• The Salonniere
  • Writing Classes On She Writes? Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Writing Classes On She Writes? Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Written by
The Salonniere
April 2010
Written by
The Salonniere
April 2010
In which Kamy Wicoff asks, are writing classes something She Writers want? Today I was supposed to address question four from my "Where To, She Writes?" series, about how, whether and how and when you like to see "She Writes" in your inbox. But screw it, I have something more pressing on my mind. Do you like the idea of a She Writes classroom? Cause we built one, but not many of you have come. (Big thanks to our first group of Word Yoga students!) So we’re trying to decide what to do. We started with classes focused on writing, and not on the biz, and that brings up a larger question that is most important to my larger inquiry, "Where To, She Writes?" Our aim has always been to support and serve women who write at every stage of their writing lives, not only at the point when they have something to sell. And while we are still taking baby steps in terms of determining the needs and wants of this community, we have gotten noticeably more traction when we've offered webinars on platform-building than we have from offering the daily writing exercises, aka Morning Mojos, that I practically begged She Writer BK Loren to make available on our network. (BK is a University of Iowa Writer's Workshop legend, author and martial arts expert -- no kidding -- who I believe has cracked the code when it comes to teaching writing online.) Part of me thinks this doesn't mean much, especially when I look at the activity in the groups here, which is so varied and just as likely to focus on process as publication. Part of me, however, wants to know: would YOU take a writing class from She Writes? Somehow, someday? Or would you be more likely to take a class about the biz? In other words, when you come here, do you have writing or publishing on the brain? (Or both?) If you answered "writing" -- do me a favor. Take a look at what BK has built. Try an exercise. Consider exploring the intersection between creativity and community by becoming word yogis with She Writers you've connected with here. There's another Morning Mojo starting Monday April 25th. Vote with your feet -- or with the click of your mouse -- and we promise, like the good writers that we are, that we will be taking notes.

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Sally, thank you so much for your ideas and your words of wisdom about the long view. We definitely have one here at She Writes, and have no intention of making such an important decision about our offerings in undue haste! Part of what we have to do, of course, is not try to do everything all at once (a sure way to fail), but to take a thoughtful step-by-step approach that allows us to grow in a way that makes sense for all. At this time, it's a little bit hard for us to support classes that don't fill simply due to lack of resources -- if people aren't signing up for the classes, they aren't paying for them, and offering them for free doesn't work for us right now. This is where funding comes in, and we know we need to raise some seed money in order to give a wide variety of things on She Writes their proper due. We are working on it! Stay tuned. :)

    (And so glad you are trailblazing by utilizing the She Writes Private Writing Room function, Sally! Keep us posted on how that goes, too.)

  • Sally Schloss

    I would like to add my own two cents to this discussion. I think new offerings take time to build audience. There are a myriad number of reasons for this, not the least of which is intimidation about anything new. Then there is overcoming the idea of whether this is viable--will it work for me? Like all class experiences, virtual and otherwise, the question for the attendee is always, how personally useful was this? Did I like the instructor? Were the goals I went in with met by the end? Was I in the right class to meet those goals?

    Full disclosure: I have a vested interest in this because I am offering a Private Writing Room to my own fiction and memoir writing group members through the She Writes classrooms--and I have the same issues with attracting members and building reputation. I have been the marketing director of a number of start up companies in my life and the the most important factors with any new enterprise is promotion, recalibration (as a result of market feedback) and persistence. Historically, for bricks and mortar businesses, the conventional wisdom has been getting over the 5 year hump--if you can do that you are likely to survive. On line, things can travel at lightening speed--just look at how quickly She Writes has grown! And so there is no rule of thumb for making predictions.

    Here are some suggestions about the classes. Offer one class free to a first time user--to test drive. Offer incentives for taking classes until there's buzz, and experienced people are promoting the classes to their writer friends. Tie-in contests with class taking. (Winners of the ___class competition) will be published on the site and receive $100(?), or offer a half hour of talking to an editor, etc. Do follow-up class surveys (groan) as to what was successful and what wasn't. Tie the surveys to incentives to complete them--get a personal half hour with (who's class it is),or 1/2 price off the next workshop taken. (There are a ton of ideas that could come out of a good brain storming session. For that matter, ask your members to offer suggestions as to what would be good incentives for them). Have willing class members blog about their experience in the classes. This gives them exposure, builds audience, and communicates what the benefits of the process are.

    Asking what members want--like you are doing here--is a great thing. But the other part is educating members about what the benefits are of these classes--and then being patient as the number of attendees build.

    I LOVE that all of this is being offered on She Writes. I believe, long term, the classes will become a hit. She Writes members will dictate what classes are wildly popular and what classes you pull the plug on. I think it's amazing that you just keep growing the vision of all the ways writers can be supported here.

