The Ground of Making

One year of deep attention and personalized support
for your writing. Offered in Grand Rapids and online.

Coaching for writers - image with idea bubble

The Ground of Making is for writers seeking a deeper connection to their voice, a sense of rootedness in their creative life, and a space where experimentation, hands-on learning, and true discovery can unfold.

Through 12 months of one-on-one coaching, thoughtful response to your writing-in-progress, and more, you’ll come into a more active and personalized writing practice.


Practice, as in: words out of the mind and on the page. Raw material written and gathered and shaped, one line after the next. Stories completed. Poems dreamed and collected into being. Images unearthed, sounds played with, characters heard, scenes tested and prodded. Themes and surprises and big ideas broken down with words, words, words. Words that can be celebrated, submitted, or shared according to your unique voice and intentions.

Practice, as in: A writer is someone who writes. And writes. And begins again. And by practicing more, begins to understand what truly feeds their writing—on the page and beyond.



This is the most immersive space I hold with writers.

The Ground of Making is less “writer-in-theory” and more trying, tending, and tuning in—with highly personalized guidance throughout the journey. This is not about following a template for a writing life, and it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all program. The space we’ll share is deep and formed by your own curiosities, creative instincts, and needs as a writer (even if you’re just beginning to learn what those instincts and needs are).

I hope you’ll experience at least a few seasons, cycles, ebbs, and flows during our year together. Challenges and breakthroughs alike will be welcomed in this space. I’ll guide you through them with questions, practices, compassionate feedback, and more. Rather than chasing someone else’s idea of an ideal writing life, the Ground of Making is a year of creating a real and rooted home for writing in your life.

What’s included in the Ground of Making

12 months of coaching, Writing Reviews & More


Spots are limited.

Open to no more than seven writers in 2020. Five spots are currently available.

Pay in full (one-time payment)

Register Now

Monthly Coaching

487.50 every month for 4 months
Register Now

One-hour session each month for 12 months, either in person in Grand Rapids or virtually using Zoom. Virtual sessions include audio and video, and each one can be recorded so that you never miss a moment of insight. Writers in the Ground of Making receive priority scheduling and first dibs on my schedule. (For other coaching, there’s typically a one- to two-month wait time to book a session.)

Writing Reviews

Close reading and review of up to 15,000 words of prose or 30 poems (up to 50 pages) or a mix of those depending on your projects over the course of the year. These include thoughtful notes on strengths and opportunities in the writing, personalized prompts/exercises to stir new writing or deepen revision, and observations on how the writing might connect to your body of work as a whole. The reviews can be broken up in different ways/amounts over the course of the 12 sessions, depending on your journey. Writers in the Ground of Making also receive a discounted rate for additional writing review time beyond what’s already included in the program, if you decide you’d like to share more writing.

Email Support

Life happens between sessions, and my hope is that your writing does too! That’s why I offer ongoing support by email. You’ll be invited to ask questions as you put new practices to work, check in as you celebrate discoveries, or to get those helpful sanity checks (e.g., “Is it normal to feel ____ at this point in the process?”). This works the other way as well. As I come across good reads that resonate with your writing or process, I’ll share them. As I hear of submission calls that might be a fit for you, I’ll offer those.


If you register for the Ground of Making by November 11, 2019 you’ll also get access to Winter Fires, a five-week online writing workshop that starts on November 11, 2019. This will be a chance to reflect on your writing journey at the moment and begin seeding what’s ahead for 2020. A value of $125.

Creative Kickstart

The Ground of Making includes registration in Twenty, a 20-day writing prompt adventure that will begin on January 20, 2020 with an optional, live writing session. Twenty is completely online—it’s the follow-up to last year’s popular Nineteen, if you’re curious! A value of $20.

Submissions Workshop

Your year of writing support includes registration in a 2020 session of Tending the Work. This five-part online workshop will share ways to know when a piece of writing is complete, how to find good homes for your voice, and how to submit your writing for publication. A value of $125. If you’ve already taken Tending the Work, you’ll receive a review of two submissions in 2020. This will be done by email and include a final look at your prepared submission, with recommendations of places to submit. (Note: This is a review of your submission, not a close reading or editing of the writing itself.)

The Ground of Making is open to seven writers.

Spots cannot be held until payment is received. If you know you’d like to be a part of this program in 2020, early registration is encouraged! A payment plan option is available this year. Five of the seven spots for 2020 are currently open.

Pay in full (one-time payment)

Register Now

Payment plan option (four payments)

487.50 every month for 4 months
Register Now


Testimonials from fellow writers
“With each day I feel like I'm discovering something new in my writing, and in myself; it's a release for me and I feel like I know what I'm doing, which is a first. I also feel like I'm writing well; writing in a style that I love to read which sort of completes me and helps me to write more. I think I'm on the right track to finding my voice. Thanks for being a motivating, down-to-earth teacher.”

Reflecting on whether The Ground of Making is the path for you?

I offer 20-minute introductory conversations for writers who are considering The Ground of Making. These are held in a private online room, using Zoom, so you can try the meeting tool we’d use, ask questions, and listen for whether this feels like a good fit. Please send me a note if you’re interested in scheduling a conversation.


Who’s invited?

I’m inviting seven writers to join me for The Ground of Making in 2020. New and actively practicing writers alike are invited. You may be new to writing, or you might be seeking greater depth in your ongoing writing life. You may wish to publish your work, or you may not. You might not even know what kind of writing you’re doing yet, or you might know exactly what you want to finish in 2020. I’ll have space and questions ready to help shape the way as your 12-month journey begins.

Please note: Two areas I won’t focus on in this program are writing for children and script/screenwriting, as they aren’t a specialty of mine. I’ve loved helping writers get started on projects in those areas, but for the longer journey, those are special niches that call for specialized resources and guidance.

About Your Writing Coach

I'm Emily Stoddard, a writer with over 20 years of experience in making meaning with words. My writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Radar, Tupelo Quarterly, Ruminate, New Poetry from the Midwest, Pilgrimage, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, GravelManifest-Station, An Alphabet of Embers, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. 

I write a mix of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and the in-between-indefinables, because I’ve found that stretching in one area inevitably makes the writing stronger in another. In addition to supporting writers, I've helped over 40 nonprofits and businesses tell their story. Learn more about my background here.