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Featured Online Writing Workshop

Melanie Faith

Creating an Online Creative-Writing Class for Fun and Profit by Melanie Faith

START DATE: Friday, March 27, 2020

END DATE: Friday, April 24, 2020

DURATION: 4 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Always wanted to have a flexible, telecommuting job that would make a direct difference in the lives of other writers? Have some teaching, mentoring, volunteering, public speaking, or coaching experience? Love the company of fellow writers and wish to network and monetize your passion for writing? No doubt about it: teaching online is a sweet gig!

In this four-week workshop, we’ll explore step-by-step the route from generating an online class idea to finding your target audience of students, through crafting a writer-friendly syllabus to launch a successful class online. With real-world advice from a practicing instructor who has taught online for two writing programs and freelance taught independent studies for several years, this class will provide practical yet inspiring advice for how you, too, can find the online teaching opportunity that is right for your skills and reach the writing students you are meant to inspire.

Handouts on topics covered will include: Four Tips for Finding Your Perfect Class Theme or Genre; What Fires You up about Teaching Online?: A Self-Quest Survey; The Obligatory Pros and Cons List to Teaching Online; Determining Your Target Audience, or: Who Will Take Your Class, Anyway?; Fabulous, Unconventional You—Finding Your Perfect Fit: Credited Program/School, Independent Program, or Freelancing; To Market You Go: 7 Practical Ways to Market Your Writing Classes and Increase Enrollment and Revenue; Ka-ching!, Ka-ching!: How Much Should I Charge for My Class?;The When, Where, and How: Tips for Choosing length, Style/Platform, and Start Day for Your Class; Time- Management Advice for Online Instructors; Determining Your Objectives and Goals for Your Online Class; Composing an Instructor Profile/Bio with Personality Plus; On Disappointment and Perseverance; and Five Key Guidelines before Approaching Writers, Editors, and/or Online Programs about Your Class. There will be a private Facebook group for students to discuss our creative process and sharing of writing and teaching-online resources, such as markets and quotations. Students will also complete a weekly writing assignment, including a final sample class syllabus, for instructor feedback.

I have to rein myself in every time I see in the WOW classes list that Melanie is teaching another essay class. And why is this? In all of my education (B.A. in English and M.A. in English), I never took a writing class. When I was in college, writing was taught only in Freshman English; after that class, we were just expected to know how to write. I learned to teach writing myself by reading books about writing. How refreshing and educational to find a teacher/mentor who exhibits the characteristics that I know an excellent writing teacher has: the creativity to come up with topics that students want to write about, the ability to critique without finding fault, the desire to encourage students to keep on writing even when the juices aren’t flowing. Believe me . . . she’s an excellent teacher. In addition, she became my friend through being my teacher. To be a friend AND a teacher takes real talent. ~ Sandy Young

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program. I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she'll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

I have taken three courses from Melanie and in each course I grow tremendously as a writer. The texts she uses as well as the handouts and daily writing prompts all contribute to what she refers to as “the writing life” and in her courses that’s exactly what it becomes. Her comments on the pieces go way beyond grammar and punctuation. She delves into the content and clarifies what is good and what can be adjusted to make the piece stronger. I can tell she spends time reading what I write and is prompt in returning the assignments so I always have plenty of time for revision. She treats me, and everyone in the class, like a writer. Her classes are a joy. If there is a course offered by Melanie and I can fit it in, I always take it. ~ Holly Helscher

I highly recommend the writing courses offered by Melanie Faith. She is one of the most engaging instructors I’ve ever worked with—her passion for her craft, and for nurturing other writers, is evident from the very first contact, and she maintains that level of energy and engagement throughout the course. Her feedback is superb; her praise is specific and helps validate the choices I make with my writing, and her suggestions for improvement are gentle and equally specific. Either way, her suggestions and comments always make my work stronger, and increase my confidence that perhaps I do have something to say after all. If you have a chance to take one of Melanie's courses, by all means do it! I'll be back for another one as soon as I can. ~ Karen V, North Carolina

I decided to try Melanie Faith’s WOW! poetry class because writing and creating in different genres helps my writing. I am so glad I did! Melanie is upbeat, inspiring, supportive, professional and an incredible instructor and writer. Now I see poetry as always being a part of my life. I don’t know how she does it with all the demands on her professional and writing life, but Melanie makes you feel like you are her only student. Her comments are always on point and she strikes the right balance of teacher and colleague. Months after the class has ended she continues to answer questions and cheer on us budding poets. She has an amazing and giving spirit. I will take another writing class from Melanie, no matter what the subject. She has so much to offer on so many different levels! ~ Kate Bradley-Ferrall

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Duration: (4 weeks) Friday, March 27, 2020 - Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday, March 27 and April 3, 10, and 17, 2020: instructor provides themed weekly handouts.

Friday, April 3, 10, 17, and 24, 2020: student assignments due to instructor for constructive feedback.

