Welcome to Narrative Shifts.

A generative incubator for artists and writers from around the world to create alongside each other.

Whereas our magazine and our community anthologies are for the writer who is ready to publish a piece, our digital residency, Narrative Shifts, is for the writer or artist who is looking to deepen their relationship to their work. Modeled directly off our editorial residencies — which were grant-based opportunities we hosted during the pandemic in lieu of our in-person residencies — this process-based program is a seven-week, seven-session experience, helping writers at any stage of their careers to find an answer to the question: “What next?” Sign up for our mailing list to be notified whenever applications open for future intakes. 

Program overview

Narrative Shifts is a genre-agnostic writing program that includes seven sessions over seven weeks, centering specific aspects of craft that any writer, reader, or thinker could wield both on and off the page. In 2024, we will be running two intakes — Summer and Fall — each with two cohorts of 12-16 residents. Each sessions is 2 hours long. See more information below.

We built this program for creative writers, students of story, and those who work in and/or with narratives. This program brings together writers of all kinds to exchange ideas, questions, and curiosities. It doesn’t matter where you are in your arc as a writer (or artist) today:

  • Maybe you are new to identifying as a “writer,” and you’re looking for that gust of wind — the structure and guidance, permission and inspiration — to fully embrace your creative, critical, and curious self. Maybe you have been writing for years in the quiet depth of journals, and you are ready to step into a space of exchange. The guiding mantra for this program is, We keep beginning. Regardless of how long you’ve been writing, this program will help you begin again, begin better, and begin deeper.
  • Maybe you haven’t done an MFA and are looking to commit to a creative writing practice. Or maybe you have gotten an MFA and it fell short of what you hoped a writing community could be. Or maybe you finished your MFA program and are thinking: Now what? This seven-session residency is a holding space designed to be a bridge between where you are now and where you want to go next.
  • Maybe you have taken craft classes or courses — virtual or otherwise — that prompted you toward the page, and now you’re looking for a more participatory space that foregrounds community and conversation. Or maybe you’re not quite sure which medium or genre you want to be creating in. This program brings you into proximity with forms both familiar and new.
  • Maybe you are a student of story and, like us, you are deeply connected, concerned, and affected by the ways in which story and narrative seeps into our everyday interactions, experiences, and institutions. This program looks at the real-life applications and implications of story, holding space for the difficult conversations of today. 
  • Maybe you’ve been writing for years or decades, and you’re at work on finishing a first, second, or third manuscript, but you need the accountability of a cohort and community to fully commit to your writing routines, practices, or rituals. This program is the perfect place to incubate a new idea, pivot from one form to another, or take inventory of a current project, overcoming whatever obstacles you are writing up against. 
  • Maybe you are a visual artist, musician, or practitioner of the arts who is curious to explore narrative forms and techniques. While this program invites creatives of all genres, forms, and mediums, please note that the curriculum for the program, as well as the session activities, are built around writing-based resources. 

There are many layers and levels to this program. While there is no homework before or between sessions — your only obligation is to show up for yourself and for others — there will be recommended reading prior to each session and a curriculum of continued resources following each session. Regardless of how long you’ve been a “writer” or “writing,” this program will help you carve out your own creative path to embolden the work you want to be doing in the world.

This program is for you, and during your time with us, you will be able to make it yours.

There is an application process for our Digital Residency to ensure that participation in our program is not just contingent upon one’s financial resources.

For TSW, “community building” means building community in thoughtful and intentional, inclusive and accessible, equitable and transparent ways. All of our offerings — be it our annual literary magazine or Community Anthologies program — are designed to create safe spaces for those who participate, especially folks from marginalized communities. Given that this program is a cohort-based experience that brings together 12-16 writers and artists from all over the world, our application process ensures that residents are aligned with TSW’s ethos of collaboration.

What information is required to submit in your application?

