On Deck Writer Fellowship

Community, accountability, and growth for the internet’s best writers.

Apply Now

Application deadline: December 27, 2020
Kickoff: January 16, 2021

Eight-week, fully remote Fellowship + ongoing peer community

Bloggers, essayists, and newsletter writers are micro-entrepreneurs: beyond producing great writing, they have to find their niche, market to readers, and progress towards their goals, whether generating revenue, building an audience, or just honing their craft. Expert support and peer accountability are key to starting or growing a regular writing practice.

ODW will help cohorts of 100–150 writers with editing, growth tactics, and accountability. Through ODW, find your way towards having a successful writing practice, and plug into an ongoing community of creative, collaborative peers.

Apply Now
Our first cohort featured special guests such as…

Tyler Cowen

Marginal Revolution

Polina Marinova

The Profile

Nadia Eghbal

Substack

Kmele Foster

Freethink

Byrne Hobart

The Diff

Thomas Chatterton Williams

NYT Mag

Katherine Boyle

General Catalyst

Robert Cottrell

The Browser

. . .

Joining us for our first cohort...

Just a few of the phenomenal participants in ODW1
Cofounder, Bleacher Report
Managing Editor, Works in Progress
CEO Gumroad; Angel Investor
Poet & Writer: Editor at Scalawag Magazine
Senior Security Engineer, Netflix
Partner, Susa Ventures
Co-Founder, Token Daily/Volt
Managing Partner, Worklife Ventures
See More +

Deon Nicholas

Founder/CEO, Forethought

Li Jin

Angel Investor & Creator

Dare Olonoh

VP of Sales, Salesforce

Jesse Genet

Founder/CEO Lumi

JD Ross

Co-founder, Opendoor

Elizabeth Weil

Angel Investor

Julia DeWahl

Angel Investor | GM, Opendoor

Ryan Hudson

Co-Founder, Honey

Dan Romero

VP, Coinbase

Jonathan Swanson

Co-founder, Thumbtack

Soona Amhaz

Co-founder, Token Daily

Santiago Suarez

Founder/CEO, Addi

Aadil Mamujee

VP product, Automattic

Celine Halioua

Co-founder and CEO, Celevity

Sheel Mohnot

Angel Investor

Neil Parikh

Co-Founder, Casper

Josh Elman

VP Product, Robinhood. Formerly Greylock

Megan O'Connor

Founder, Hi Clark

Ryan Petersen

Founder/CEO, Flexport

The Program

The best way to become a better writer is through consistent, structured practice. That’s why writing workshops make up the core of the ODW Fellowship. Your cohort will be divided into small groups who meet once a week for peer editing and live feedback alongside one of our expert facilitators.

"As someone who’s more introverted, I loved the writing workshops because they're smaller groups, so it was easier for me to give and receive feedback. I also realized how valuable it is do live peer editing because it’s a lot easier to provide your reasoning and communicate nuances from your piece. I saw huge improvements in my drafts after these sessions, and made new friends as well!”
—Alexander Hugh Sam, ODW1 Fellow

You can also expect...

  • Regular office hours from our partners at Substack on newsletter best practices.
  • Deep-dive sessions focused on finding your niche, growing your audience, figuring out a revenue model, and more.
  • Fireside chats with some of the world's best essayists and newsletter writers.
  • Peer editing and feedback, plus 1:1 editing support with the ODW team.
  • Full access to our Writer’s Library: a carefully curated resource with copious literature on writing mechanics, distribution & growth, brand definition, and accountability & productivity.
  • Peer accountability groups and built-in structures to keep you writing!

Apply for the On Deck Writer Fellowship

ODW2 kicks off January 16, 2021.

Special early-bird pricing: $1,990

Apply Now

Access to the On Deck Founder Fellowship

The On Deck Founder Fellowship (ODF) is a 10-week program that creates an incredible community around a cohort of experienced founders & talented individuals in the formative stages of starting a company.

As an On Deck Writer Fellow, you’ll have complete access to the rest of the On Deck Fellowship, full of world-class startup experts who can help you with marketing, growth, and connecting with leaders in your subject matter.

Want to learn more about ODF? 👉Read the ODF5 Announcement Post

What You'll Learn

Honing Your Craft

Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and learn how to double down and what makes your writing uniquely you.

