Introduction to the Personal Essay Online Class
Class Dates: August 20, 27, September 3, 10, 17
(Note: this class is self-paced. More info below)
Tuition: $300 including a nonrefundable $60 deposit (Note: payment plans are available)
Personal essays are everywhere these days. There are sites and entire sections of magazines and papers dedicated to personal stories–hello NYTimes Modern Love and their new Rites of Passage section, Narratively, The Rumpus, Hippocampus, and so many more. Essay collections and anthologies are also booming. The fact is that personal stories are everywhere, and yours should be too.
I believe your stories matter.
I believe your stories should be out in the world.
Let me help you make that happen.
What you need to know:
Still not sure if this class is for you? Ask yourself this:
Have you read essays and wanted to write your own but the thoughts get lost in translation, somewhere between your brain and your fingertips?
Have you tried to write essays but find them hard to finish?
Have you wondered how writers write their amazing essays but think you just don’t have the chops and wish you did? (Side note: you do have the chops!)
Do you write religiously or sporadically in your journal and wish (maybe even know) you could make those streams of consciousness into essays?
Have you heard some 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!
Email email@example.com for information on registration, payment plans, etc.
One Day Personal Essay Intensive
When: September 8th, 12pm-5pm
Where: West Village, NYC
How much: $30
Personal essays are everywhere. Some say their heyday is over but their popularity hasn’t abated. With popularity comes criticism — Personal essays and their authors have been called hyper-confessional, self-indulgent and even narcissistic, but there’s much more to writing a personal essay than chronicling a wild or salacious experience.
The best personal essays show how an experience changed the author through vivid sensory details, engaging scenes and well-developed characters. In this class, we’ll break down the specific elements that make an essay great, and we’ll read model essays. We’ll also do a ton of writing.
One day. Five hours. $30.
A few things:
Pre-Registration & payment are required in advance. Payment is nonrefundable.
Interested? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “One Day Personal Essay Writing Intensive” in the Subject Line.
There is homework so register in advance to get the details, location, etc.
Advanced Essay Writing Workshop
Dates: September 15, 22, October 6, 13, 20, 27
Cost: $620 (payment plans are available)
Deposit: a nonrefundable deposit of $60 is required to reserve your seat (it is part of the $620 tuition)
*This class is capped at 12 writers*
Writers, if you want to be published, you have to submit your work. Yes, some people are contacted directly and asked to submit to anthologies, lit journals, etc, but these are people who have submitted their work and have been published. No one owes you a holler. Your thinking that someone does is arrogant and this is not serving you. It is up to you to keep your ear to the ground. You should be searching these opportunities out. It’s the legwork of being a writer. This is part of what we’ll be covering in the Advanced Writing Our Lives Personal Essay Class.
Writing requires revision and a safe space to workshop our stories. Submitting requires a vulnerability that you have to gather and learn to be comfortable with (or learn to grapple with when vulnerability hangover digs in its claws). This class will offer a safe and no nonsense place to do this work.
What does this class entail?
This is the work. It’s time for your work to be out in the world. The question is: are you ready?
Note: This class is for intermediate and advanced level writers. For an intro to personal essay class, check out my One Day Personal Essay Intensive and my Online Intro to the Personal Essay class.
For questions and/or to register, send an email with “Advanced Personal Essay Writing Class” in the subject line. (To register, you must submit the essay you will be revising BEFORE the class begins. You ready?)