Week One: Determining the Kind of Creative Writing Class You’ll Teach: Finding Your Perfect Class Theme or Genre; A Self-Quest Survey; The Obligatory Pros and Cons List to Teaching Online; Determining Your Target Audience

Instructor Handout Reading Assignment:

  • Four Tips for Finding Your Perfect Class Theme or Genre
  • What Fires You up about Teaching Online?: A Self-Quest Survey
  • The Obligatory Pros and Cons List to Teaching Online
  • Determining Your Target Audience, or: Who Will Take Your Class, Anyway?

Assignment: Part One: Complete the Self-Quest Survey.
Part Two: Jot a list of three or four creative writing topics you’d like to share with other writers. These might include specific genres, like poetry or creative nonfiction or short stories, or they might also include themed topics, like writing about health, writing about food, fan fiction writing, nature/environmental writing, writing about sports, writing about discount shopping, etc.
Part Three: Once you have your list of topics: Free-write up to 300 words or make a list of ideas and writing experiences for each of your writing topics. When finished, compare and contrast them to see which topic you have not only the most notes about but also the most excitement about sharing with others. You very well may use this list to determine your first (second and even third!) online class topic. :) Keep your list handy and add ideas for classes to it as we progress through the course.

Week Two: Show Me the Money! Determining Class Length and Style as well as Practical Ways to Spread the Word and Get the Benjamin$

Instructor Handout Reading Assignment:

  • The When, Where, and How: Tips for Choosing Length, Style/Platform, and Start Day for Your Class
  • Fabulous, Unconventional You—
  • Finding Your Perfect Fit: Credited Program/School, Independent Program, or Freelancing
  • To Market You Go: 7 Practical Ways to Market Your Writing Classes and Increase Enrollment and Revenue
  • Ka-ching!, Ka-ching!: How Much Should I Charge for My Class?

Assignment: Part One: Free-write up to 300 words or make a list or chart comparing and contrasting the various styles/platforms for online classes as well as the kind of start days/dates that would best work for your schedule. Keep in mind that sometime online classes use numerous styles (including videos and typed, posted content) within the same class. :) List all of the methods of sharing content that you feel confident using and/or could learn.
Part Two: After you’ve read “To Market You Go...” pick at least 3 of the 7 suggestions for marketing your class that would best work with your contact list, your personality, and your teaching style. Briefly explain why those methods would work best for your class. Feel free to add any marketing ideas/venues that occur to you during the course, such as advertising in local cafes or mentioning your upcoming online classes at spoken word/open mike nights. :) The sky’s the limit!

Week Three: Inspiration Station—Writing Instructor Bios with Personality, Writing a Course Description, and a Sample Syllabus Template

Instructor Handout Reading Assignment:

  • Composing an Instructor Profile/Bio with Personality Plus
  • Determining Your Objectives and Goals for Your Online Class
  • Sample Syllabus with Techniques Annotated

Assignment: Part One: Choose one of the three or four creative-writing class topics from your Week One list to begin a sample syllabus. Using the “Sample Syllabus...” handout from this week, write your own course description listing goals/objectives based on my example. What will students learn overall? What aspects of the genre or theme will you highlight during your weeks together? Will you use a textbook (or two)? If so, list the text(s) in your description. If you know the approximate length of the course, include it in your description; if not, begin to brainstorm what you think the adequate amount of time will be given the content you want to cover with fellow writers.
Part Two: Make a list for why YOU are the perfect person to teach this course. For now, some of your reasons can be silly or imaginative. The important aspect is to underscore that your abilities make you an ideal candidate to teach this subject. It’s both self-motivation AND great pre-writing that you can mine for ideas and/or phrases for your author bio and class. :) Keep your list handy, and keep adding to it.
Part Three: Write a first-draft of an instructor bio. Aim for 250 words or less. Include any teaching experiences or publication experiences relevant to your genre/class topic. Keep in mind that many great instructor bios often include both professional details and a clue or two about who you are as a person. :)

Week Four: Dotting Our I’s and Crossing Our T’s

Instructor Handout Reading Assignment:

  • Time Management Advice for Online Instructors
  • On Disappointment and Perseverance
  • Five Key Guidelines before Approaching Writers, Editors, and/or Online Programs about Your Class

Assignment: Part One: Submit a sample class syllabus for instructor suggestions/feedback. :)
Part Two (Optional): Teaching online is a large investment of time and energy. Sit down with you day-planner and jot notes or a list considering the following:

  • How much time per day/week will you schedule for posting and answering messages from your students?
  • How much time per day/week will you schedule for creating new content to share with students?
  • How much, if any, of your class content will you create before your class begins to provide more content for responding to students during the actual class?
  • How much time per day/week will you schedule for offering individualized comments/feedback on your students’ assignments?
  • Are you more likely to have time to post content and reply to student messages early in the morning, at mid-day, or in the evening?
  • Be honest with yourself about how much time you really have and list ways in which you might clear things out of your schedule, or at least cut back, to make free room for your future class.

