for writers

Hi writers! I’ve got a few goodies for you:

    1. FREE: Sign up for my Secret Newsletter, which right now is super super secret because I almost never send one. Get advance notice of freebies, early-bird deals, opportunities to work with me in person, etc., in case the spirit moves me and this sort of thing actually happens. I am toying with the idea of doing one class per year again. IT COULD HAPPEN.
    2. FREE: Get writing love from me also via the blog. You can sign up for very rare updates via twitter or RSS. (Notice a theme? I don’t know, ever since 2008 running an internet-based business hasn’t been that captivating for me.)
    3. CONSULT 1-on-1: Work with me to get all amazing & brilliant & shiny & freedom-drenched : click here.
    4. FREE: An FAQ (below, scroll down) about my methods & workshops to let you know about what exactly worked so well for all my students with fabulous success stories, and to give you a sense of what to look for in a non-sucky writing class.
    5. ALSO: A little motivational love note from Elizabeth:

Dear amazing big-hearted writer creature,

Writing is hard. Yes, as I keep saying in the blog and elsewhere, intuition does make it easier, but there are still rough patches for all of us when being alone in our heads is sheer torture. When we’re terrified of going in the wrong direction and losing months or years of creative energy & work to a big fat depressing dead end.

It’s so important to reach out for help. So whether you sign up for a consultation or not, I really hope you make a commitment to find some good support.

Really. Whether it is a coach or a friend or a truly good non-sucky writing class—make sure you give yourself the best you can figure out how to give yourself right now. Because, trust me, you are going to need that high-level support to be able to outfox the tremendous resistance that happens when you are really putting yourself out there. It’s hard at first to move forward into the amazingness that is sharing your gifts with the world. But once momentum takes over, it usually gets a lot easier. Yet without fail, to get that momentum going, you need external support.

The desire to get this amazing story out of your heart and into the world is one of the most beautiful things about you. Yes: it feels scary. Honor it. Pretend you’re Sleater-Kinney, and watch out for that voice inside your head that is berating you: that’s like, Donald Trump or Dick Cheney or those a-hole editors who only give 15% of the bylines to women writers year after year, decade after decade. Are you going to listen to THOSE GUYS?? No, of course not. Now is your time to rock out.

Love,
Elizabeth

 

FAQ: Elizabeth’s methods + workshops

With more than ten years of creative writing teaching experience, Elizabeth transforms her students’ creativity in record time and to rave reviews.

Why did you start Elizabeth’s Workshops in NYC in 2003?

Back in 2003, when a friend asked, I couldn’t think of a single NYC writing workshop I would recommend. So I started my own. Since then, Elizabeth’s Workshops transformed hundreds of New York’s most exciting writers from blocked and doubtful to happy, confident and secure.

How are Elizabeth’s Workshops so different from the others?

I ground my workshops in creativity, rather than criticism, yet provide very specific, effective, results-oriented tools for refining the writing once we get to the editorial stage. This balance does not exist in any other writing workshop (if it did, I never would have started my own). Every workshop starts with a writing exercise that I craft specifically for the group. Every single time it amazes me what gorgeous prose each exercise brings out from my students in just twenty minutes of writing in class. When we start by writing and grounding everything in that intuitive, right-brain creativity, the answers we need later–when critiquing/editing student work–come so much more quickly and happily. It’s so much more effective to ground everything in positive, expansive creativity and have that joint experience writing together as a starting place.

Who takes Elizabeth’s Workshops?

My students started out just in NYC but now I am doing phone consultations (and will be doing teleclasses again at some point) for writers everywhere. My little upstart workshops included the smartest, most exciting and fun writers in New York–whether beginner or advanced–so the workshops simply didn’t have duds in them. I think I scared the duds away.

Anyone who is determined not to have fun or wants to avoid at all costs the occasional discomfort of stretching his or her writing skills is not someone I am going to be able to work with. This isn’t to say everyone in my classes is super confident–a lot of people are shy, and who hasn’t been riddled with self doubt and torment at one time or another? The creative support and smart, fun vibe eases the shy along quickly. We have a fabulous time and are very supportive–without being full of BS or wishy-washy. My students bring out the best in each other. The community we form is very special.

What kind of results do your clients and students get?

Clients & students have published acclaimed books and influential articles, have won acceptance to the most prestigious MFA programs and conferences out there, and have been awarded many fellowships and awards. Some have become total rockstar bloggers & social media queens. More than 75% of my students return for additional classes with me.

How much work does each class require?

I designed my curriculum for New Yorkers, to allow busy-busy-overwhelmed Manhattanites to transform their writing in as little as 1.5 to 2 hours a week. Five minutes a day when you’re in the supportive community & coming to class absolutely works wonders.