Developing a Writing Practice

Understand the techniques and habits that successful writers adopt to make writing a regular part of their life.

Finding Your Niche

Discover what you're distinctly suited to tell the world about.

Growing Your Audience

Get your first 100 readers, or your next 100,000, by studying what's worked for other writers.

Revenue Models and Other Goals

Make money from your work through forms like the paid newsletter. Or, pursue other goals like establishing expertise in your field.

Platforms & Technology

Identify the right technology stack for your newsletter or blog, and other affiliated components like landing pages and subscription services.

In partnership with Substack

We are excited to be partnering with Substack to co-deliver elements of the On Deck Writer Fellowship curriculum.

What people are saying...

Apply for the On Deck Writer Fellowship

ODW2 kicks off January 16, 2021.

Special early-bird pricing: $1,990

Apply Now

FAQ

Who should apply?

To be a good fit for ODW, you are probably:

  • A strong and enthusiastic writer with some form of past work to point to, whether that’s a published piece, an existing newsletter or blog, some copywriting you did for a job, or even just a short story you wrote when you were fourteen.
  • At least a little bit entrepreneurial, with an independent spirit.
  • Eager to be an active participant in a growing community, as much of the value of On Deck comes from the network and peer-to-peer connections.

You do not need to have an existing blog or newsletter to apply to the Fellowship. ODW is for writers who want to start building an audience as well as grow an existing one.

What does it cost?

Joining the On Deck Writer Fellowship is $1,990.

We're currently offering this as special early-bird pricing—it'll rise in the coming months, so apply now!

Are there scholarships or financing options available?

Our goal is to make the Fellowship accessible to the absolute best talent, no matter their financial situation.

All Fellows have the option to pay in four monthly installments (with no interest or additional charges). We also have a limited number of scholarships available thanks to our Access Fund. Information about scholarship applications will be provided to accepted Fellows closer to the kickoff date.

What is the time commitment? 

Between attending your workshops and giving peer feedback, you should expect your writing workshop to take up around three to four hours a week.

Beyond workshops, ODW is a choose-your-own-adventure buffet. You get out what you put in: often, the biggest contributors are also the biggest beneficiaries.

Depending on your schedule and interests, you could choose to:

  • Attend everything and “gorge” yourself on knowledge until you explode
  • Tune in at your leisure to attend sessions that interest you
  • Or just search the directory and connect with interesting people one-on-one

Most ODW Fellows have full-time jobs, so our programming is designed with that in mind.

Do I have to write about tech, business, or any other specific topic?

Absolutely not! Our Fellows write about a diverse list of topics. ODW1 features writers focused on technology, history, philosophy, science, international relations, arts and literature, religion, personal stories, and even fiction.

Is this a fully remote program? 

Yes: ODW will be run entirely remotely. This enables participation from all corners of the world. We’ve spent the past two ODF cohorts mastering the playbook for building remote communities and relationship building online, and will apply the same approach here.

Post-COVID, we’ll return to organizing offline programming like dinners, small gatherings, and retreats, but the core Fellowship will remain a remote-first experience.

Can I participate from anywhere in the world?

You can! The sun never sets on ODW1: roughly 30% of current Fellows are from countries other than the U.S.

We offer a wide range of scheduling options for writing workshops so that you can find a time that works for you, wherever you are. Our other live programming mostly happens on U.S. Eastern hours, but is all recorded and made available later in case you can’t attend live.

There are also many opportunities for asynchronous editing, learning, and socializing through our Slack community.

What are the demographics of the Fellowship?

We’re aiming to build a cohort that is diverse across race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, national origin, professional background, age, viewpoint, and subject matter—you name it!

We don’t yet have specific demographics for ODW, but we released a demographic breakdown for ODF4 that can serve as a useful comparison.

What are the Guiding Values of On Deck?

On Deck lives by four core guiding values, crucial to the culture we strive to foster in the community:

  • Service: On Deck is bigger than any one person. For this community to thrive, it must be driven by a spirit of service to others. Be generous with your time, knowledge, and support. Karma has a way of finding its way back.
  • Sacredness: By default, everything is off the record. Many in this group are searching for something deeper in their lives or making big transitions, and others may not yet have publicly shared this with friends, family, or employers. Please honor that, and avoid sharing anything you learn about each other without explicit permission.
  • Respect: You are all now part of the On Deck family. You’re all embarking on what will surely be a rollercoaster of a journey — but you’re in this shared experience together. With that comes a sense of responsibility: be inclusive, stick together, and respect one another.
  • Gratitude: have a spirit of curiosity and gratitude. We’re bringing together a group of fascinating people, most of whom likely have never met each other…how amazing is that? Get to know each other, and make the cohort what you want it to be for yourself.
Did we miss your question? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the goal of the On Deck Angel Fellowship?