  • Julie Jeffs

    For me, and I believe many others we come here for all of it. Classes, promotion, community, help, support ... you name it. Do I think I need classes like what you offer, you betcha (in my best Palin imitation). Do I want classes like what you offer, yessirreee I do. But, I have to make some choices. Although I am in the midst of revisions on my memoir and I'm sure I could benefit from the teaching offered here, I am forced financially to spend my money elsewhere this month and maybe next. I feel a little like the classes would be the perfect way for me to move ahead from my current project (my memoir) to my next (hopefully some fiction) but I can't do it all right now. And, for the stage I'm at I keep thinking in order to keep moving ahead with the memoir maybe for this project I should focus some on the promotion/publication -- or maybe that is just wishful thinking. Would really hate to see the classes go away. I realize how labor intensive they are to produce and promote but like any new venture, it takes time to get it off the ground and make it successful, so right now seems dreadfully early to consider pulling the plug.

  • The Motivator

    It seems most everyone wants the classes--that is, most everyone who responded--a small percentage of the SW community as a whole. Any more input?

  • The Motivator

    I wonder, though, if we know for sure what people come to SW for? Is it for publishing and promotion? Is it also for classes? I'm kinda curious. I know the classes are good. I'm just wondering what expectations and goals people bring to the site when they first land here. Any more comments on that?

  • So helpful, everyone, thank you!

  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    Mary, the raffle is indeed over--there were very few entries--I am off to email you separately. Thank you for partaking, and I love what you wrote as a result of the exercise!!!

  • Mary Keating

    I am always in search of creative ways to develop and enhance my skills as a writer. I took a chance and tried the free mojo, but have not heard if the raffle has been finalized. It was challenging and quite interesting.

    There are so many different talents, levels and abilities on this wonderful sight. I think writers who have been working on their craft for a while tend to find our comfort zones with limited time to get done that which we need to get accomplished. We also tend to stay in that path until acted on by an outside force. Although I love magazine writing and have a growing list of publications in that arena, I often find that my writer's voice in other genres needs guidance and training. It is in these moments when I look outside the box.

    I would be inclined to enroll in a writing course from time to time just to polish, adjust and cover the cracks in my own writing path. Individually, we often are acutely aware of our own potholes and seek to uncover educational opportunities which provide the materials required to fill our own holes. With that said, I would tend to agree with others that information about course offerings would be key. Writers are not only frugal with their time, but with their dollars and we want to know that if we are working on plot structure, time spend in a course would benefit the area in which we need a few more pebbles or perhaps a road grater.

    I definitely encourage the growth of writing/educational course because we all need polishing from time to time. Today, I may need plot structure, tomorrow a course on breaking to a major market, next week character development, and next year how to market and take on social media. But bear in mind, each writer needs a different facet polished at different moments. And with such distinct areas of writers on this site, courses designed to enhance those specific areas of need would be greatly welcomed.

    Hugs and have a great day!

  • Tania Pryputniewicz


    On my way in here to shop for a platform-building webinar (writing coaching), I saw this discussion. I’ll speak for a moment as a “mother-writer” (great group) and say I love all the aspects of this site—and as my youngest child just turned 4 and I’m gradually gaining an extra hour here or there, I foresee having more time to take a class. 3 years ago I started a blog, and just posting there took everything. Then I came up for air to see what others were doing. And now I’m here on She Writes enjoying all the layers of women, conversation, support, potential. The classes are the nitty gritty, the joypart, and eventually more of us will get to take them—so I hope to see continued offerings. As a writing teacher myself I understand the frustrations of tentative enrollment; I hope to take a class sometime this year if I can, and down the road, teach one; what a beautiful community here, so thank you.

  • Meadow Braun

    i wanted to also mention that the way the courses were staggered seemed odd. other classes were starting while i was in word yoga, and i was interested in signing up, but i didn't want to take on two classes at the same time. then, when word yoga was over, there wasn't anything else starting right away, which led me to start looking for comparable classes elsewhere to keep the momentum going.

  • Karen Ann Brady

    Also, no one returns emails when sent to the "contact us" part of your site. Very disappointing.

  • Karen Ann Brady

    The blurb you offer when one clicks on the small "i" really does not give any specific information. It is just a blurb. When one is going to plunk down a significant amount of money, one wants to know what they are going to get/be doing. I was unable to get the "sample mojo" to work for me even though I tried several times and even changed my password in an attempt to get it to work. The idea you present here sounds great, and I would love to take a writing class and be willing to sign up today, but found it next to impossible to do. Maybe the problem you are having is with your site and not your classes. From reading the feedback here, the classes sound very inviting.

  • Karen Ann Brady

    Aargghhh!! I went to the site to try the free mojo and it would not let me enter. Golly!! I am frustrated. I would really like to take a course, and I would really like to try out your morning mojo but your site will not let me enter. Help!!

  • Karen Ann Brady

    I would LOVE to take a writing course. I have sent you a couple of emails requesting a recommendation for a course for me to take, but have recieved no response. I am a begining writer who is interested in writing fiction. How do I get started!!

  • Hi all -- thank you so much for these comments, they are really great feedback and are a huge help to us in getting some insight into your experience with the classes (from those of you who took the first one) and into your experience with the interface itself, which we will learn a lot from. I just want to be clear, I love the classes BK designed; if I didn't, we wouldn't have worked so hard to find a way to offer them here. I was more curious about how members see She Writes fitting into their writing lives -- something important for us to understand as we grow.

