications for new mentors are always open.

We will try to have two mentors (minimum) in different genres available, but we can’t guarantee it. 

Mentors who are available to be worked with will be listed as such (the page will be kept updated). Each mentor will have their own information link for quicker access by applicants.

Mentees can pitch to any or every mentor available at the time of application, even if there are more than two (provided they work in compatible genres). Mentees will still only work with one mentor unless something happens. The term will now be eight weeks in the program instead of a set date, starting the week after students are accepted into the program. If a mentor’s term will end before the eight weeks are over, the pairing can decide to finish it out or other plans can be made.

Mentors will try to review applications as swiftly as possible, but please remember they have other obligations.


Mentors must have some type of publication history (it doesn’t have to be a published book, magazine contributions are fine) and/or three years of teaching or professional editing experience… minimum. No degree required! If you’ve been a mentor to other writers before, please mention it. If your editing business has lead to a client getting a book deal, let us know! Self-published authors will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Mentors will be asked what types of writing they have experience with. They will also be asked what aspects of writing and publishing they’re “good at” and which parts they hate. If a poet is a pro at submitting but can’t help organize a chapbook, tell us! The more specific you are, the better.

Mentors can pick more than one student at their discretion. They do not have to choose anyone if they don’t find a suitable fit for what they offer.


No one applying to be a mentee should have published full-length books in the genre they’re applying in, a current mentor, or an agent. (Self-published books might be permissible, depending.)

As of 2020, mentees may hold advanced degrees. If your major (or minor) was in creative writing, literature, or other related fields, you must have obtained your degree at least twelve years prior to the starting date of the program. 

Unrelated degrees have no time restrictions.

A writing sample in the genre you’re seeking a mentor in is required along with the application. Five to ten pages of prose (double-spaced) or three to five poems will suffice.

Mentees should have a clear goal in mind when applying and should state the goal: A cozy mystery polished, pitches to magazine editors refined, query for a memoir ironed out.

If a mentee doesn’t get chosen, they can try again with other mentors (or different projects with the same mentor during the next open period.


Application questions can be emailed as an attachment or questions can be pasted in the body of an email. If someone needs another method, I’ll try to oblige.

I understand certain people hope to work with someone with a similar disability or neurodivergence, but that won’t always be possible. Not every genre of writing will have mentors with every disability or neurodivergence.

I considered giving mentee applications to mentors stripped of personal information. But, that won’t guarantee everyone gets a fair shot… having a rich diversity of people will.