Writing Mentor: Unlock Your Writing Potential with Kathryn Aalto’s Expert Mentorship

 “Colleagues are a wonderful thing. But mentors, that’s where the real work gets done.” — Junot Diaz


Discover the art of storytelling with Kathryn Aalto, a seasoned writing mentor. Working with Kathryn with elevate your writing skills through personalized guidance and transformative mentorship.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is the process of guiding another person to support their personal and/or professional development. Through their experience and perspective, mentors pass wisdom onto their mentees to help them grow and to fulfil their potential. Exceptional mentors lead by example and lift their mentees by giving them the knowledge and tools they need to succeed.

What is my speciality?

From page to stage, my mentees benefit from my specialism in both narrative nonfiction and narrative performance. I bring my experience as New York Times bestselling writer to my narrative nonfiction mentoring. I also bring my extensive public speaking background to entrepreneurs seeking to transform presentations through the power of storytelling. (See Mentoring for Leaders and Entrepreneurs.) The mentees I work with share a desire to learn, a drive for excellence, and a determination to be their best selves.

What do writers gain from a mentor?

Mentoring is custom and bespoke depending on your needs, which emerge during our first discovery conversation. If you need a publishing mentor — writing query letters, developing a book proposal, growing your author platform — that can be our focus. If you need to develop your narrative nonfiction — voice, narrative presence, scenes, dialogue, characterisation, sense of place, research — that can also be our focus. If you need to create a more intentional writing practice — developing a productive writing practice, growing in confidence — that can be our focus as well. Often mentoring is a hybrid of mentoring/coaching/teaching and should not be confused with therapy, which requires specific training in psychology. I bring my skills as an expert in narrative nonfiction. I use a mind-body-spirit approach as writing is a multi-dimensional endeavour. This approach helps people grow with practical writing skills, attention to cultivating an intentional writing practice, and remembering the joyful aspects of the creative process. I work with people around the world on writing query letters, book proposals, essays and essay collections, narrative nonfiction manuscripts, long-form journalism, and prose poetry as well as public speaking, book tours, and more.

How do mentoring sessions work?

First, write to me at kathryn@kathrynaalto.com to discuss your project and aims. You may also book a free consultation in the one-to-one section of my shop to meet me. Each mentoring session includes feedback on up to 20 pages of writing plus a one-hour discussion on Zoom. Sometimes what is needed is talking and active listening. Meetings are upbeat and enjoyable — a mix of listening and learning.

What is the tuition? 

Eight private sessions – £1500. If you need four sessions, please contact Kathryn. Payment plans are also available.


“You know the saying. ‘When the student is ready, the teacher appears…’ After a 20 year creative hiatus to raise my daughter, I was ready to get back to writing but floundering. A Google search for a writing retreat brought me to Kathryn’s site and I had found my teacher. A year later, I have published my first essay and written the draft of a novel. In class and one-to-one mentoring, Kathryn taught me the elements of effective writing, introduced me to a treasure trove of writers who use those elements so beautifully, and helped me find and develop my unique writing voice. She also connected me to a community of writers where I have made lifetime friends. The rest of the saying goes: ‘When the student is truly ready, the teacher disappears.’ I have a feeling I will be studying with Katy for a while yet as she has so much to give.” — Francesca, New Hampshire

“Kathryn has an uncanny ability to understand who you are and where you want to go as a writer and unlock your potential step-by-step with patience, respect, and eloquence. She is a creative, fun, and resourceful teacher and artist who won’t hold back from you her insights into the inner workings of the publishing world. She’s a gem of a mentor.” — Onur, Washington, D. C.

“Kathryn is an exceptional teacher. As a best-selling author, she knows the publishing industry first-hand. And she is highly adept at refining one’s technical skills without stifling a writer’s voice. Without her mentoring, I would be stumbling along in the dark along my path to publication. Her guidance, support, and knowledge are game changers.” — Lise, Los Angeles, California

“Kathryn was a fabulous mentor at a time when I needed it the most. I was working on the manuscript of my first nonfiction book, and Kathryn had recently finished Writing Wild, which has a similar structure to mine. She provided wonderful advice about how to balance different chapters, how to better tell a story, and always reminded me to be specific rather than vague. Kathryn gave me courage to pursue interviews with higher profile people than I would have otherwise approached, and boosted my confidence as a writer. Our weekly call gave me goals, a schedule, and kept me accountable in my writing process. Because of Kathryn, I had a clearer sense of what makes a full-length nonfiction book work and how to get there. Working with her while I was in the final stages of my manuscript dramatically improved my final product and gave me skills that I will carry with me for my writing career.”-McKenzie Long, California, This Contested Land (University of Minnesota Press)


My teaching and mentoring philosophy is holistic and personal, focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. Mentoring is about responding to each student, whether they are emerging writers or writing beyond the level of content mastery. I create a supportive and bespoke learning environment that fosters creative expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth while moving toward publication, if desired.


I am a passionate practitioner and teacher of narrative nonfiction.  For more than twenty-five years, I have taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University. I have a global mentoring practice, thriving online writing courses, and lead in-person retreats, courses, and workshops throughout the United States and Britain. I have helped dozens of writers to publication in book-length form, essays, and more.

Contact kathryn@kathrynaalto.com for a free consultation to discuss.