More In-Person and On-Line Classes coming Fall 2018
(more information coming soon):
Past Classes (online and/or in person) include:
* * * * * *
Testimonials from students:
“WOL was a treacherously beautiful experience. As a person, it strengthened my immune system. As a writer, it made me realize that my story not only matters but needs to be told. Not for my sake, so much as for the overall spiritual health of our communities of color. The facilitator will keep it real with you always -so come correct! This class isn't for the faint of heart. It requires that you do the work on all levels. One of the best investments I've made for my Self.” ~ Sarahí Almonte, poet & nurse
“The "Writing Our Lives" seminar taught me the key components of creative nonfiction: structure, scene, place and most importantly voice. Vanessa helped me sound like "me" on the page. She helped me dig into memory and uncover my stories, taught me how to tell it and she affirmed over and over again why my story - our stories, are important. It was challenging and exhausting - as all life changing experiences should be. I walked out feeling more confident, knowing what I need to do to be a better writer and feeling like a part of a community of writers that I can now turn to. I am so grateful for Vanessa, for this class, and for my classmates.” ~ Nia Ita Sanchez, educator & writer
“WOL, it is an incredible experience! As a writer, if you are really committed to your craft, this is the class for you. Vanessa Mártir gives her all and more in each class, you read A LOT, because as a writer, you MUST read and she makes sure you do, you also write non-stop and will walk out of that class knowing what works for you as a writer, the stories that are bursting out of your throat, how important they are and why they must be written, the importance of your VOICE and what it is to read a book for enjoyment and as a writer. So again if you are willing to do the work and are committed to your craft: SIGN IN!” ~ Wendy Angulo, writer, entrepreneur, lawyer
"WOL is a safe space to explore the voice that refuses to be silenced. Vanessa is the badass facilitator, who guides you through your fears & insecurities by not only providing you with writing tools but allowing you the freedom of showing up to the page authentically.” ~ Vanessa Pardo, educator
“I am not here to hold your hands. I am here to help you tell your story. Nine weeks later, I was able to write my story. One year later, I was accepted to a competitive writing workshop (VONA) with the guidance and tools provided by Vanessa Martir. She helped me cultivate my dream of becoming a writer. At the end of her workshop she said you are a writer. Say it. I am a writer . Thank you Vanessa Martir.” ~ Sharon Shaw, social worker, writer
“In the spring of 2015, I walked into Vanessa Mártir's Writing Our Lives Workshop a broken and severely depressed woman going through confusing pangs of grief after my mother's passing. I honestly didn't know what to expect, and was surely not calling myself a "writer". To say that I've grown both as a woman and a writer is an understatement, and doesn't do the indelible effects of Vanessa's WOL on people's lives justice. I've had so many stories, both pleasant and painful, plumbed out of me in Vanessa's class that I had purposefully forgotten, ignored, or walked away from. Vanessa likes to compare her approach to facilitating her writing space to that of an "iron fist with a velvet glove". Man, was the tough love REAL in her space, but the cathartic release for the sake of healing and recognizing the importance of our stories make it all worth it.
“Vanessa's creative writing prompts helped me see my traumas and the complex layers of my grief over a mother with whom I had a terse relationship. I had a breakthrough in a particular writing prompt that my story inevitably starts with my mother's. Vanessa's WOL class taught me that being "unmothered" is real and that my grief has occurred two-fold with my mother: in life and in death. I was so obsessed with my mother's death in my writing that I had buried her, erasing the beautiful monster that she was: a woman who was emotionally abusive yet kind at times, but also a drug dealer and a manic depressive who struggled with loving herself and others. Vanessa taught me to cradle my mother's multitudes and grieve her in ways beautiful and unforeseen. Simply put, Vanessa taught me to empathize, humanize, and most importantly, show my mother "in life". I seriously don't think Vanessa knows how advising to do this in my writing has inevitably saved mine. I haven't stopped writing my mother in life since. I've been accepted into a competitive memoir workshop called Las Dos Brujas this year, and honestly, it would not have been possible without the hard work that Vanessa's WOL writing workshop demands.
“This said, it precedes to say that Writing Our Lives is life-changing, life-saving. So much so that I have taken it three times not counting the numerous free one day classes she generously gives. You write with purpose in her space. After the writing and righting are done and your heart has screamed and your eyes have welled, you emerge, not completely healed, but more capable to carry yourself with all of your perfect imperfections.
“Vanessa simply doesn't say "go write". She says, "Go. Be. Do. Burn all this pain down and transform it to power, and make the world watch."
“To Vanessa. Thank you for the space, the holding, the safety, the sage advice on craft, and for helping so many writers of color find their voices. With the warmest love and deepest gratitude.” ~Mariana Goycochea, PhD Candidate
"Writing Our Lives is what helped me to dig a little deeper as a writer, in all respects. Vanessa Mártir's method is very straight forward, no bullshit. Open to all, just be respectful & come prepared to work, or don't come at all. If you can swing that, you will definitely benefit from this class. The excercises are engaging, with some that first appear to be impossible but are simply challenging. And that's what you want. To be challenged. To be able to go toe-to-toe with it. And this class was just that. I was fortunate enough to have been a part of the innaugural class and back then even though I didn't complete the entire session, I knew it was something unique. I had learned so much. I almost missed this latest "semester", but I was able to make it happen. So glad it all worked out. I left feeling focused because now I have the tools I need to take my story where it needs to go. I highly recommend it!” ~ Mark Vigo, poet and writer