Introduction to Writing Your Life with Vanessa Mártir

Class Dates:

Week 1: October 1st-7th
Week 2: October 8th-14th
Week 3: October 15th-21st

Tuition:

$150-$180 sliding scale. This includes a nonrefundable $45 deposit (Note: a limited number of need-based, partial scholarships, including scholarships for Haitian writers & those who identify as from the African diaspora, & payment plans are available. See below for more information.)

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.

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

How does this work?

  • Participants are invited to join the class on Wet.Ink, the platform I use to host my classes. 
  • On the first day of each week (Oct 1st, 8th & 15th), students are given access to the week’s lesson plan, which includes readings and exercises. 
  • Lessons are interactive, meaning students can comment on readings, etc. directly on the site, as well as engage with one another and the facilitator. 
  • Videoconferences will take place during Weeks 1 & 3. Dates and times will be decided on via doodle poll. While the videoconferences aren’t required, they are highly recommended as the facilitator will provide additional information on the weekly lessons, answer questions, etc. The conferences will be recorded and shared with all participants.
  • When the class ends, participants will have the opportunity to share a maximum 1500 word essay with the facilitator, for feedback, suggestions, etc.  

Additional info: 

  • 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 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. Be like Mr. Ailey.
  • There are 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.
  • 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? 
Are you interested in making art out of your experiences, but don’t know where to start? 
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 with “Intro to Writing Your Life” in the subject line, to writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com.

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

If you need cannot afford the class and do not qualify for the specific scholarships below, please send me an email, following the same instructions below.

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? 
  • Why do 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: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (Note: Priority goes to students who have not received a Writing Our Lives scholarship in the past.)

Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon, in memory of beloved elder salon member and fierce poet Denise Bell, is sponsoring two (2) $90 scholarships to the Intro to Writing Your Life Class. The scholarships are need based. Tuition after the scholarship is $90.

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? 
  • Why do you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need? 

Send the letter with “Denise Bell scholarship” in the subject line to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (Note: Priority goes to students who have not received a Writing Our Lives scholarship in the past.)

An anonymous donor is sponsoring three (3) need-based scholarships to the Intro to Writing Your Life Class, to writers of Haitian decent. Tuition after the scholarship is $100. To apply, please send letter answering the questions listed above.

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? 
  • Why do you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need? 

Send the letter with “Haitian Descent Scholarship” in the subject line to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (Note: Priority goes to students who have not received a Writing Our Lives scholarship in the past.)

The Museum of Black Joy is sponsoring two (2) scholarships to writers who identify as members of the African Diapora, to the Intro to Writing Your Life Class. Tuition after the scholarship is $105. Class starts October 1st.

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? 
  • Why do you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need? 

Send the letter with “Museum of Black Joy Scholarship” in the subject line to: writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. (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 writingourlivesworkshop@gmail.com. Thank you!

About the facilitator: Vanessa Mártir is a seasoned writer and educator, who has been widely published and has been teaching for fifteen 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 vanessamartir.com.

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