Susan Carpenter

Susan has been nominated for the Howard O’Hagan Award, the Journey Prize, was a finalist in the Writer’s Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, and won Eden Mills Writer’s Festival Fringe Contest. Her YA novel and collection of short stories are ‘complete’ and looking for a publisher. By day, Susan works in the investment industry in Calgary. By night, she co-parents five sons in various stages of higher learning and moving out, and a chocolate lab that refuses to launch.

Before Sarah’s course, I had stories published, completed a degree and a certificate in writing and still felt that I didn’t know the formula for success. I considered taking my MFA to get the rubber stamp of approval that says ‘you are a writer’. Then I discovered Sarah’s online world and put myself through creativity bootcamp. I discovered I was a writer in need of a reliable, repeatable method to wrangle my unruly muse without shackling it. And, I needed a supportive community of kindred spirits.

The Story Intensive feels like an MFA because it’s dedicated practice, access to master storytellers, feedback from instructors and peers, and a safe space for your art to grow. Sarah’s course changed the way I write, giving me the building blocks to consciously engage with my craft. It gives you permission to dream, then wakes you to transcribe those dreams. By giving our muse supportive boundaries, we become mindful through practice.

Instead of writing feeling like a wrestling match with my muse, it now feels like a restorative yoga practice. As a teacher, I’m here to keep you between the ditches on your pilgrimage along the Story Intensive’s carefully mapped out road. I’m here to say ‘strap on your seatbelt’ because this journey is transformative. Think of me as your partner in crime.

I’ve always loved the first draft. I enjoy the abandon of the freewrite because it’s heady and laden with possibilities like falling in love. I struggled with a longer term relationship with my writing because it involved work and compromise. Boring! But Sarah’s method helped me trick myself into working by
letting myself play first. I’ve learned to help my inner romantic shape all that squishy first draft emotion into something more than the sum of its parts. In the Intensive, we are also more than the sum of our parts; we’re a team.

I know you will come out the other end of this adventure like I did: dazed from all you learned, invigorated by the assignments and friendships, and more curious and confident in your partnership with your writing.

As a motivational side note, my final Intensive assignment won the Fringe Contest allowing me to read at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. And, Sarah’s daily prompts earned me the first runner up title in the Little Bird Stories Contest.

You’ve come to the right and the write place. You are a writer. Let’s practice dreamy mindfulness together. Your muse will thank you.