Learn more about Liftoff
Most frequent questions and answers
Our students are a mix of new and experienced writers. We have students coming in with well-established sites, and students who have never published a word online.
When you’re new to writing, one of the hardest parts can be building your routine and writing infrastructure. This is what you’ll learn in Liftoff. That consists of your website, your “Start Here” page, and your email newsletter. Once you enroll in the course, you’ll have access to the Initiation Workshop materials, which includes instructions for setting these up.
The course focuses on the entire writing process, from how to best consume and capture information, putting that into clear writing, gathering feedback from peers, to sharing your ideas online. If your student’s goal is to build a consistent and sustainable writing habit for a live audience then your student will accomplish this in this course.
Throughout the course, your student will also develop their own internet serendipity or Personal Monopoly, which is your unique combination of skills, ideas, and interests where your student’s passions come to life through writing. They’ll learn the mechanics of writing, and also how to harness the power of the internet.
Liftoff is about more than just the curriculum. Each cohort has a diverse range of students from around the world. They are a smart, curious, and enthusiastic group. They’ll meet people in breakout rooms and their feedback group from diverse backgrounds (recent students hailed from India, Ireland, Greece, Malaysia). We’re building a virtual coffee shop for writers around the world on your student’s same wavelength.
Liftoff appeals to talented and committed students with lofty ambitions. This program is nothing like the school environment you’re used to. Traditional high schools teach to the lowest common denominator and put a ceiling on students’ potential. There are tens of thousands of high schoolers who are ambitious and obsessed with a topic, but don’t yet know how to channel that passion. Once they’re writing consistently, we’ll help them build their own websites where they can showcase their best ideas. Instead of just drill and kill syntax and grammar, we’ll ensure quality by giving professional feedback for every piece and insisting on our stamp of approval before it gets published. Instead of writing formulaic five-paragraph essays about a novel they don’t care to read*,* they’ll get to write about their favorite topics with fiery intensity.
We hire differently than schools too. Instead of hiring traditional teachers, we hire professionals in their field. They work with kids to define their goals, make them more ambitious, and develop a plan to achieve them by writing online. We’ve hired internet savvy instructors who have a track record of success in creating their own internet serendipity with a proven passion for writing and education.
Generally speaking, Liftoff takes a holistic approach to writing and eschews precise tips & tricks. We are not a BuzzFeed top ten tips, tricks, and hacks approach to writing. We’re new-school, not old-school. We focus on quality ideas, writing, and the potential you experience from exploring the two.
In the Internet world, skills are credentials. Our students are writing online and growing their audiences. That’s the true test of Liftoff – can you write consistently, share great ideas, and find people who want to read your work. Growing an online audience is the real credential.
Note: Write of Passage Liftoff is not an accredited course. You will not receive a diploma or certificate which can be applied to your institution, but certainly could use this as leverage for building a college resume.
This is true for many who join. One of the first things students’ learn is to write from abundance, write from conversation, and write in public. Through these practices, students realize just how much they already know.
No worries about imposter syndrome or its sister: perfectionism. Writing is a journey. One thing is for sure, the longer your student writes, the more they’ll understand what they gravitate toward.
A major theme of the class is developing internet serendipity, known by Personal Monopoly in our flagship course, which is the concept of developing a unique combination of skills, ideas, and interests. They’ll work on this question throughout the course, through their writing, in-class exercises, and group discussions.
That said, there’s no pressure to fully define this instantly. Personal Monopoly emerges as one continues to write consistently for weeks, months, and beyond, and Liftoff will provide the landing page to start this launch.
Join the party. This takes time. Writing helps. Your student will work with coaches and other students to define and refine their goals and think through writing, which in turn will bring their Personal Monopoly into clearer focus. Patterns will emerge, and connections will form helping to create their own internet serendipity.
You can write using a pseudonym, absolutely. In each cohort, a number of students create an anonymous website and publish under another name. This is a surprisingly popular option for Write of Passage students.
One of our most prominent past students and mentors, Kate, has been building an audience under a pseudonym for over a year. We’ll discuss using a pseudonym in the course, and a few mentors focus on this topic in particular.