But helping founders is just half of the equation. If a startup chooses to raise capital, who they raise from can have an incredible impact on its trajectory in the early days. 

Founders love raising from other founders and experienced operators. They’ve been there before, have great advice, networks, and know their markets better than anyone else. If we’re trying to 10x the number of world-class founders, it stands to reason we should help grow the number of top investors who will back them early, as well.

  • Sacredness: By default, everything is off the record. Many in this group are searching for something deeper in their lives or making big transitions, and others may not yet have publicly shared this with friends, family, or employers. Please honor that, and avoid sharing anything you learn about each other without explicit permission.
  • Respect: You are all now part of the On Deck family. You’re all embarking on what will surely be a rollercoaster of a journey — but you’re in this shared experience together. With that comes a sense of responsibility: be inclusive, stick together, and respect one another.
  • Gratitude: have a spirit of curiosity and gratitude. We’re bringing together 200 fascinating people, most of whom likely have never met each other…how amazing is that? Get to know each other, and make the cohort what you want it to be for yourself.
Do I have to be an accredited investor?

On Deck lives by four core guiding values, crucial to the culture we strive to foster in the community:

  • Service: On Deck is bigger than any one person. For this community to thrive, it must be driven by a spirit of service to others. Be generous with your time, knowledge, and support. Karma has a way of finding its way back.
  • Sacredness: By default, everything is off the record. Many in this group are searching for something deeper in their lives or making big transitions, and others may not yet have publicly shared this with friends, family, or employers. Please honor that, and avoid sharing anything you learn about each other without explicit permission.
  • Respect: You are all now part of the On Deck family. You’re all embarking on what will surely be a rollercoaster of a journey — but you’re in this shared experience together. With that comes a sense of responsibility: be inclusive, stick together, and respect one another.
  • Gratitude: have a spirit of curiosity and gratitude. We’re bringing together 200 fascinating people, most of whom likely have never met each other…how amazing is that? Get to know each other, and make the cohort what you want it to be for yourself.
Will I get deal flow from this?

On Deck lives by four core guiding values, crucial to the culture we strive to foster in the community:

  • Service: On Deck is bigger than any one person. For this community to thrive, it must be driven by a spirit of service to others. Be generous with your time, knowledge, and support. Karma has a way of finding its way back.
  • Sacredness: By default, everything is off the record. Many in this group are searching for something deeper in their lives or making big transitions, and others may not yet have publicly shared this with friends, family, or employers. Please honor that, and avoid sharing anything you learn about each other without explicit permission.
  • Respect: You are all now part of the On Deck family. You’re all embarking on what will surely be a rollercoaster of a journey — but you’re in this shared experience together. With that comes a sense of responsibility: be inclusive, stick together, and respect one another.
  • Gratitude: have a spirit of curiosity and gratitude. We’re bringing together 200 fascinating people, most of whom likely have never met each other…how amazing is that? Get to know each other, and make the cohort what you want it to be for yourself.
How much does it cost?

On Deck lives by four core guiding values, crucial to the culture we strive to foster in the community:

  • Service: On Deck is bigger than any one person. For this community to thrive, it must be driven by a spirit of service to others. Be generous with your time, knowledge, and support. Karma has a way of finding its way back.
  • Sacredness: By default, everything is off the record. Many in this group are searching for something deeper in their lives or making big transitions, and others may not yet have publicly shared this with friends, family, or employers. Please honor that, and avoid sharing anything you learn about each other without explicit permission.
  • Respect: You are all now part of the On Deck family. You’re all embarking on what will surely be a rollercoaster of a journey — but you’re in this shared experience together. With that comes a sense of responsibility: be inclusive, stick together, and respect one another.
  • Gratitude: have a spirit of curiosity and gratitude. We’re bringing together 200 fascinating people, most of whom likely have never met each other…how amazing is that? Get to know each other, and make the cohort what you want it to be for yourself.
Did we miss your question? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap.