Is writing holding you back when you’re trying to get ahead? Do you struggle with structure every time you write? Does writing sometimes make you want to quit? I guide writers through the development of their work — from academic writing to fiction, from application essays and test essays to plays. I have a subspecialty in working with individuals with disabilities, including executive functioning disorders (such as ADHD), learning disabilities, and anxiety disorders; my unique process-based coaching system supports all writers of all ages and skill levels, from high school students to doctoral candidates, by focusing on the individual’s specific writing process. I conduct in-person coaching sessions in the Central New York area; for those farther-flung, I am happy to arrange virtual sessions.
In addition, I am a teacher of writing, working in Syracuse, New York City, and virtually. I work with middle school students, teenagers, college students, and adults.
Writing Coach Experience
- GemmaCooperNovack.com, Boston, MA and Syracuse, NY (2011–present)
- Harvard Graduate School of Education, Disabilities Services, Cambridge, MA (2009–2014)
- Boston Teacher Residency, Boston, MA (2013–2014)
Writing Teaching Experience
- Guest Writing Instructor, Robert Louis Stevenson School, New York, NY (2023)
- Writing Instructor, Downtown Writer’s Center at the YMCA/Young Authors Academy/Speaking Out, Syracuse, NY (2017-present)
- Program Coordinator, Narratio Fellowship, Syracuse, NY (2019-2022)
- Writing Instructor, Brookline Adult and Community Education, Brookline, MA (2014–2016)
- Writing Rights Instructor, Dudley Promise Corps, Boston Plan for Excellence, Boston, MA (2013–2014)
- Adult Education Instructor, Truman College/Association House of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2007–2008)
Theater/Arts Teaching Experience
- Teaching Artist, North Side Learning Center, Syracuse, NY (2018–2019)
- Teaching Artist, Gardner Pilot Academy, Allston, MA (2011–2015)
- Guest Teaching Artist, The Theater Offensive, Boston, MA (2013)
- Teaching Artist, Chelsea Community Schools, Chelsea, MA (2012–2013)
- Founding Program Director, Theater and Performance Club, Ghana Literacy Project, Pokuase, Ghana (2008–2009)
- Guest Theater Instructor, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY (2008)
- Purim Play Director, Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago, IL (2005–2008)
- Teaching Artist, Playmakers Laboratory Theater, Chicago, IL (2004–2007)
- Playmaking & Performance Instructor, After School Matters at Michele Clark High School, Chicago, IL (2004–2006)
- Jeff Metcalf Fellow, Arts Initiatives, United Neighborhood Houses of New York, New York, NY (2003)
"Gemma's goal with my son was to develop a habit of mind with regard to essay writing and develop a strategy for outlining his argument and choosing relevant quotes in the text. My son said she asked really good questions and made him 'dig deep' to think about the text as it relates to the prompt."
mother of 10th-grader
Thank you for the impact you have made in my education.
Gemma's class, "Writing Longer Fiction," helped me access a deeper, conscious connection with my developing form as a writer. I continued working with her as a coach when the class structure ended. She recognizes where research is needed to strengthen familiarity or broaden perspective. Gemma hears the voice of the project clearly and knows the questions to ask to help its form stay true to its evolution. I have found her guidance invaluable and it continues to be a fascinating unfolding for me.
writer & massage therapist
Gemma, I like you because you taught me more lessons to write.
student, age 8
I had been working with a rather flat plot [for my musical], and Gemma pushed me to heighten the tension by creating greater differences between the characters and by stretching me out of my comfortable material, all while keeping me feeling comfortably in control of my own story. The amazing part? I had my plot and relationships straightened out with heightened stakes and character development, to my excitement and delight, all within two sessions. … [W]ith Gemma's coaching, I will be on my way to digging into writing — a place I had been struggling to get to for over a year. Thank you, Gemma!
Get in Touch
Contact me to collaborate on writing, editing, education, and theater!