  • General information: This includes things like your name, email, time zone, the cohort/track you are applying for, and a confirmation that you agree to the community principles of this program.
  • A statement of interest (in three fields): There will be three primary text fields for you to fill out: about you, your work, and your hopes for this program. This is your opportunity to tell us about you and your work, why you want to participate, and what you are hoping to achieve during the program. We want to get to know you as a human, as well as a writer. Whereas traditional submissions and applications require “formal bios” for writers, this application process seeks the informal: Where are you coming from, and where are you trying to go? Who are your mentors, near or far? Who are you writing for or with? These are the primary fields that our selection committee uses to evaluate applications.
  • Sample work/portfolio: You will be required to submit some kind of sample work. This does not have to be a published piece. In fact, we encourage you to submit whatever you are working on these days. Because this program is not a workshop and does not include publication, we highly encourage you to submit something that you feel best illustrates your writing practice. This could be writing that you haven’t shown to anyone before or a previously published piece, so long as you feel that it showcases where you’re at and what you’re working on. We say this because we do not want to deter folks who haven’t been published before from applying, though we do want to get a sense for who is in the room so we can tweak our curriculum accordingly. Please submit no more than 10 pages of sample work.
  • Application fee: TSW has a standard $7 application fee, which can always be waived by sending your complete application during the appropriate submission period to submit@seventhwavemag.com. If you are selected, the submission fee will go toward the program cost. This fee honors the time it takes our selection committee to review all work.
  • Submittable: When we are open for applications, you will be submitting your application via TSW’s Submittable page.

In 2024, we are offering two intakes: one in the summer and one in the fall.

  • Applications open for one intake at a time. 
  • Each intake is seven weeks long, with one session per week. 
  • For each intake, there are two cohorts/tracks of 12-16 residents. The two cohorts meet on separate days/times for the duration of the program. For example, for our 2024 Summer Digital Residency intake, there will be a Monday evening cohort/track and a Saturday morning cohort/track. We offer two cohorts/tracks per intake so it is accessible to folks with traditional and untraditional schedules, as well as folks in different time zones around the world.
  • When applying, you may select the cohort/track that works for you, or indicate no preference, in which case you will be considered for either one. Please note that this is strictly a timing consideration. There is no difference or delineation between the cohorts/tracks. 
  • Each cohort will have 12-16 residents, and will be guided by one TSW facilitator. There will often be an additional writer in the room, like a TSW staff member or a past contributor. 

Applications for our 2024 Summer intake opens March 21. 

  • Thursday, March 21: applications open via TSW’s Submittable page
  • Tuesday, April 30: applications close
  • Wednesday, May 8: notification of application status
  • Sunday, May 19: deposit required for selected residents to reserve their seat for our June – July cohorts
  • For our 2024 Summer intake, there are two cohorts/tracks: Mondays at 5 p.m. PST and Saturdays at 8 a.m. PST.
Monday Cohort Dates: 
This cohort meets from 5-7 p.m. PST on Mondays between June 3 and July 15.
  • June 3, Session 1: Centering Questions
  • June 10, Session 2: The Role of Our Archives.
  • June 17, Session 3: On Permission
  • June 24, Session 4: To Build a World.
  • July 1, Session 5: Form Matters.
  • July 8, Session 6: Holding Space.
  • July 15, Session 7: Narrative Shifts.
  • TBD: Bonus Session with Featured Writer.

Saturday Cohort Dates:
This cohort meets from 8-10 a.m. PST on Saturdays between June 8 and July 27 (please note: there is no session on July 6).

  • June 8, Session 1: Centering Questions
  • June 15, Session 2: The Role of Our Archives.
  • June 22, Session 3: On Permission
  • June 29, Session 4: To Build a World.
  • July 13, Session 5: Form Matters.
  • July 20, Session 6: Holding Space.
  • July 27, Session 7: Narrative Shifts.
  • TBD: Bonus Session with Featured Writer.
  • This program costs $895, which is roughly $125 per session, plus the final bonus session (technically an eighth session).
  • For each cohort, there will be two fully-funded scholarship seats. See our Submittable page for more information.
  • Payment plans are available. 
  • Upon being selected, you will have 10 days to secure your spot by signing the contract and making your deposit of $250, which will then go toward the total cost of the program.
  • If you do not reserve your seat within 10 days of being selected (by signing the contract and making your deposit), your spot will be awarded to the next in line.
  • We will be selecting five finalists per cohort. Finalists who do not end up getting off the waiting list and into the cohort they applied for will be given the opportunity to enroll in the subsequent cohort/intake without re-submitting an application. 

