"There is a general expectation that writing fellowships are very tactical. Those things are valuable, but the humanity of On Deck is what has supported me in my writing life moving forward."
Michael is a Dallas-born, NYC-based reporter and the founder of The Supercreator, a digital publication about the people, companies, products and trends shaping how creative professionals work and live in the new economy.
Before launching The Supercreator, he was a fashion editor and style columnist at a defunct Condé Nast magazine called Lucky. And before that, a corporate trainer and e-commerce writer.
He joined ODW with the goal to grow his digital publication to 300+ subscribers.
How he describes On Deck Writers (ODW):
It levels you up from where you started. If you’re an amateur, you learn how to be a pro. If you’re a pro, you learn how to be a master. By yourself, it might take you 6 months to start a newsletter, at ODW it takes you six hours. It’s an accelerator for growth.
Why Michael applied for ODW:
I’m a journalist. I studied journalism in college and have worked for many media platforms over the years. One thing I love about the media industry is the collaboration, camaraderie, and joy of being part of a part of a team. I also love working by myself, which suits my introverted nature.
ODW gave me the opportunity to merge both of those worlds. I still got to focus on my own writing and move at my own pace, but I also got to join a community of people who all spoke the same language.
A lot of people look at the artistry of writing and not the discipline of writing. It’s really a practice. The most successful writers are the ones who are consistent and have a regular practice. OnDeck gave me the opportunity to have accountability. I joined with the expectation that there would be writers who spoke my same language, and it ended up being exactly what I was looking for.
The impact ODW has had on his life:
The fellowship affirmed the things people had been telling me most of my life. I went into the experience not knowing anyone and hearing incredibly supportive and affirming things from people who had never met me in person before (as opposed to getting affirmative support from family and friends). Every step of the way, there was support and affirmation. It helped me flex my confidence muscle and also accept feedback that was positive. That was new for me.
I’m always ready for the critic and the person who wants to fight about my work. So, generous affirmation was new ground for me. There is a general expectation that writing fellowships are very tactical. Those things are valuable, but the humanity of On Deck is what will support me the most in my writing life moving forward.
His favorite ODW session:
The sensory writing workshop really surprised me. I was shocked by how much sensory writing could elevate my craft as a whole. Listening to the session leader explain techniques I’ve never heard anyone else bring to the table was such a breath of fresh air.
What Michael got that he wasn’t expecting:
The global aspect of ODW was unexpected and appreciated. We talk a lot about racial diversity and one of the things that I found most valuable was that there was an international representation within the fellowship. It helped to put things in perspective and helped me more clearly see that humanity is all the same. We’re all trying to do the best we can with what we have. I’m a part of a lot of communities and this was the first time I felt like I was really a part of an international experience.
Advice for incoming fellows:
Do the things that scare you the most for eight weeks. You have a team to lean on. You have expert facilitators and a built in support network.
It’s the perfect time to do the thing that scares you. It’s the perfect time to go big and take risks.
Also, ask questions. Some of the guest speakers are the busiest people in the industry, and we have them for hours at a time. It’s such a unique opportunity to engage with people who might feel inaccessible otherwise.
"The level of helpfulness from founders who are further along than you and lived through the challenges you’re facing was above and beyond 99% of what I’ve found in other places."