The Joy of Writing

This workshop is for anyone who wants to nourish, develop, and/or re-kindle creative writing skills and habits, as well as for those who want to begin or continue a writing project.

During class we will look at published examples of effective, engaging writing and then plunge into our own writing using exercises, prompts, and various jump-starts. Each class will focus on a craft topic as we hone and polish our writing skills.

This is not a critique group; however, we will discuss ways of improving and revising our writing with the goal of sending it out into the world. Reading and sharing your work in class is always optional. Assignments and readings are suggestions as well.

The joy of Writing is an on-going workshop with new topics and readings each session. If you have taken these classes in the past, you will always find new material to challenge and engage you during the workshop. Open to all levels – beginners to advanced writers.

Bring a notebook and a good pen.

SUGGESTED READING: On Writing by Stephen King
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the
Writing Life by Julia Cameron
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

The outline below is an example of typical topics and assignments for each class. A new outline
will be prepared and emailed to participants prior to the workshop.

1. Class One: Introduction
Topics: Let’s Get Going. Free Writing. The Writer’s Notebook. Writing Envelopes In-class Writing: Exploring the role of memory, imagination, and observation At home: Begin your writer’s notebook. Try to write at least ten to twenty minutes every day. Use writing assignments, envelopes, and/or handouts as prompts. If you’re working on a certain project, dive in, use the prompts to explore new material.

2. Class Two
Topics: Letting the Experience Choose You At home: Continue your daily writing in your writer’s notebook. This can be anything you want to write about. Lists. Observations. Reflections. Random ideas. Write anyplace. Use writing assignments from class and handouts. Think of (sketch out) one story that you can tell in the next class.

3. Class Three
Topics: Dramatize the Experience I. Using the elements of storytelling, specific details of setting and characters, dialogue, tension, and revelation. At home: Work on class assignments from handouts. More writing in your notebook and/or begin to develop one piece that really interests you.

4. Class Four
Topics: Dramatize the Experience II: Using description to help your reader see, hear, feel, taste the experience. Adding research or outside sources. Interviews.
At home: Develop one of your writings. Consider shape and form. Genre. Bring questions about your writing to next class. Keep up with daily writing, if possible.

5. Class Five
Topics: Revising and Polishing the Experience. Editing. Revision. Polish your words. Consider the elements of poetry: imagery, rhythm, sound, compression.
In-class: Work on specific problems or issues around the shaping and revision of your final
piece. What works, what doesn’t. Letting go. Cutting. Going to the heat. Trust.

At home to prepare for final class: Finish up one or two of the pieces you’ve worked on over the past five weeks. Bring copies for each of us to Class Six.

6. Class Six: Conclusion Celebrate!
In our final class, we will share our writing with each other. You may choose to bring a section of your essay, memoir, or story. Or several poems. We will divide up the time so that we each have time to read a final piece. We will use index cards for feedback from group members.

If you want written feedback on your completed piece from Vicky, please provide a stamped,
addressed envelope.

Monday’s, January 18 – February 22, 2021
9:30 – 11:30 am

$110 member/$138 non-members

***Note: Because of Covid, this class will be held via Zoom. You will be sent an e-mail (from BIG
Arts Zoom administrator) before each class with the Zoom link. Vicky will also e-mail each
participant the reading assignment (usually three short essays from Short Takes: Brief Encounters
with Contemporary Nonfiction.)

Vicky Lettmann (

Click here to download printable workshop handout

Click here to download printable registration form