Monday, February 25, 2008

GWP Institute: Find Your Subject, Find Your Voice

I'm excited to share that in April, I'll be teaming up with journalist Alissa Quart (author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers and Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child) for a two-session on-site intensive on personal writing (essay writing, blogging, and more!) -- offered through the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership.


When: Sunday, April 13 at 11 am - 3pm, April 17 at 6 pm - 9 pm.
Where: New York City
To see more details and RSVP, click here, call 6464350837, or email

And here's our course description:

So many of us want to put our ideas or personal experiences down on paper, but don’t know how to find our medium or shape our raw material into stories. In two intensive sessions, we will seek to find the topic, style and genre for that which we most wish to express. We will start by asking ourselves questions about what we have experienced in our lives. What’s notable about us and what are we experts in? What are our motives for writing? What specific goal are we hoping to achieve by writing about our lives? After taking a hard look at our interests, work and life experiences, we will figure out whether they will intersect with an audience, what sort of audience, and how to position our ideas and ourselves in order to reach that audience. With this accomplished, we will build out our best article, essay, blog, or book ideas. By the end of the class, each student will have either a story pitch, an outline for a short article or an oped, a start on a personal essay, or an idea for a book or a blog. These written frames will serve as the culmination of our in-class exercises, group conversations, and at-home writing in between the two sessions.

In order to get a better sense of voice, story and topic in non-fiction, we will read a selection of modern essay writers (among them Joan Didion’s Goodbye To All That, a selection from Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, a Mary McCarthy personal essay etcetera). In order to get a better sense of blog personae, content, and voice, we will look together at range of blogs with strong personal voices and discuss. For those who decide to create their own blogs as a means of personal expression, we will create them on-site, along with names and domains, learning about blog style, purpose, and community along the way. We will discuss how blog writing differs and overlaps with more traditional forms of personal writing as well.

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