Testimonials

Individual Coaching & Manuscript Massage clients say …


Book cover of Rescuing JesusDeborah Jian Lee, author of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism (Beacon, 2015):

“Minal is brilliant. She gave me one of the most thoughtful and incisive edits I’ve ever received. She understood my book’s vision from the start and helped me elevate it from draft to finished product with kindness, wisdom and a sharp editor’s eye. Not once did she impose her style on my manuscript; instead, she gave detailed feedback on how I could crystalize my ideas and make my own voice shine through. I’m recommending her to all of my author friends.”


Book Cover - A Cup of Water Under My Bed Daisy Hernández, author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir (Beacon, 2014):

“I took a first draft of my essay book to Minal Hajratwala for two reasons: She’s smart on politics, race, gender, and all that good stuff AND I love the way her prose leaves me feeling like I’ve just read a book of poetry. Working with Minal, I found a third reason to sing her praises: she’s gentle on the soul and sharp on the writing. She critiqued my manuscript with a fine eye and gave me guidance on where to go next, but she did it all with a great generosity of spirit and respect for me as a writer and for my book-in-progress. I left our coaching sessions renewed. I can’t imagine having produced this book without her guidance.”


Book Cover - Motherhood, RescheduledSarah E. Richards, author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing (Simon & Schuster, 2013):

“Minal is a writer’s editor. She provided the perfect mix of encouragement and helpful suggestions that made my manuscript sing. She has the rare ability to see the macro and micro and give specific instructions on how to make your text clearer, more pointed and more poignant. I was thrilled with her coaching.”


Colter Jackson, writer & illustrator:

If you want your book to sizzle, you want Minal Hajratwala to touch your project. In Minal, you get a whip-smart, inventive and big-picture editor, an insightful reader, a dedicated partner, and most importantly a gentle and sensitive friend who sees you from early draft to published prose.”


Dawn Robinson, novelist:

“My sessions with writing coach Minal Hajratwala were chock full of helpful information that addressed my creative impulse at large, my specific novel-in-progress, and provided invaluable encouragement and advice to me as a writer. Here’s an example: In April on 2011, I wrote to Minal to see if we could schedule a coaching session. I wanted help preparing my application for a writer’s retreat. Not only did we schedule a session, but Minal’s experience and tips made my application so successful that I was added to a select group of 30 writers who would become Lambda Literary Foundation Fellows! By the way, Minal was in India at the time, and I was in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil! Nothing daunted, we made excellent use of Skype and email. Thanks, Minal!”


Kristy Lin Billuni writing on big paper for NaNoWriMoKristy Lin Billuni, The Sexy Grammarian, novelist:

“Minal Hajratwala opens my head up, unscrambles the stories in my brain, and sets me on a course for completion. She is my writing compass and my personal crazybrain surgeon. From Minal, I have learned how to coax my most complex and deep ideas out of the darkest corners of my mind and out into the light, onto the page. I would never be able to finish my novel without her. Working with Minal set my process free. She delved even deeper than I’d hoped in terms of attention and devotion to my manuscript, really partnering with me in the challenge of cracking open my big ideas and smoothing out my jagged parts.”


PaulJosephPaul Joseph, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University, Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair (2011):

“Minal Hajratwala was an immense help in the development of my writing project. She gave me many suggestions that contributed to greater focus and direction. She helped me build more creative tension in the manuscript. And she passed on many practical tips that made for a smoother, yet more dynamic reading experience. Minal saw the potential in the project, understood the writing process, and remained supportive throughout.”


Tanuja Jagernauth, co-founder of Sage Community Health Collective, writer:

“Minal has been my writing coach for three years. Her presence in my life has facilitated the shedding of layers and layers of self-doubt, fear, procrastination, and inertia. My work with Minal has allowed me to see myself — finally — as a writer and take steps to bring old visions to fruition. Her unique magic is in the way she gracefully honors and validates the ebbs and flows of a (writing) life; in the way she deeply sees and hears spoken and unspoken hopes and intentions; in the way she imbues this work with joy, patience, and grace.”


Sam “not a writer” B.:

“Even if you are not serious about writing, Minal has a beautiful way of connecting with you as a person and enabling you to be your best, by working through energy blocks. I was doubtful at first but I feel it is time very well spent. A very genuine soul who can translate her own writing experience into usable terms and inspire others to connect with their inner creative expression. Highly recommended.”


Workshop students say …


Book Cover - The Lines We Draw Sangamithra Iyer, author of The Lines We Draw (Hen Press, 2014):

“It was a pleasure and honor to participate in Minal Hajratwala’s Blueprint Your Book workshop. I had admired Minal’s brilliant book Leaving India for its scope, ambition and beauty. It was a gift to learn from Minal about her own process in writing what she calls ‘intimate history.’ Her personalized feedback was insightful and generous, and it has helped me plan the next stages of my research and writing. The Blueprint course materials and writing exercises are very helpful and can be catered to a writer at any stage of his/her process, and revisited in months and years to come as a project deepens or as new ones arise. Minal offers a safe, supportive and empowering environment for writers.”

Cover of Write This Second by Kira Allen, author with hands in prayer mode


Kira Allen, poet, author of Write This Second:

“Hands down, one of the best investments you can make as a writer! Minal’s insights and arsenal of prompts/tools — EPIC.”

