Family Trouble: Writing about Family in Nonfiction Online Class


Writing our lives often means writing about our families. Family is our first mirror and how we first define ourselves, and that’s why writing about them is one of the trickiest aspects of memoir and personal essay writing.

We can’t get away from these people and how they’ve shaped us, but how fair is it to put them in our stories? How does a writer handle writing about family with honesty and respect?

In this generative class, we will:

  • Examine how writers have tackled writing about family in their essays and memoirs;
  • Explore craft techniques that can help us in writing about the people who love us the most, know us the best, and hurt us the worst.

Some writers have opted not to write memoir and personal essays (or have labeled their work fiction) to avoid the pitfalls that surely come when writing about family. This class is for those who can’t help but answer the call, and strive to do so with love.

This self-paced, two part class is available February 18th.

What you get:

  • Two slideshow presentations
  • Two instructional videos
  • Model texts
  • Craft essays
  • Reflective writing assignments.
  • You will be added to a private FB group where you can ask questions, engage with participants, etc. (This is optional.)

Cost: $150

To register and/or ask questions, email

About the facilitator: 

Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and writing coach. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has been widely published, including in The Rumpus, Bitch MagazineVanessa Martir Photo, the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, and the NYTimes Bestseller Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay. Vanessa is the founder of the #52essays2017 challenge, and creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop, which she teaches in NYC and online. She has served as guest editor of Aster(ix) and The James Franco Review. When she’s not writing or teaching, you can find Vanessa either on a dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or in the woods hiking and talking to birds.

For more on Vanessa, check out her video on why she created Writing Our Lives, what’s different about her teaching style, and future plans for WOL.

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