Join writing coaches and journalists at a writers workshop beginning on Nov. 17 at Seattle Public Library's Central Library. The cost is $195, which includes lunch.
Think of how wonderful it would be if Seattle, with all its other gifts, could become a city of writers. It’s hard enough to imagine a family of writers or a classroom of writers. As we learned from Starship, you can build a city on rock ‘n’ roll, but someone has to write those lyrics. The citizens of Seattle have inherited from America’s founders the gift of the First Amendment. But what good is freedom of expression, citizens, if we lack the means to express ourselves?
That question leads me to this invitation: If you are an aspiring writer of any age or at any level, consider joining us for “Write Your Heart Out, Seattle,” an all-day writing workshop at the Seattle Public Library on Nov. 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by The Seattle Times and the Poynter Institute, the nation’s top training center for journalists, this workshop is built on the premise that all you have to do to become a writer is to write.
Want to be a singer? Sing. Want to be a runner? Run. Want to be a writer? Write.
Whether you are keeping a diary, or writing for school or work, or writing a family history, journalism pieces, or the next great Seattle novel, the day is designed to encourage you, build your skills and help launch you to the next level in your craft.
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The cost of the day is $195, which includes lunch. All the teachers are donating their time and energy, and they include some of the Northwest’s finest writers and journalists: Nancy Rawles, Jess Walter, Jacqui Banaszynski, Jim Lynch and Ken Armstrong.
I have taught writing for more than 30 years at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and have conducted workshops in 40 states and on five continents. My mission is always the same: to demystify the writing process so that more and more men and women can think of themselves as writers.
Here’s a sample of what you will learn if you join this community of writers:
• The seven steps of the writing process.
• How the best writers see the world as a storehouse of story ideas.
• The differences between reports and stories.
• The construction of fiction and nonfiction narratives.
• How to develop an authentic voice as a writer.
• How to find and use telling details.
• How to use all your senses to build scenes and dialogue.
And much more.
Jack Hart, a journalist and writing coach from Oregon, once asked me: “Why don’t we teach writing the way we teach reading?” At first I did not understand the point of the question. He explained that we teach reading as a social literacy, something we should expect of every person, whatever his job or her walk of life.
We think of writing more as a fine art like playing the piano or painting a portrait. Only a few of us get tapped on the shoulder. “You know,” says a well-meaning teacher to a promising student, “you could be a writer.” But what about the rest of us?
So let’s write our hearts out, Seattle. Let’s build this city on subjects and verbs.
Roy Peter Clark teaches writing at the Poynter Institute. He is author of several books on writing, including “Writing Tools,” “The Glamour of Grammar,” and “Help! For Writers.”