 

 


Geeta Kothari, writer and editor:

“I loved Blueprint your Book!  Minal’s materials alone — the prompts, the explanations, the ideas for tracking time — were amazing. Each week we received a handout and several exercises. Months later, I still refer to these materials, both for inspiration and instruction. I still read Minal’s responses to my writing. I still refer to the timelines I produced in class, and because of the class, I’ve uncovered the major themes in my book.  During the six weeks, I traveled a lot and I was still able to keep up with the work; in fact, having to check in regularly and do the assignments forced me to focus and get work done in less than ideal conditions. And as a bonus, I met two writers who are doing similar work, and nearly a year later, we still check in every week.”

Kat Brazil headshot small (1)


Kat Wentworth, educator, Writing from the Chakras student:

“Participating in a writing workshop with Minal Hajratwala is an experience that endures in my memory and inspires me to this day. The activities were body-centered and deeply rooted in the personal. Minal facilitated in a way that was nurturing and fun. She creates an inclusive environment in which people of all backgrounds and levels of writing experience can feel comfortable and grow. Minal leads participants directly from accessing their creativity to writing it out. I left the workshop with writing that I felt proud of and specific suggestions about how to develop as a writer.”


Grace Lee, memoir workshop student:

“After years of writing in isolation and doubting my work, I had the honor of taking my first writing workshop with Minal at the VONA summer workshop for writers of color. Without it, I would not have had the courage to pursue my writing full-time and to apply for writing opportunities such as residencies. Minal provided incredible words of encouragement to pursue my writing and her workshop gave me the permission to call myself a writer. With the adroit eye of a highly experienced editor, she offers critical feedback yet always delivers it in a gentle manner. Her insights and encouragement have been incredibly helpful with improving my manuscript and approaching my structure in new ways. I was able to take a second workshop, Blueprint Your Book, with Minal. She offers a ton of very useful exercises to help strategize book structure and to keep the creativity flowing. I continue to refer to the exercises whenever I become stuck in my writing. The online format was ideal for allowing a community of talented writers from around the world to connect and offer insightful feedback on each other’s work under Minal’s guidance. As a workshop facilitator, she is incredibly adept at creating a safe and respectful environment under which to share one’s writing with fellow writers, which is critical for those writing memoir. Minal is brilliance.”


Shri Sadasivan, short story writer:

“I took Writing from the Chakras in 2011 and found it very useful. I had a block before the course and had been neglecting my writing for a while, and the course helped me rekindle my writing. One of the pieces I wrote as an exercise during the course later got published. Minal is an experienced coach, accomplished author, and a kind and wonderful human being. During the course, you get individual attention from her and will also receive feedback from awesome writers in your writing group. I don’t think you could ask for more.”


Jessie Daniels, writer and scholar:

“Minal’s Blueprint Your Book course was great experience for me.  She really listened to my concerns about my project, offered encouraging feedback and made suggestions that helped me significantly improved the manuscript.  More importantly, her guidance gave me new confidence about my choices about structure, voice and character development. I highly recommend Blueprint Your Book for anyone who wants to take their book project to the next level.”


COd7gSRUAAgXbxkAlex Gurevich, author:

“I always love Minal’s input. She is prompt and diligent in her critique and advice. Her particular gift is being constructive and positive. She can be both exacting and encouraging with her critique.

Writing from the Chakras  helped me a lot to deal with certain writing blocks and deepen my ability to write intense and vivid scenes. Surprisingly, virtually every exercise I did for the weekly assignments ended up directly incorporated into the novel I was working on. In certain cases it allowed me to expand the plot by by finding more complexity within certain characters. Most importantly, it helped to improve my writing flow and become more productive.

I took the class Blueprint Your Book at a perfect juncture. I had a build-up of raw material, episodes, and ideas for a project I hoped to turn into a novel. The exacting exercises in that class requiring to build structure, timeline, and character tables, provided me with a matrix for the novel. During the NaNoWriMo that followed, I was able to write the bulk of the text. In the subsequent months, as I was editing and adding material, I kept referring to the tables created during this class. It saved a lot of time and discrepancies. Without this class I doubt that I would have been able to create such a precise structure.

I think there are three very good reasons to take Minal’s classes:
• To get introduced to new approaches to writing.

• To get excellent critique from your teacher and peers.

• To get energized with your project and overcome procrastination.


Guest lectures & campus visits


V.V. Ganeshananthan V.V. (Sugi) Ganeshananthan, novelist; Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor:

“Minal did a fabulous job with my students. She led them through writing exercises, had them freewrite, and encouraged them to share their work, while also generously sharing her own. Her dynamic, rigorous, and caring presence in the classroom really got my class going — several weeks after her visit, we’re still reaping the benefits!”


Faculty member/organizer, Saint Mary’s College of California:

“Listening to her, the entire auditorium was spellbound.”


Faculty member/organizer, University of Rhode Island:

“Minal’s visit was a tremendous success, the most impressive of several guest speakers visiting the seminar.”


L-bracket-greenR-bracket-greenWant to be as happy as these beautiful people, and the hundreds of writers I’ve taught over the years? Check out my private coaching, manuscript massage, and courses, or email me with a bit about your needs. Unicorn helpers are standing by!