January Writing Workshops

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Image Credit: Destitute Pea Pickers in California. Mother of Seven Children. Age 32. (“Migrant Mother”) by Dorothea Lange via National Portrait Gallery

Join me for a new series of writing workshops in connection with the exhibition “The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers” at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition combines art and social history with representations of American laborers across genres and centuries of art.

Strike a Prose: Fiction Inspired by “The Sweat of Their Face”
In this creative writing workshop, we will use the photographs and paintings from the exhibition to inspire short stories. We will read and discuss fiction focusing on issues of labor and social justice in the U.S. and write our own stories. Open to writers of all levels ages 18+. All workshops are FREE.

Register: Friday, January 5, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM or Saturday, January 6, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM.

Strike a Prose: American Workers in the 20th Century (Fiction & Nonfiction)
This creative writing workshop will focus on issues of twentieth century labor. We will read and discuss short stories and historical essays, and draw on the artwork in the exhibition to create new writing. Open to writers of all levels ages 18 +.

Register: Friday, January 19, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM or Saturday, January 20, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM.

Strike a Prose: Stories on Their Faces (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry)
Using guided writing prompts, we will develop stories and poems inspired by the portraits and images from the exhibition. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry prompts will be offered. Open to writers of all levels ages 18+.

Register: Friday, January 26, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM or Saturday, January 27, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM.

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Stories Sell. Are You Telling Your Company’s Story?

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How well are you telling your company’s story? How often do you update your clients on your new services? When do you tell people about your successes?

In the current marketplace, ads aren’t enough. Facebook posts aren’t enough. Twitter isn’t enough. For the best results, these pieces should work together with an integrated storytelling strategy.

Stories sell. Companies like Hurley (owned by Nike), Google, Starbucks, and Boeing use strategic stories to build brand loyalty, promote their products, and share their company’s mission and vision.

Your company should be using storytelling (both print and video stories) to communicate core corporate values, to highlight your products and services, and to let people know about all the ways that your organization gives back to the community.

Storytelling should be part of your company’s overall marketing and communications strategy, but it should also involve every member of your organization. As you plan for 2017, think about how you can integrate a storytelling culture into the way that you do business.

Learn six corporate storytelling best practices to get started at read the full blog post.

Raise More Money with Creative Content (Onsite Training)

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Creative content has become a critical part of doing business. How well are you telling your organization’s story?

Whether your goal is to motivate your current donors, reach out to new donors, or secure grant funding, you need stories that convey the impact of your programs and services. If you’re not telling stories, you’re leaving money on the table.

In this one-day training, your team will learn:

  • Best practices for developing stories that inspire and motivate donors.
  • How to find and identify compelling stories.
  • How to plan an annual editorial calendar and production schedule.
  • How to track and evaluate how well your stories are performing.

Willona Sloan has several years of experience as a writer and content developer working with nonprofit organizations. Learn more about how to create a content culture at our organization.

Contact Willona about bringing this training to your organization.

 

Baptism By Fire and Ice: My Journey to Iceland

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View from City Hall

I stepped off the plane feeling sore and sick. My deep rattling cough had started a couple of days before, and now my dream vacation would be filled with phlegm. My body felt like it had been pricked with a thousand tiny needles, and I had spent the night twisting and turning, coughing and shivering under my new parka.

The airport seemed sterile in its precise cleanliness. Few people lurked about. Outside, I scanned the row of shuttle buses, searching for my assigned bus number. I looked up at the dark, sad, grey/black sky.

It was 6:00 AM and it was going to rain.

Here I was. Alone in Iceland.

As we rambled along the lonely stretch of road from Keflavik to Reykjavik I wondered if maybe I should have done more prior research. Bluelagoon39.jpg

Along the highway, piles of jagged, moss-covered lava rock stretched out into the horizon. I saw no buildings, homes, animals or trees. The bus driver mentioned trolls and I understood. If there were ever a place where trolls would live it would be in the crevices of these rocks.

Why was I here? Was it divine intervention or just a good piece of marketing? Was I summoned by elves or pulled by a magnetic force to middle earth? Why was I called to this remote, chilly island?

Continue reading

Summer Writing Workshops!

It’s time to start making money from your writing! Please join me for one of my summer writing workshops at the Bethesda or Capitol Hill locations of The Writer’s Center!

writer with exploding headHow to Write A Lot

Saturday, June 28, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Location: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.) Open to All Levels Cost: $50 Register: https://www.writer.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=353 

Do you find it impossible to squeeze time for creative writing into your hectic life? Well, you can’t publish if you’re not writing. Writing requires discipline and commitment. Here, you will learn how to develop the habits of a successful writer, including how to set and track your writing goals, create a schedule and project plan, and use writing prompts to advance your story or generate new work. We also will do in-class fiction and non-fiction writing exercises designed to show you how to make the most of your writing time. There are no good excuses! This class is for all busy writers.

Break on Through: Breaking into Music Journalism

Saturday, July 12, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.admin-ajax Location: The Writer’s Center (4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD) Open to All Levels Cost: $80 Register: https://www.writer.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=353 Are you interested in breaking into music journalism? Here you will learn how to score interviews with bands and work with record labadmin-ajax (4)els and publicists to review new records. You will learn tips for writing compelling feature stories, artist profiles, and live show reviews. You also will learn how to sell your writing for publication and how to build your own music blog to showcase your work.

Arts and Culture Writing: How to Build Your Portfolio for Publication

(4) Wednesdays, August 6 – August 27, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Location: The Writer’s Center (4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD) Open to All Levels Cost:$135 Register: https://www.writer.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=353 admin-ajax (1) Breaking into arts writing takes determination — and good clips. The best way to land your first paying gig is to have a portfolio of reviews and feature stories that demonstrate your skill and writing style. You will learn tips for interviewing artists and musicians; writing art and music reviews; and contacting record labels, publicists and artists. Through weekly assignments you will learn how to build a professional arts and culture blog to serve as your portfolio, as well as how to market your writing and pitch ideas to publications to sell your first story. Students must complete 400- to 500-word writing assignments each week. You will be encouraged to launch your own arts and culture blog.