While Kate maintains her pseudonym, others may use a name for a year or two while they refine their voice, then transition back to their given name. It’s a personal decision.
For more information, check out some of what David has written on the topic, here.
Writing can be a hobby, and writing can change your life. What we do in Liftoff straddles both. Writing can be used as the foundation for anything you do in life. Whatever your student’s passion or hobby, be it a photographer, football player, or coder we use these hobbies to fuel your student’s spikey point of view for writing. Writing well, clarifying your thoughts, and communicating effectively will help in EVERY situation. Guaranteed.
Smart people read, and successful people read more. Be the writing that they read. All forms of video and audio start as a script. Master your language, master your mind.
The best students show up. That means showing up to sessions (live and/or brain dates and mentor sessions), submitting your article drafts, and publishing each week. Everyone joins Liftoff to make a change, and you can’t change anything if you don’t show up.
It’s common to feel that way when everyone around you is writing (in the course, let’s say). Think of the world. Now think of the program. That’s a relatively tiny sample size in comparison. The people your child surrounds themselves with often have similar interests, therefore they have the illusion that everyone is like that. They’re not. Online writing is still a very small subset of the Internet. Is it growing? Yes. Still, isn’t it our duty to add quality to the clutter and drown out the noise of click bait and mass-market churn? If we stay quiet, we just get more poor writing. In Liftoff, students have the opportunity to put good quality ideas in the world.
The time commitment varies. The program is designed to meet students where they’re at—if they are busy with with life, there’s a “minimum viable path” to give you the most possible value.
At a minimum, expect 4-7 hours a week on the course. Two hours of class per week to attend the live sessions (or watch the recordings, if you can’t attend). Expect to spend an additional hour or two writing a weekly piece, editing, and revising.
If they have the time, students can dive in much deeper—as deep as they want. They’ll find optional weekly brain date or mentor sessions you can attend, for one hour each. They may spend more time writing and revising your articles, exchanging feedback with other students, or talking with students on our program forum, Circle. We’ve had past students spend 8-10 hours/week on the course because they want to.
We’ve built the program to be as simple as two live sessions a week or as expansive as your heart desires. Students pick their level of engagement. We offer the system and support to build a writing habit that is not only consistent but also sustainable, during and after the course.
That said, if you believe it will be difficult to write 1 essay per week and watch any of the live recordings, we would recommend waiting until your student has more time to dedicate. This is an intense, community-driven program and we want to make sure you get the value you expect and your student deserves.
- Live Sessions: Tuesdays and Thursdays. If your student can’t make these, they’re recorded. While we encourage your student to join, there are an abundance of opportunities for involvement in other areas.
- Live Brain Dates: Once a week for a total of 12 opportunities. They are super fun and effective for students who want a supportive community where they feel comfortable expressing themselves. We want students to find people on their same wavelength, and our diverse international community platform is here to help students not feel like they are on isolation island.
- Writing and Feedback Gyms: Once-a-week supplementary workshops for silent writing (in a Zoom group) and 1:1 feedback with peers and trained editors.
Writing and Feedback:
- Article prompts are given each Tuesday.
- You write on your time.
- You can join Writing and Feedback Gyms if your schedule allows.
- Submit your draft for feedback over the weekend.
- Edit and publish on the following Tuesday.
- Repeat 11 times.
Everything is optional. Of course, the more you participate, the more rewards you’ll reap.
If you get stuck, we have tons of support to get you over the hump—mentors, trained editors, peers, community, etc.
Not to worry. Liftoff is more like a festival than a concert. There is the main act – yes – but there are various different sessions, experiences and opportunities at your disposal during the program.
Each cohort we have dozens of students join who watch the live session recordings separately – either because of time difference or time constraints – and get a ton of value out of the course. Here’s how:
- As you read in the previous answer, all session recordings are available to watch within 12 hours. Those will include a short recap of the session, highlights of the session, top chat comments, notable moments, and a screenshot – giving those who can’t attend a sense of how the session felt.
- On top of that, we’ll have Brain Dates, writing gyms and feedback gyms at convenient times for Global students.
So as you can see – there’s a ton of activity going on aside from the live sessions!