Why did I create “Reclaiming Your Voice on the Page”?

Reclaiming Your Voice on the Page Spring 2020

The story of Reclaiming Your Voice on the Page

People ask: How do you come up with all these ideas for classes?

Me: My own life.

Why did I create “Reclaiming Your Voice on the Page”?

Scene: Last day of my VONA 2012 Residency with Mat Johnson, author of Pym, Incognegro, Loving Day & so many more. 

Mat: “Okay, so you have your stories.  You have everything you need to finish this book. Let’s talk about your voice.”

“What you mean my voice?” I said with every ounce of Brooklyn in me—sass and what-the-fuck written all over my face. 

“I want to see the Vanessa in front of me on that page.” He grabbed my laptop and said, “Talk to me about Millie.” He was referring to my second mom Millie who I write so much about because of what she taught me about love and the world.

I laughed. “Millie was a butch. She always wore a black Kangol. She’d grab the brim of it and say, ‘Yo soy butch’ but the way she said it, it was like she was dancing salsa but just with her shoulders.”

Mat passed me my computer. “You wrote that,” he said. “I just typed it.”

I’ve never been the same.

I worked obsessively on my voice for months. Doing that worked changed my writing. I’m now authentically me on the page. I’m not trying to be anyone else. I no longer write the way I was told I should write. When you read something I write, you know it’s me. 

My view of my work also changed. I started believing in myself and my stories more. I started submitting more and getting published more. 

In the Reclaiming Your Voice Class, I share insight into the process of reclaiming my voice, and give participants exercises to help them do the same. You’ll read craft essays on voice, and work on unlearning what you were told about your voice and your stories. The goal is to dismantle the idea that you have to write like someone you’re not to be successful. I believed that too for a long time. I know better now. 

The Reclaiming Your Voice on the Page Class is a self-paced class. This means once you register, you are given access to the class on wet.ink, and have a month to complete the lessons, readings, writing exercises, etc. I am available to answer questions as needed.

Cost of class: $60

Interested? Send me an email to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.


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