  • I am one of the very few in BK's Form Without Formula Class. We're at week 3 of 6. It's an excellent class that would only benefit from more participants! I've taken other (much more expensive) online courses and they offered nothing I could not have found in a writing self-help guide. Word Yoga, at least from my experience, is far more challenging and innovative (and fun). Discussion and feedback - and therefore participants - are vital though.

    I admit that I took chance when signing up for the class. The sample exercise and the blurb were barely enough to convince me - perhaps not enough to convince others. I also agree that the Studio site is a bit clunky.

  • Shelley Schanfield

    I took an on-line writing course through Stanford University and found it less than inspiring. I put this down to the on-line medium itself--the lack of face-to-face contact, the miscommunication about how the course worked, the isolation. (No matter how many people you have in a chat room discussing the week's assignment, you're still alone in front of your computer. That's the beauty of face-to-face workshops and classes.)

    In spite of this, the idea of a "word yoga" on-line course intrigued me as a yogi as well as a writer. Writing is a yoga to me. It had already started when I joined She Writes. Nevertheless I went out with the intention of getting an idea of the curriculum, and found precious little information in the Studio. Click on the little blue 'i' and all you get is a blurb, not anything detailed about how the course works, what the assignments would be, etc. I agree with several others below that getting to the "free sample" was not straightforward.

    Without having more detail, it seemed like the class was just getting some writing prompts, and discussing them in a chat room. The price looked a little steep for that.

    It's encouraging to see the enthusiastic comments below. There is potential. It seems like it's far too soon to take down the She Writes Studio. I'll watch to see how it develops.

  • Maria Clara Paulino

    Definitely 'thumbs up'! As Janell says, 'Sometimes good things take time to catch on.' Like her, I just finished the first Word Yoga class - it was a great experience. Please give it some more time at least!

  • Doreen McGettigan

    I like that the classes are there;they just seemed a bit complicated to get to. I write non-fiction now; but I want to write fiction someday, so I might take a class on fiction writing.

  • Meadow Braun

    i also just finished the first word yoga class here at shewrites and it rocked. over the four weeks, both the quantity and the quality of my writing improved (or at least i like to think so!) the daily exercises helped motivate me to finally start my blog and even inspired my latest post. i would, however, agree with some who have mentioned that the site has a few navigational issues that could indirectly be contributing to low enrollment.

  • The Motivator

    Thanks for the post, Kamy. I honestly believe these classes are the most innovative and inspiring on the internet. I've worked 20 years to develop them. I believe the heart and soul of writing is writing. I think marketing is great, and I love the new social media that puts more power in the hands of artists. But along with that social media comes a great aesthetic responsibility to the landscape of literature as a whole. I hope what people discover in the classes (not learn, because writers already know all they need to know--it's just the constant and continued discovery that makes the difference) contributes positively to that landscape. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this, to ask the question of the SW community, and to gather the honest responses that come in.

  • Hi Kamy,
    I’m the admin for a group here on SheWrites of about 100 plus and I decided to do a little survey. I found that the people who were Inactive, i.e., hadn’t posted since December of 2009 tended for the most part to be either a few high profile published authors, (NYX milieu, large houses) or at the opposite end, unpublished writers or writers published in small local outlets. In terms of discussions most people in the middle (self-published, smaller houses, or first time authors) were the most active and mostly want to chat about promoting their work as has been noted. My unscientific analysis would be that the active group might be boring to the few who’ve been there, done that and slightly intimidating to those who haven’t yet gotten there.

    To be honest I’m sometimes confused about how the SW site works, what’s going on and where to go so I tend to participate only in my groups. Perhaps one way to encourage writing classes might be to let groups know about them and we can encourage members to join in.

    I love the democracy of She Writes and the fact that there are writers at all levels here and even seasoned writers need a brush-up or a chance to try a new genre. It’s exciting and stimulating and it’s great to have a site like this that allows women to support one another in their work. Thanks.

  • Janell West

    I'm biased. Having just finished the first Word Yoga class, I can't imagine why there is already talk about shutting the classroom down.

    My class was wonderful. And I can't wait to take another -- though it may have to wait until I finish my 'capstone' writing project. By mid-May, I'll be ready.

    Sometimes good things take time to catch on. Or to reach the 'right' audience. Give it time. Please.

  • Patty deLarios

    I came here from BK's own writing website http://www.theiwi.com. I've taken many classes and workshops from BK at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, in Boulder and at SMU and think she's a genius. I'd take classes she's built at SheWrites but at the moment the site (IMHO) seems more about women plugging their books than actually wanting to improve their writing. Certainly, the business is important and we want to get published. Perhaps split the site so it feels more intimate and accessible for a fairly new writer like me who is still trying to hone her writing skills? Take a look at her site and you'll see what I mean about "intimate." But yes, I'll try a course. Thanks for your ear.

  • louise Mayer

    I absolutely loved my Morning Mojo Class. I learned so much from the lessons, the feedback and the experience of being with other writers. I can't wait to take the next class. If they don't continue, I'll be sorely disappointed. As for the comment from Judaye Streett, I agree. I persisted and got an immediate response via e-mail and telephone from BK herself. But I agree- there is a glitch in the sign-up process.