A note on price: TSW conducted extensive research on pricing for a program like ours. We worked closely with our team and advisory board, surveying the industry to ensure that our program and pricing is equitable and accessible. We are also committed to appropriately paying our staff for the time and talent it takes to run this program, and so while we will always do what we can to make our programs available and accessible to the public, we are also committed to ensuring that our nonprofit appropriately values the work that goes into making this program possible to begin with.

  • Seven 2-hour sessions over the course of seven weeks, guided and facilitated by TSW.
  • An immersive and interactive learning experience, distilling TSW’s nine years of expertise into a writer-friendly crash course on craft, story, and narratives. 
  • Throughout these seven sessions, residents will learn concrete tools that relate directly to publication and the writing life, like best practices for cover letters, tips and tricks on the revision process, and how to work with an editor toward publication. Residents will also get access to TSW’s collective list of residencies, and have an opportunity to practice public speaking by performing their work during the seventh session.
  • Before each session, residents will receive a one-page “Resource Packet,” which outlines the upcoming session and includes recommended reading that residents are welcome but not required to read prior to the session. 
  • After each session, residents will receive a one-page “Continuing Resources” packet, which includes our custom-curated curriculum, providing residents with creative resources related to each topic .
  • Each 2-hour session includes three activities: an introductory / grounding exercise, as well as two main activities that dive deep into the topic at hand.
  • Each session ends with a 30-minute conversation with a past TSW contributor to bring the session’s topic to life. 
  • The seventh session is a celebratory reading foregrounding our residents’ work. This will be an opportunity for our residents to read from their work or share words about their work, which gives them experience with public speaking and performing.
  • There will also be a bonus session with a featured writer that each cohort will vote and decide on. See more about this opportunity below.
  • Once you participate in any of TSW’s program, you are then eligible to apply for our in-person residencies, which take place throughout the year, and range from four days to two weeks. 

While the curriculum is a seven-session program, each cohort/track will have what we call a “bonus session” that takes place after our seventh session. This capstone conversation brings an established writer into the room for an intimate conversation about creativity and craft, process and publishing. As the goal of this program is to expose folks to different kinds of writers and writing, this bonus session is meant to deepen and refine your approach to narratives and narrativizing.

  • Past “Featured Writers” have included Kaveh Akbar, Ruth Ozeki, Taylor Johnson, and Billy-Ray Belcourt, among others.
  • In our first session together, residents will have the opportunity to suggest/nominate a writer they would like to be in conversation with during this bonus session. 
  • TSW will coordinate logistics for this bonus session. As this session depends upon the featured writer’s schedule, this session is not built into the core curriculum of the program, and is instead viewed as a bonus session. Digital Residents may attend their own bonus session, as well as the bonus session of the other cohort. Anyone who cannot attend this session will get a recording of the conversation and have a chance to submit questions in advance.

All of the information below can be found on this page or on our FAQ page, but for accessibility purposes, we’ve rounded up some commonly asked questions about our Digital Residency program:

