ONLINE WRITING INTENSIVES
The Story of You Writing Intensive Series
Fall 2018 (specific dates below)
Online (sessions are recorded)
Two hours of webinar instruction, course materials and Q+A
$49 for each session
MY BACKGROUND + APPROACH:
Over the past nine years, I've written poems, blog posts, essays, articles and books about my ups and downs and the lessons I'm learning as I journey through this life experience. Writing has been my way to align my inner and outer worlds. My first book, The Beautiful Disruption, is autobiographical fiction written in free verse. My second book, Wallflower, is a book of essays about finding my expressive voice as a quiet, sensitive, passionate woman. In Writing the Layers, I share writing exercises that have helped me identify patterns and become more self-aware. These outputs have led me to teach writing workshops on how to break through creative blocks, how to write without inhibition, how to use writing as a meditative practice, a self-care practice and more.
Thus far, all of my books have been self-published. Now that I'm working on my first traditionally published memoir, I'm even more obsessed with storytelling — the healing benefits for the storyteller as well as the reader and the broader culture. I recently shared an essay that is part of my manuscript-in-progress with Shondaland.com, called Choosing My Mental Health Over My Mother. The book is about my mental health journey, a topic that is deeply meaningful to me, but also impactful to society as it captures the voice of a black woman breaking her silence and ending a cycle of avoidance and denial through storytelling.
What stories do you have to tell?
I encourage the writers I work with to dig up their stories, big and small, in order to find new meaning in the journey of their lives. Working with me, you will be challenged to face your truth, hold it up to the light and transform it into power. Writing your stories down can free you from anxiety and inhibition, shame and regret. My job is to guide you through this transformative process.
Up until now, I've designed my workshops to be broad and comprehensive, to include as much information as I could squeeze in. These intensives are quite specific to allow writers to focus on one challenge at a time. You don't have to be certain about sharing your work publicly to benefit from this information, you only need to be sure that you want to write your story, even if it's just for your own healing.
With so much going on in the world, writing about our own ups and downs can feel self-indulgent. But when we are attentive to ourselves and taking time to process life in a healthy, creative way like writing, we can be more present to be strong in our families and communities. We have to nourish and heal ourselves first.
THE HEALING POWER OF STORY
Many writers we revere have expressed that writing their most profound works helped them heal from traumatic experiences in their lives. Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, and James Baldwin — just to name a few. Alice Walker described writing as “a very sturdy ladder out of the pit.” No matter how deep the pit, the ladder is always there. She sees her writing as necessary to her well-being. As readers, we find hope in the courage of these writers who don’t attempt to answer all the questions of the world, but who are brave enough to articulate the questions and the conflicts. They transformed pain into literary works that have helped people all over the world.
You can write your experiences, simply to nurture and take care of yourself, even if you have no intention of sharing your work.
The desire to write often comes from pain and inner conflicts, but in the process of seeking peace and understanding, we discover a depth, a way of communicating with the divine inside of us that we hadn’t before recognized. When we repress this desire to write, every time we think about it, we feel like we are letting ourselves down, shrinking away from an opportunity to expand. In Writing Down Your Soul, Janet Conner talks about the Voice: “The Voice isn’t trying to hide from you -- it is seeking you. It knows the rich conversation that awaits you both. It knows what you need and longs to give it to you. So it stays close at hand, in your heart, your mind, your soul. The Voice is right there, barely below the surface, waiting for you to pick up your pen and penetrate the thin wall of consciousness that keeps you apart.”
does this sound like you?
+ I want to write my story but where do I start? What stories do I tell?
+ How do I structure the work and identify themes?
+ I have a painful past. Will writing about it bring up emotions I can't handle?
+ I don't think of myself as a great writer. How do I do my story justice?
+ I want to share my story but maintain my anonymity. What techniques can I use?
+ How much is too much? How do I know when I'm oversharing?
+ I've had a so-called "normal" life but I want to write my story. How do I find the universal meaning in it?
To answer these questions thoroughly and with specific examples and instruction, I created The Story of You, which is broken down into a series of 2-hour recorded webinar sessions.
September 15 @ 8 AM ET
Seasons: How to Identify Themes and Gather the Stories You Want to Tell, $49
Identifying the key transformational turning points in your life is an important first step in writing your story. In this session, we will explore how to narrow down these turning points and associate specific stories and lessons to each one. You will come away from this session with a completed timeline template, where you can see how your stories fit into a linear structure.
September 29 @ 8 AM ET
Flow: How to Stylize the Narrative Arc and Develop an Outline, $49
Once you have the building blocks, how do you create a beginning, middle and end? This session details how to use conflict, resolution and character growth through each section to build your story and keep your reader engaged. We will discuss how to play with the standard narrative arc of conflict, rising action, crisis, climax and resolution to create your own unique storytelling format. You will come away from this session with a frame structure and a rough outline.
October 20 @ 8 AM ET
Distance: How to Tell Your Truth Without Burning Bridges, $49
This session addresses the ethical dilemmas that come up with memoir writing. What are the risks? How do you tell your story without hurting loved ones? What if you doubt the quality and accuracy of your memories? What techniques can you use to tell your stories and still distance yourself and your loved ones from direct exposure? You will come away from this session with alternatives and best practices.