Writing Our Lives ~ The Next Level

*Postponed until January 2015


You ready to take your personal writing to the next level? Been thinking about how you can make your essays more powerful? Do you read essays voraciously and want to really dig into how they’re written? You thinking about publishing and want to get Vanessa’s help to get there? This next level class may be for you.

Dates: November 9, 16, 23, December 7, December 14

Time: 12-5pm

Location: Hunter College 68th Street Campus, NYC

Price: $390

Project: Write a 1000-1500 word essay.

This class is designed for writers who have written personal essays (they do not have to be published). The target student has taken a Writing Our Lives Workshop or another comparable essay writing class, and is interested in getting a piece ready for submission.

We will be reading essays, dissecting them for structure, and analyzing the pros and cons of different essay structures. We’ll be editing and revising together; looking at our work under a magnifying glass: Why did we make the decisions we made? Why did we choose that scene? That dialogue? Etc. We will also be going through the essay submission process–what journals are we interested in submitting to? How do we decide? How do we know our essays are suitable for particular journals?

How do you know if this class is for you?

  • Have you taken the Writing Our Lives Workshop in the past (or a comparable class) and want to take your essay writing skills up a few notches?
  • Do you have an idea, maybe some streams of consciousness/rambling type writings, or even a full-fledged draft you want to develop?
  • Are you are ready to bring a piece from embryo to (close to) ready for submission status?
  • Are you interested in learning more about the craft of essay writing—structure, metaphor, lei motifs, etc.?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this class is for you.

Note: this class is not for novice writers. This class is for lovers of essay—you read essays regularly and have written or tried to write them and are ready to really dedicate yourself to the craft.

How is this different from Writing Our Lives, the intro class?

  • There is an “application process” for this class. (see details below)
  • The class will be structured specifically around what you need depending on what I find in the writings you share: character development, scene development, etc.
  • We will be digging into essay structure, the strengths and weaknesses, what structure might work for your piece, etc.
  • We will delve into the submission process. How do we get published? How do we decide where and when to submit? Etc.

Application Process:

Please submit the following to vanessa_martir@yahoo.com with “Writing Our Lives – The Next Level application” in the subject line:

  • One paragraph description of your essay idea.
  • Sample writing on the topic: this can be a blog entry. The point is that I want to see that you’ve started working towards something. Please note that I don’t expect a polished essay. The point of this class is develop an essay, and edit and revise it several times.
  • Brief description of your experience with essays and essay writing. Note: I want an idea not just of what you write but also what you read.

Check out these links to read more on the history of Writing Our Lives, why I created the class and why I continue to reinvent it.

About the facilitator:

Vanessa is a momma, writer, educator and bad ass. She is currently working on her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and recently discovered she’s also penning a collection of essays, Relentless, at the same time! Vanessa is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and has been published in numerous anthologies, journals and websites including the VONA/Voices anthology Dismantle, Portland Review and xojane. Vanessa created this class in 2011 and has reinvented it several times. She has every intention of taking the class on-line in the spring of 2015!


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