  • Why is it called a “Digital Residency” and not a class, course, or seminar? We call our program a digital residency because it is a participatory, cohort-based, form- and genre-agnostic, seven-week experience. Our sessions are not lectures or classes in the traditional senses Unlike a traditional class, we invite and expect residents to be active participants in each session: there will be plenty of prompts and free-writing sessions, breakout rooms and opportunities to get to know other residents, as well as roundtable shares where we want residents to speak from their lived experiences and perspectives. There is a curriculum for the entire program, but unlike most traditional classes, courses, or seminars, it is not tied to a specific form or single theme. We bring in poetry, prose, and experimental forms alike. And while we do zero-in on specific forms, the central goal of this program is to provide writers exposure to different types of writing. 
  • Is there a workshop aspect to this program? No. There is no formal or traditional workshop session or experience. We assume and expect residents will be working on pieces or manuscripts during their time with us, and we provide many opportunities for residents to bring their writing, questions, and obstacles into each session, but there is no designated “workshop.” The focus of this program is generative.
  • Are sessions recorded? No. To preserve the intimacy of our sessions and the privacy of information shared, we do not record any of our sessions. 
  • What happens if I can’t attend a session? And, if I know I can’t attend one of the dates, is it still worth it to apply? If you know that you can’t attend more than two sessions in advance, you may want to consider applying to a future cohort. However, if you know in advance that you can’t attend just one session, we still recommend applying, as you will receive the resource packet, continued resources, and activities/prompts from the session, so you can still go through the activities asynchronously. 
  • If I can’t make my cohort’s session for one week, can I join the other cohort’s session that week? Each digital resident will get one “Session Transfer.” Meaning, if you can’t attend one of your cohort’s sessions, you have the opportunity to join the other cohort’s session for that week.  
  • How often and how many digital residencies do you offer per year? In 2024, we are hosting two intakes — summer and fall — each with two cohorts/tracks.
  • How many digital residents do you accept per intake and/or cohort? Within each intake, we offer two cohorts, or “tracks,” as we call them. Each cohort will have 12-16 residents, and each cohort has its own “track,” or meeting date and time. For example, for our 2024 Summer Program, we will be selecting 12-16 people for our Monday cohort and 12-16 people for our Saturday cohort. 
  • Are there any differences between the two cohorts/tracks? No. This is simply for scheduling considerations. We offer two cohorts in order to offer two options for meeting days and times, as our Digital Residency is meant to bring writers from all over the world — and therefore timezones — together. 
  • Where did the curriculum come from? We commissioned poet and librarian Emilie Menzel, who is also a senior poetry editor for our annual literary magazine, to develop the continuing resources for this program, which includes 42 items — books, podcasts, platforms, published pieces, resource centers and more — to help you continue creating after each session, and most importantly, after the residency is over.  
Example of the 30-page packet our residents will receive, session by session.

Please note that the testimony/feedback you see above and below comes from those who took part in our Editorial Residencies between 2020-2022. In 2023, we rebuilt our Digital Residency based on those experiences, but this is the first time we are offering the Digital Residency as a paid program that is open to the public. 

“I love that art was everyone’s goal; that we all had big questions of how to communicate the self in this world. That is what I want to be talking about and working on always, and everyone was present and loving for that work. I enjoyed how different everyone was and how open. I don’t really think magazines are like this experience, because these are really special people.”
Teri Vela, Digital Resident, 2020

“One of the main reasons I was able to continue writing, editing, and building community with other writers this year is because of Seventh Wave. The group became my writing and literary family for three months and I loved that we were able to talk about our concerns, big questions, writing tips, favorite Korean RnB songs, and our joy. With the support of Seventh Wave, I started an online poetry book club and am working on a poetry YouTube Channel now. I feel so grateful for the various ways Seventh Wave shows up for its writers, and for others I also want to be generous and bring a people-first mentality.”
Michael Frazier, Digital Resident, 2020

“This residency is unlike any other in that it supports you both in your writing and in your life. I found my creative well not just cared for, but added to by both The Seventh Wave team as well as my fellow cohorts whose insight and artistic drive created a virtuous cycle with my own creative process. The structure of the residency makes sure to reinforce your creative life, not overwhelm it, and the availability of the Seventh Wave team for any and all questions, thoughts, and advice ensured I was well-cared for. One of the best environments I’ve had the privilege to create within.”
Alysia Gonzales, Digital Resident, Spring 2021