Materials needed: Your creativity, your love for teaching, and a curiosity about the techniques for teaching and marketing writing classes online. :)

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Melanie Faith holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Her writing has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Her full-length, historical poetry collection set in the 1918 flu epidemic, This Passing Fever, was published by Future Cycle Press in October 2017. Vine Leaves Press published her craft books about writing and editing flash fiction and nonfiction and her craft book about writing poetry (both 2018). In December 2019, her craft book, Photography for Writers, was also published by Vine Leaves Press. Most recently, her shorter pieces appeared in After the Pause, Contemporary Haibun Online, The Sandy River Review, The Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine, and Embodied Effigies. Her flash fiction, “The Slades,” placed honorable mention in the 2014 Bevel Summers Prize for the Short Short Story and was published in Shenandoah (Washington and Lee University). In addition to numerous photography publications, her art made the cover of both OVS Magazine and Chantwood Review in 2017. Her instructional articles about creative writing techniques have appeared in The Writer and Writers’ Journal, among others. To learn more about Melanie’s writing, teaching, and photography, please visit: www.melaniedfaith.com/blog/.

COST:  $150, which includes weekly themed handouts and access to a private group for student interactions.

BUY NOW:  Creating an Online Creative-Writing Class for Fun and Profit by Melanie Faith (4 weeks, starting 3/27/2020) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. She will contact you via email so you can get started.

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Additional Testimonials for Melanie Faith:

I took the nature writing class a few weeks ago and it was one of the best courses I've even taken. Melanie Faith is an excellent instructor. ~ Jean Forsythe

Your course has jump-started me back into writing. I have missed it. Thank you. ~ Melissa Healy

Melanie knows how to offer on-the-mark suggestions for writing improvement while also being extremely encouraging (and a joy to work with). I've taken many classes with her, including the flash class, and I plan on taking many more. ~ Marilyn Fahey

Melanie has been a total joy as a teacher and guide. I found her feedback, critiques, and comments to be extraordinarily helpful and insightful. And the daily prompts and positive reinforcement made this writing class a wonderful experience! ~ Mary Purdy

Melanie’s class taught me economy of words by using strong verbs and nouns, implying and showing rather than telling, and exploring topics outside of my comfort zone. Her feedback is prompt, detailed and constructive. ~ Rajni Gupta

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program.

I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she’ll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

Melanie demonstrates particular qualities in a writing teacher/coach that I would recommend for anyone looking for focused attention to help move their writing forward.

I had not taken an on-line course previously, and didn't know what to expect, but Melanie melted the distance, was always accessible, and never missed a beat with out on-line communication. I always felt like I had Melanie right here around my writing table, or knocking on my door saying—“I had a few thoughts..." She provided a wealth of resources and provided us with course materials that were tuned to our course level.

Her insight into my work, in terms of critique, were extremely thoughtful, thorough, and eye-opening. I feel that working with Melanie has allowed me to be braver with my writing and editing—as she was supportive of experimentation and taking chances with style, vocabulary, and theme. She provides serious critique in an atmosphere that, well, just makes me want to keep on writing!” ~ Mary Ellen Sanger

I have taken three courses from Melanie and in each course I grow tremendously as a writer. The texts she uses as well as the handouts and daily writing prompts all contribute to what she refers to as “the writing life” and in her courses that’s exactly what it becomes. Her comments on the pieces go way beyond grammar and punctuation. She delves into the content and clarifies what is good and what can be adjusted to make the piece stronger. I can tell she spends time reading what I write and is prompt in returning the assignments so I always have plenty of time for revision. She treats me, and everyone in the class, like a writer. Her classes are a joy. If there is a course offered by Melanie and I can fit it in, I always take it. ~ Holly Helscher

I have the normal anxiousness of sharing my work while so excited to have Melanie Faith’s critical eye read my writing. It is always reviewed with an eye to improvement and an eye to the thoughts the words contain. This is the first computer class I have ever taken and want to take many more. I also look forward to many more classes with Melanie Faith. ~ Benita Cervantes

Because I love memoir writing, I have taken two memoir/personal essay classes from Melanie. I can’t believe this, but because I enjoy the teacher herself and her method of teaching so much, I’ve even taken a poetry-writing class. I’ve always steered away from writing poetry of any kind ever since I wrote a poem in college (an assignment, not a by-choice piece) and the class laughed because I wrote about a controversial topic and was so naïve that I didn’t even know it was controversial. Every time I’d mention to Melanie that I’d never write a poem, she’d encourage me to take her class, assuring me that I’d be successful. I took the class, and sure enough, I was successful, thanks to Melanie’s velvet critiquing, encouraging comments, and thoughtful suggestions, many times seeing in my writing what I couldn’t see for myself.

I have to rein myself in every time I see in the WOW classes list that Melanie is teaching another essay class. And why is this? In all of my education (B.A. in English and M.A. in English), I never took a writing class. When I was in college, writing was taught only in Freshman English; after that class, we were just expected to know how to write. I learned to teach writing myself by reading books about writing. How refreshing and educational to find a teacher/mentor who exhibits the characteristics that I know an excellent writing teacher has: the creativity to come up with topics that students want to write about, the ability to critique without finding fault, the desire to encourage students to keep on writing even when the juices aren’t flowing. Believe me . . . she’s an excellent teacher. In addition, she became my friend through being my teacher. To be a friend AND a teacher takes real talent. ~ Sandy Young

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Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com


 

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