However, if you are feeling like an intense, work-high, gleefully ambitious New Yorker and want to devote more time, there are additional optional assignments galore. Think of it as flex-time.

Classes are structured to make you as happy as possible: you can do as much or as little as you want, depending on how much you want to get done and what the rest of your life is like. I aim to please.

Where are classes held?

They used to be held in my living room, and sometimes on the phone. Now the only way to work with me is one-on-one, which probably won’t be an option forever. Teleclasses will probably resume by some time in 2011: keep yourself on the early-bird list by signing up for the Secret Newsletter.

Those testimonials make big claims! What makes your workshops so effective that your students are raving this much?

The years of teaching hundreds of writers in NYC, plust constant grounding in creative inspiration, as well as my handy MA in Creativity and Art Education, means that I have answers to almost every creative process problem that is harassing you. My own past (and on the bad days, present) massive struggle with appalling self-criticism and writer’s block and self-doubt and the whole shebang helps too–I know that turf backwards and forwards and I know how to get out of every nasty little loophole of procrastinatory hell through years of experience.

My rep is that I’m able to get even the grouchiest students unstuck and help them learn to STAY unstuck–it’s sort of like going to the writing psychic (however, besides through intuition, my guidance is informed by years of experience and training, not to mention years of teaching). I love giving this kind of individual attention, so each student gets his or her own unique guidance from me. I don’t let you hide out—the class creates motivation and movement—but, given that, I also very much let you go at your own pace and provide positive support and a way to expand on your strengths.

Everyone sort of breathes a big sigh of relief, lightens up, laughs, looks at their hurdles in writing and acquires specific strategies to get through the hurdles–while feeling far happier about the writing process and, more often than not, life in general.

What is your background and training?

I have taught writing at Cornell and NYU, and I received an MFA from Cornell in fiction writing, a BA in film from Yale, and an MA in Creativity and Arts Education from San Francisco State. I have been teaching writing for over 15 years. These specific writing workshops created from my proprietary material have been around since 2003. I have also worked as an independent editor and consultant on many different book projects, and I work as a writing consultant and coach with private clients. If you are interesting on getting on the private client list, you can sign up for a consultation.

I wrote an epic novel called Girly and edited a Random House anthology of short fiction by our best women writers called This Is Not Chick Lit, which pissed off a bunch of chick lit authors and generated loads of interesting discussion and controversy. Also it sold really well.

Why were your NYC classes more expensive than other NYC writing classes?

Because they actually work: your writing is transformed and you feel more confident and have tools that actually enable to you to keep writing–better, more happily–on your own. In record time. The classes heal and transform women at a far deeper level than just writing–I would get bored with it if it were just superficial or “literary.”

I’m a one-woman show–it’s sort of like organic produce verses GMO factory farming. I could get other writers to teach my curriculum, but I’m just not comfortable doing that, so the prices can’t be the same as at the factory farm writing classes of New York City. The instruction here leaves those places in the dust and is fact far better than what you get in the vast majority of MFA classes.

Why do more than 75 percent of your students return for more classes with you?

My emphasis on creativity, fun, and expanding everyone’s talent is something that we are all starving for. Writers especially need a dose of this kind of support to stay inspired and hopeful—in our culture of overwork, emotional check-out, and internet junk-mail-gossip-porn, it can be so hard to find that creative oasis on your own.

In fact, these workshops were the best thing I could think up to use my own specific strengths to counter the repellent fearful energy of Bush America. (When I hit my own big physical burnout in fall of 2008, I think it was partly from how determined I was to create something good in the world during those terrifying Bush years.) A multitude of voices is crucial: and your voice is crucial.

Also, people just love this community that provides real, warm, intuitive support and a space for inspiration that isn’t that isn’t wishy-washy or too new age. There aren’t many other places to find a serious literary community that manages to steer clear of literary-snotty-publishing-industry hierarchies. A rare thing. I wish I’d had that when I was in MFA school.

Do you offer individual consultations on specific writing projects?

Yes—please see the Goddess Intervention page where you can sign up for a 1-on-1 consultation with me.

I am thinking of applying for an MFA–can you help me figure this out?

Absolutely.

I just got out of an MFA program–can you help me???

Oh yes. Yes I can, it’s a great time to assess your direction, and it’s a crucial time to see where exactly in the creative process you are. It’s tempting to want to zoom forward at top speed, but usually there is some repair work that needs to be done under the engine that kind of holds you back until it is addressed. Fear not: there are really amazing tools to get through this kind of quickly rather than letting the MFA hangover drag on for years. (That was a LOT of criticism & snooty posturing & Serious Literariness to take in over a couple of years, no?)