Q&A with Motherwell on Editorial Services & Success

Lauren Apfel and Randi Olin shared experience as respected writers, editors, and mothers, along with a clear vision for a site to offer evocative, provocative, insightful essays on all aspects of the parenting experience. Together, they co-founded Motherwell Magazine.  

Currently less than two years online, Motherwell has become a space of collective voices, all contributing to the understanding of the vast world of parenting, with new ways of thinking about how to raise our children. It is a place for parents to gather and examine the many facets and perspectives of parenthood, characterized by an unassailable emphasis on top-quality writing. Editorial Services are also available to the Motherwell community, with editors focused on the mechanics of writing along with storytelling.

We caught up with founders Apfel and Olin to gather a little insight on the success and strategies behind the site.


SW: How did you go about building a content site, with this level of content, from the ground up?

MM: When we started Motherwell, we were already part of a vibrant, talented community of writers. We had a solid reputation as writers and editors ourselves, and it was natural for many people to follow us into our next project. We built Motherwell from scratch, just the two of us; we take pride in every detail of our site, aesthetically and substantively. 


SW: What types of writers retain you for editorial services?

MM: We mainly attract personal essay writers, people who have a first-person story to tell in all its complexity. We also work on larger projects such as non-fiction book manuscripts.


SW: What types of writers will benefit most from your editorial services?

MM: Anybody who wants to make their writing the best it can be and to get it out into the world. We have a two-tiered approach to editorial feedback, focusing on both the mechanics of writing (grammar, syntax, word choice) as well as the art of story-telling (inclusion, tension, arcs).


SW: After editorial services from Motherwell, what’s the next step for the typical client?

MM: To submit and get published! We also have different services that allow clients to return with subsequent drafts, if needed.


SW: What sets your editorial services apart from other services?

MM: That we both work tirelessly on every draft that comes in. Having two sets of eyes on an essay or manuscript, two styles of editing, is invaluable—especially because we are so adept at co-editing and our skill sets complement each other very well.


SW: How can parents use your college essay service to help their children?

MM: We are not involved in the generative stage of college essay writing, but we can turn a draft into the best, most polished version it can be. Not only in terms of copyediting, but in keeping the voice of the personal statement as authentic as possible—which is the key to a great college essay.


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