Writers change the world.
Making things better is going to take all of us.
We need you.
I wish I could publish my writing, but I’m not sure I’m good enough…?
Maybe you want to see if you really can take your writing to another level. Maybe you’ve wanted to see your name in print since you were a little kid, but getting there seems impossible. Maybe you know that words have power – your words have power – and that putting them out in the world can make things different for someone else – one person, or thousands.
Maybe you want to take your place in the growing over-haul of grief support in our culture.
It’s getting better, yes, but it’s still a relative wasteland out there. We need more voices speaking the truth about grief, and about love. We need writers who speak openly and beautifully about grief. Things change when we share our stories. And, wow – things need to change.
We need your voice in the world.
The jump from personal writing to published writer can seem insurmountable. It’s true – writing isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve longed to share your story with the wider world, I’d like to help you get there.
From Personal to Published is a step by step 7 week course designed to help you move your words out into the world where they can reach those who need them most. If you’ve wondered how to get from your raw words to a published piece, this is the place for you.
Here’s what you need to know about the course:
The what: a seven week course on taking your words from the raw stage of creation to published piece.
The why: sometimes we write just for ourselves: To hear our own truth reflected back to us. To get the words out of our heads. And sometimes, we want something more for our words – not “better,” just different. If you’re drawn to share your writing with a wider audience, this 7-week course will help you define your reasons, hone your voice, polish your words, find the right venue, and speak well to editors. You’ll leave with a solid plan – and solid skills – for moving your work out into the world so it can reach those who need it most.
The format: Each of the seven weekly sessions include a written lesson on the week’s theme, PDFs/handouts, guided discussion questions, and resource links. Each week ends with a live Q&A session. Some weeks include a video interview with a guest teacher riffing with Megan on that week’s topic.
The community: Inside a private facebook group, writers will discuss each week’s lesson guided by a series of questions and conversation starters. At the end of each week, Megan hosts a live Q&A session with the whole group to cover things that have come up as you explore and discuss the material. We’ll schedule the Q&A sessions at a couple of different times/days during the course so we can cover a few time zones. Each of the Q&A sessions will be recorded for students who cannot attend live.
During week three, you’ll share your chosen essay with the wider group, beginning the process of revision and feedback. You’ll get two weeks to work together on your revisions. For the duration of the course, you can share your revision process, as well as discuss your progress with research and crafting your pitch, with the wider community. As always, the community that forms is a huge part of the awesome.
The result: By the end of this course, you’ll have grown as a writer. You’ll have the skills you need to revise and polish your work, and know the steps you need to take to get your words out into the world. You’ll have new ideas of how, when, and where to share your stories. You’ll also have a whole new group of friends to support and encourage you as you find your voice.
The cost: $585
There are two partial scholarships available. Please message us if your financial situation makes this course out of reach. Want to contribute to the scholarship fund? Send us a note about that too!
P2P open enroll
Nope. Please come with one to three pieces you’ve already written. There are no new prompts in this course.
Not perfect at all! One of the big benefits of this course is that you’ll learn to look at your raw words with a discerning eye. How do we keep the emotional intensity, but craft a story that keeps the reader engaged and interested? Bring your messy, but full of potential, pieces.
Maybe! While I can’t guarantee that you’ll be published by the end of the course, I can guarantee that you’ll understand exactly how to get published, and you’ll have the skills you need to increase your chances by a zillion.
In order to keep the group both intimate and productive, class size is limited to 15 people (give or take a couple). When those 15 spots are filled, I’ll start a waiting list. If we get enough people to start a second, concurrent group, we’ll do that. If we get over 30+/- people, I’ll start a waiting list for the next session.
This course does not have a 1:1 component to it, which means I will not be looking at each person’s writing and making suggestions or giving direct feedback. We’ll talk about the revision process a lot in this course, and most of your feedback will come from your connections within the group itself. I’m working on a much longer course for a smaller group of students that will focus, in part, on individual attention. If that’s of interest to you, try this course out first, and let me know what you’d like to see more of in the future.
