COACHING

My grandmother, Fannie Brafman Bloom, was one of the first kosher caterers in Milwaukee. I’m a decent baker, a fair cook, and I don’t garnish well, but like my grandmother, I love to be a part of big moments in people’s lives—weddings, b’nai mitzvah, transitions to college, you name it. These moments typically demand the kind of autobiographical writing that makes people break out in hives. Given the high stakes and higher levels of adrenaline, a blank computer screen can freeze up even the sharpest of wordsmiths.

Whether my clients are writing online dating profiles, corporate speeches, fiction, or college essays, my process is the same. I first ask them to put away their keyboards and breathe. Then we talk. I rely on my interviewing and workshop facilitation skills to help my writers hear their voices and transform their ideas into narratives.  Plus, we have fun.

Services

  • College Essay Workshops: For the past fifteen years, I’ve been teaching creative writing courses and working individually with teens on their essays. I’ve found that most college applicants assume that they must dazzle admissions officers with tales of climbing Mt. Everest, escaping a near death experience, or inventing the Post-it note. Not so! The best essays work because they showcase the student’s voice. Three summers ago, I launched a college essay workshop and discovered that a rigorous and supportive environment helped kids find and tune their narrative voices and cull their life experiences for defining moments, big and small. By the end of each session, students will have completed a draft of a Common App essay, jump-started the entire application, and strengthened their writing skills. Here is a link to a piece I wrote for Your Teen for Parents that further explains my approach to helping kids write their essays.
  • Autobiographical Writing: toasts, eulogies, tributes, dedications, personal statements, and b’nai mitzvah speeches for parents (not d’var torahs).
  • One-on-One Coaching: I work with professionals and fiction and essay writers who suffer from creative blocks or would like to improve their overall writing.

For more information about rates or availability, contact: Email


Testimonials

Michelle Brafman’s essay writing workshop is a MUST.  Working with Michelle, my kids produced interesting, authentic college essays in their own voice. Michelle is a wonderful teacher and editor and the improvement in their writing skills is evident. My kids are big fans of hers! -Parent

An admissions officer actually wrote my daughter a note to compliment her on the quality of her essay. When does that happen? – Parent

I truly feel like we stumbled upon the best kept secret in the Washington area.  There is no doubt that our daughter left Michelle’s essay workshop a much better writer. – Parent

Michelle is an incredibly thoughtful close reader. Her editing was excellent. As importantly she was able to come up with multiple ideas to tell our child’s story in a way that was interesting and compelling. We would highly recommend her! – Parent

My daughter came home from Michelle’s workshop excited to write her essay. She really knows how to draw out the kids. – Parent

My son tapped into something inside, and found a way to express things about himself he hadn’t truly understood before. The workshop was a wonderful experience for him. – Parent

Michelle Brafman has been giving me guidance on writing personal speeches for important family events for several years including a 40th birthday party and two b’nai mitzvah celebrations for my children. She gets to know what the subject means to you and guides you to finding a creative, descriptive and clear way to write it and say it. Michelle gives just enough but not too much feedback, and gives you the confidence that you can write. — Client

Whenever I have to deliver a speech or presentation, Michelle is my go-to. Her magical way of transforming my scattered thoughts into a cohesive, engaging, clever talk is amazing. — Client

Michelle skillfully helped my kids with their college application essays. Always respecting their ideas and writing styles, and posing the right questions challenging them to give their best. — Parent

My essay students have been accepted by the following schools (partial list):

Brown University

Bryn Mawr College

University of California – Santa Cruz

University of Chicago

Carleton College

Clark College

Colorado College

Connecticut College

Dickinson College

University of Colorado Boulder

Cornell University

Denison University

Duke University

Harvard University

Indiana University

Ithaca College

Loyola Marymount University – Los Angeles

Macalester College

Northwestern University

University of Maryland (Honors Program)

University of Michigan

Muhlenberg College

U.S. Naval Academy

Tulane University

Trinity

University of Pittsburgh

Pitzer College

University of Rochester

Skidmore College

Scripps College

Vassar College

University of Vermont

University of Virginia

Washington University in St. Louis

Wooster College

Yale University

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Williams College