Live to Write (II): Syllabus


#LiveToWrite: The Craft of Walking the Walk as Writer

PART TWO WITH GUEST SPEAKERS: Vanessa Mártir, J.K. Fowler, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo and Natasha Marin

Guided by the words of Bonafide Rojas in "in front of the class," we begin:

learn to live
live to write
write to love
love to learn


Each day of the workshop will be guided by a short text sample (from fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) and a prompt, These prompts will not be workshopped but can be shared by co-learners at the start of synchronous. This is intended to inspire continued development in our craft. All classes will be recorded. Participants are expected to attend at least 80% of classes and to communicate with group members if not present.


Technology and Class Orientation: June 16 3-4pm PST Technology used includes Zoom, Google Drive, and Edmodo (for forum purposes).

Week 1: I am a writer, June 17, 3-4:30pm PST, Guest speaker, J.K. Fowler

In this first week, we study artist statements of writers like Vanessa Mártir, Natasha Marin, Marcello Hernandez Castillo, and J.K. Fowler, as we determine who we are as writers and craft our own statements of artistic expression. What is it that we love about our work? How can we help one another to see what sparks and brings us to the quaking core of our humanity? What brings us joy in the word-work we do? We will study the bios of writing mentors; write three bios (academic, literary, and personal); study the author photos of writing mentors; and take a series of photographs to represent ourselves to others. All of this, will lead into crafting the beginnings of the content necessary for a press kit, website, or newsletter.

Week 2: Submission Material June 24, 3-4:30pm PST, Guest Speaker, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo and Guest Speaker, Vanessa Mártir

In this week, we will read about submission of work to journals as an act of resistance against erasure. Our voices must be heard, and our words read! We will write a submission cover letter; form three “packets” of work to submit; craft a chart to track submissions; and study two journals with the purpose of looking for “fit”.

Week 3: Finding home and leaving it July 1, 3-4:30pm PST, Guest Speaker, Natasha Marin

After a brief writing exercise on place, we will consider how place and time impacts our work. Must we leave home to find our homes in our work? Do you have trouble finding time to pee with your busy life, let alone time to write? We will look into finding that space and time. We will also read exemplar writing proposals and research and discuss residency opportunities in the United States and abroad. Paris wasn’t just for Baldwin.

Week 4: What a proposal became July 8, 3-4:30pm PST

Learners will continue reading a book proposal or residency proposal and then read the resultant work. How did the finished text deviate from what was originally proposed? What kernels persisted from proposal to the finished product? Why do you think that was? What have you always wanted to write and not had the time? The final product this week will be a draft of a residency proposal or a book proposal outline.

Week 5: Assembling the body (of work) July 15, 3-4:30pm PST

All of the pieces of this workshop will be reviewed once again by co-learners and finally come together to form a press kit: bio, photo, selection of 10 poems or 20-30 pages of prose, artist statement, residency/book proposal, list of journals, list of residencies, calendar with deadlines for submissions/applications, with space for “blurbs”, links to video/audio, or other representations of your work. The goal of this week is to assemble the press kit and submit to one journal or residency.

Week 6: Stage Lit July 22, 3-4:30pm PST

Light the stage with your literary work! Some of us edit our work by reading aloud to others; some process privately until we feel the work is done and do a reading only at that stage. Either way, you have to know how to set up a reading. This week we will work on writing a reading proposal to send to bookstores and arts venues. Learners will also receive and add to a developing list of such venues across the country. By the end of the week, learners will have curated a reading and proposed it to at least one venue.

Week 7: Social Media July 29, 3-4:30pm PST

This week we will work on developing a social media presence with a Facebook author page, Twitter account, regular and scheduled posts, and the first newsletter introductions of participants to their extended networks. As a part of a community, we will also work to strategically support one another in an online social media-supported forum or in crafting.

Week 8: Wevideo and the importance of telling your story August 5, 3-4:30pm PST

In this literary film workshop, you will learn how to take a sample of your work to create a “book trailer” or “literary/poetry film” using cloud-based software, your Smart phone, your voice, and images. This can be offer serve as re-affirmation of your work as a writer. You ARE a writer, and your words are worthy of screen life and all other representations of permanence and community connection.

Week 9: August 11 and 12 (possible make-up session) 3-4:30pm

Optional individual manuscript (no more than 10 pages of prose or 5 pages or poetry or 5 minutes of a video) consultation.