You’ll do much, much better – and make more progress – if you choose ONE piece to use as practice, and choose it early in the course. You can choose any existing piece of your own writing. This is a course on the personal essay, so no works longer than around 1800 words. I recommend you narrow your choices down to no more than three before the course starts.
Officially, no. The community that forms in each session is housed on a private facebook page. If you want to participate with the group, then yes: you do need a fb account for that. Some people create a facebook account with an alias. That’s fine too. You can also write from the prompts or lessons on your own without being part of the group, and hence, not need fb at all.
Short answer: no. I offer no refunds for any of my courses, books, or downloads. Please take the time to read the course description and see if it’s a good match for you at this time before you sign up.
The next session of From Personal to Published begins in January, 2018.
If you’d like to make real progress in bringing your gifts to the world, come on in. We’ve got work to do.
Class size is limited; register now to claim your spot.
The 7 week From Personal to Published course is $585
Here’s what you can expect out of the course:
- Identify – and articulate – your reasons for writing
- Understand the elements of a good story: what moves a personal essay beyond the personal?
- Revise and polish your essay for publication
- Become skilled at giving and receiving feedback
- Find online and print venues for your work
- Understand what makes a good pitch
- Learn a proven system to increase your chances of being published
- Create a community of like-minded writers working to support and encourage each other – now, and in the future
This course might be for you if:
- You want to be part of changing the cultural discussion of what it means to grieve – and to love
- You want your story to help someone else feel understood, think differently, or act in a new way
- You want to see your words in print
- You’ve written a few good pieces, and you’d like to learn how to polish them for publication
- You’re ready to learn more about evaluation, revision, and the process of pitching your work
- You’d really like some companionship and encouragement from others as you learn all this
This course might not be for you if:
- You don’t care about publishing your work. That’s totally valid!
- You’d rather focus on writing new stuff. In that case, the original Writing Your Grief course a much better fit for you.
- You’re actively in a whole lot of emotional pain, and it feels impossible to take a step back from it. This one is tricky! Sometimes, having something tangible and concrete to focus on is a great help. If you can claim some breathing room around your pain in order to talk about the craft and skill of writing, great. While we create a supportive and understanding community, this course is not focused on support inside the grieving process itself.
This course is definitely not for you if:
- You want a shortcut to publishing, like a favor from a friend of a friend of a friend.
- You don’t want to put in any actual work to make it happen.
- You think your work is perfect as is, and you don’t want anyone telling you otherwise.
- You really don’t like words.
Why am I the one to help guide you? I’ve been a writer for most of my life. I’ve been published online and in print publications (in print even before the internet really happened!). I’ve taught writing – from creation to craft – for over 20 years. And grief writing? Well. If you’re here, you know about that. My new book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK is available wherever books are sold. Most recently, I’ve been seen on Modern Loss, the Manifest-Station, Open to Hope, and the Huffington Post. I’ve been interviewed by the Canadian Broadcast Company, The Start Up Sessions, and Linda Schreyer’s Tears & Tequila, among others. I can’t guarantee you’ll be published, but I can guarantee that after taking this course, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to get there.
We’ve heard from P2P students who started feeling more brave, more skilled, and lots more knowledgeable about what it takes to see their words in print.
How it works for you depends on how much you choose to share and participate, but here’s what some of our students want you to know:
Mark Liebenow 2
Chris G. 2
Jody Bradley 6
Michele Dwyer, RN
I began to write for me, not for others. Very liberating. I became published, and was supported in having it done. I highly recommend this course. It is safe, it is compassionate, there is never any pressure to perform. It is one of the best support systems I found in my search for relief. I was given a platform, I was witnessed, I was not a freak. I learned about my grief, I learned about me.
Want to see what’s involved in this course, and what you’ll learn?
Click here for the breakdown of the course, week by week.
personal to published
Writing about grief, loss, and love is a subversive act. There are so many reasons we take to the page (or the screen). Knowing why you write is a foundational element of any good writing: when you know your why, your words can be even more effective. You can reach your readers’ hearts and minds, giving them seedpods to carry with them far beyond the page.
