Introduction to Writing Your Life: A New Writing Our Lives Class

Class Dates:

Week 1: February 15-21
Week 2: February 22-28
Week 3: March 1-7


$150 including a nonrefundable $45 deposit (Note: partial scholarships & payment plans are available. See below for more info.)

Class description: 

You want to write about your life but don’t know where to begin.
You have stories that only you can tell.
You’ve experienced some things. You’ve suffered and you’ve overcome. You’ve failed and you’ve picked yourself up. You’ve lost, you’ve gained, and you want to share how you did it all and what you’ve learned along the way, about yourself and the world.
You’ve read personal essays and memoirs, and wonder how these writers were able to do that. How and where did they start writing about their lives?
How do you start writing about your life?

You can start with this class.

The Introduction to Writing Your Life class is in answer to a question I’ve been asked countless times over the years: How do I start writing about my life? 

What you need to know: 

  • In this class, participants will interrogate why they want to write about their lives and what it is they want to write about.
  • Participants will be led through various exercises to get them writing about their lives. The facilitator will share writing craft techniques to help participants develop their stories, characters, etc.  
  • The specified dates are when the pre-recorded instructional videos, readings, assignments, etc. are posted on, the platform I use to teach my classes.
  • The class includes a one-hour videoconference (via Zoom) in Week 1. Attendance isn’t required but is encouraged. The call will be recorded and shared. 
  • The class is an introductory class designed for people who are new or fairly new to writing about their lives. Seasoned writers are also welcome. Rumor has it that legendary dancer Alvin Ailey took a basics dance class periodically to remind himself and his body, and keep himself on his toes. Be like Mr. Ailey. 
  • There will be weekly reading & writing assignments. You get out of the class what you put in it.
  • This is a generative class, not a workshop. As such, your work will not be workshopped. (There may be a peer reading component to the class.) 
  • At the end of the class, participants will have the opportunity to share a short (1500 word) piece with the facilitator, who will provide feedback and suggestions.
  • Participants will also be given a slew of resources including extensive suggested readings lists, created specifically for people writing their lives. 

Still not sure if this class is for you? Ask yourself: 

Have you wanted to write about your life but don’t know where to start? 
Have you started writing about your life but need some direction?
Have you started writing about your life but can’t seem to finish anything? 
Do you write religiously (or sporadically) in your journal and wish (maybe even know) you can make those streams of consciousness into something more? 
Have you read great things about the Writing Our Lives Workshop and want to see Vanessa in action? 

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

To register: Send an email expressing interest in registering, with “Intro to Writing Your Life” in the subject line, to

Financial aid: 

Payment plans are available upon request. There are also a limited number of partial, need-based scholarships available.

How to apply for a scholarship: Send a letter detailing the following:

  • How you are qualified for the scholarship?
  • Explain your financial need—i.e. unemployed, underemployed, etc.
  • Why you think you need this class, what you expect to gain from it, and why you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need.

Send the letter with “Intro to Writing About Your Life Scholarship” in the subject line to: (Note: Priority goes to students who have not received a Writing Our Lives scholarship in the past.)

If you’d like to sponsor a scholarship for the class (or any class), please send me an email to Thank you!

About the facilitator: Vanessa Mártir is a seasoned writer and educator, who has been widely published and has been teaching for well over ten years. Vanessa believes your stories matter and should be out in the world. She created the Writing Our Lives Workshop in 2009 to help writers pen the stories of their lives. To find out more about Vanessa and read some of her work, check out her website at

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