“This residency, coming at the pivotal time that at did, was a reaffirmation of the power of community and an exercise in understanding how we constantly engage in (re)positioning our selves on the axis of the times we inhabit. From the first session to the final, our conversations were infused with the colours of who we were on that particular day, truly living rebellious joy, the re-holding space for both its nuances of ‘again’ and ‘in response’ to being. In the school that I work for part-time, we planted asagao (朝顔, Morning glory or if I were to translate literally, ‘Morning face’) flowers with some elementary school students a few months ago and to watch them blossom with the children lets me witness the magic that tenderness and time bring to growth. I think that with the TSW team and my cohort, I have had the joy to watch the asagao in me glow and grow. I also want to applaud TSW for curating each session with so much attention to detail. Pre-session materials, in-session exchange of ideas and post-session comments in our shared space were in perfect balance, giving us just what we need to make reflection on our roles and our art, and how they were in tandem with each other, a joyous process.”
Swastika Jajoo, Digital Resident, Spring 2021 

“I would encourage all writers who are looking for community to apply to Seventh Wave’s digital residency. There is such a special kind of learning that occurs at Seventh Wave. There is, of course, the learning of how to make your own writing truer to your needs, but there is also the learning of how to exist as a writer that is truer to yourself. Without The Seventh Wave, I would never have had the courage necessary to write the piece that was waiting to emerge. The Seventh Wave encouraged and nurtured my writing every step of the way.”
Saba Keramati, Digital Resident, Fall 2021

“I really felt like we developed our own personal cheer squad with Seventh Wave and where most institutions sort of spit you out after graduate, I feel like I could get in touch with anyone from the residency and pick up where we left off. The beauty is that we commit to showing up for each other, and prioritising the community.”
Bobuq Sayed, Digital Resident, Fall 2021

“The Seventh Wave Residency reminded me about two things that hold true for me: 1) that writing should never be a solitary act; and 2) art is about people and connection, one should love people and use art as a medium to connect, and certainly not the other way around. I feel like I was welcomed as a person first, and the writing followed with that simple gesture. For that simple reframe, you should apply!”
Brian Dang, Digital Resident, Fall 2021 

“I’ve taken away so much from the residency, so I think I’ll try to sum it up in one word that best described my experience: peace. I always left the sessions feeling so deeply refreshed and balanced and at peace, which is something that’s very important to me, and also very hard to come by these days. […] I like the general idea that we were all reaching towards something with our writing, and in so many ways, we were allowing to reach with each other.”
Ariana Benson, Digital Resident, Fall 2021 

“Participating in this residency made me excited about writing again. There’s so many things I want to say that suddenly I find myself speechless. There was so much care and intentionality put into each element of the residency, everything felt as though it came from such a place of love and devotion. And it is infinitely inspiring to be around that energy, to be invited into that energy, to be a collaborator in that energy. Writing as a relational practice that we do for and with each other: like I said, it makes me want to write again. It made writing feel important and beautiful and necessary and urgent and alive. And we got to feel that all together.”
hannah rubin, Digital Resident, Fall 2021 

“The Seventh Wave community is one of the warmest and most supportive writing/artist communities I’ve ever encountered. I love their motto: we publish people, not pieces. I’ve only ever really experienced the more impersonal forms of publishing and it can be truly alienating. TSW gave me the mental and word count space to explore a topic that I knew wouldn’t be suitable for traditional magazines or journals. Because of that piece, so many individuals have reached out to me to tell me their experiences have been similar to what I wrote about, and reading the piece made them feel less alone. I’m grateful to TSW for that, most of all. They have the courage to publish pieces that are more exploratory and less formulaic. I actually have encouraged several people to apply for the residency and will continue to do so — what I tell them is that I do think this should be the future of publishing: editors who work with such compassion and open-mindedness (in addition to rigor) with their writers. It’s a collaborative experience, and writers don’t have to go it alone.”
LiAnne Yu, Digital Resident, Fall 2021 

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