This week, we’ll look at various reasons for writing, and discuss how you find your own “why.”
The standard narrative structure is the pervasive happy ending story: tragedy-struggle-redemption. It shows up everywhere, from blog post to essay to major motion picture. In much of our cultural story-telling, we expect things to end on a positive note. There has to be redemption. Happy ending stories can make for some great reading, but what if your words don’t fit that model? How do we write without it? Or even – can we write without it? Does everything need a beginning, middle, and a nice tidy end?
In this week’s lesson and discussion, we’ll look at narrative structure: what works and what doesn’t. We’ll look at sample essays, discussing what we see as the author’s intention (their why), and how the author’s voice follows (or doesn’t follow) the expected narrative.
We’ll really get into ideas of what works and what doesn’t in this lesson because next week, we turn our attention to your writing.
Getting from raw writing to polished piece is often a frustrating mystery to new writers.
Crafting an article or narrative for publication involves an entirely different skillset than the act of writing itself. In this week’s lesson, we’ll discuss the difference between the creator and the editor. We’ll cover tips for revision, and how revision is different from proofreading. And for fun: with guest teacher, author Steve Edwards, we’ll look at two essays in their original raw form, and compare them to their published versions.
With help from the wider group, you’ll start working on revisions of your own essay, with an eye to all the things we’ve discussed so far. You’ve got two full weeks to play with revisions.
We’ll begin this week with an exercise on what it’s like to revise and edit such deeply personal material. You’ll have a chance to share your work-in-progress, and ask for help and feedback. Uh oh. Feedback.
We’re an abundantly advice-giving culture. Which could be awesome if you were looking for advice. Often, though, “advice” is just a cover for criticism. How do we give feedback that actually helps? How do we receive feedback without feeling like our experience/story/truth is being questioned or taken apart?
We’ll also talk about larger issues of how we speak to each other, both in this group and out in the wider world. How do writers get along? Is this a competition or a collaborative movement?
This week’s lesson includes a video interview on consent, communication, and feedback with relationship educator Kate McCombs.
Revision and feedback can be a lengthy process. In week five, you’ve got more time to ask for specific feedback, and incorporate others’ suggestions and encouragement. This two-week feedback and revision window lets you make great progress before we move into the pitch process.
We’ve spent some time honing your writing, and you’ve learned a bunch about revision, mission, and voice. Now we need to find just the right place for your work.
What’s the “right place”? Many new writers (and even some experienced ones) send their work out in a scattershot fashion, hoping something will stick. There’s a much more effective (and efficient) approach. We’ll explore some of the major grief outlets, and reach far outside them, too. If we’re going to change the culture, we need to go where people aren’t looking, right?
Once you’ve found your dream sites, finding the right person to pitch and avoiding the dreaded slush-pile is the next challenge. Getting an editor to say yes can seem daunting, true. But there is a system. We’ll go over the steps you need to take to get your words in front of the right person at the right place.
Lastly, we’ll look at what makes a good pitch. One you’ve found the right person and the right place, how do you introduce them to your work? How do you stand out?
You’ll come away from this lesson with tools you can use over and over again as you bring your words to the people who need them most.
In our last week together, we review your revisions, your pitches, and your progress. You’ll be well on your way to moving your words out into the world.
So what happens when those words get out there? In this lesson, we discuss your byline, payment versus “exposure,” follow up and follow through with editors and readers, and how to handle the comments section.
As we wrap up, we’ll discuss the things we’ve learned, and what we hope for the future: in ourselves, in each other, and in the world.
I hope you’ll join me, writers.
The world needs you.
From Personal to Published returns in early 2018.
This seven week intensive course is $585. Space is limited (see above for details).
Note: if you’d rather focus on creating new writing, please join a Writing Your Grief session. There’s no new writing in this Personal to Published course.
Questions? Message the team at support AT refugeingrief dot com (replace AT with @; no spaces). For technical problems, please see this info page. For my return or refund policy, be sure to read this page.