Writing Workshops for Everyone

We offer a variety of ongoing, weekly workshops to encourage you in your writing practice and explore craft topics, and one-day or half-day workshops packed with craft tips—all taught by experienced WIP faculty.

In response to the Delta Variant and the new Northampton mask mandate, we are keeping all workshops and events online for the Fall Session.  Our online workshops offer the same inspiring prompts, quality instruction, generative writing time, supportive feedback and close community that our in-person workshop are famous for.  To attend an online workshop, just register and the instructor will send you a Zoom link to access the class. We look forward to writing with you soon!  


Weekly Workshops

Morning Jumpstarts, with Dori Ostermiller

Even the most seasoned writers have difficulty carving out time and summoning inspiration. This popular, productive morning workshop provides quiet, structured writing time among peers, some fabulous prompts to get you rolling, thoughtful, encouraging feedback on your work, and inspiring advice and craft tips.  If you’re longing to make serious headway on your projects, or looking for a shot in the arm in a supportive community of writers, bring your coffee or tea and Jumpstart your writing this season! Sells out fast! 

Tues, Thurs, or Friday mornings, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 10-week Spring Session starts week of February 28  ($425)

The Art of Narrative: A Weekly Workshop, with Sarah Earle

In this 8-week weekly workshop, we’ll start each class with a brief craft discussion, then have time to practice that element with generative writing prompts.  We’ll finish each class with a short discussion of student work: each writer will have the opportunity to submit approximately 10-15 pages of writing once per session and receive in-class feedback and professional written comments from the instructor.  Participants will read each other’s work and prepare constructive feedback for use during the workshopping portion of the class.  If you’re in need of regular deadlines, thoughtful feedback, a working knowledge of craft and time to generate work, this is the workshop for you!  

Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; eight-week session begins December 2 ($425) 

Tonight We Write Down the Moon: A Poetry Workshop, with Sarah Browning

Our lives might be busy, our minds distracted. But once a week, for eight Tuesdays, we will cultivate our power of observation, writing poems that love on our five senses. Each week, we’ll explore an element of poetry craft/form, generate new writing together, responding to exercises and creative prompts. We’ll study published examples and learn craft tips.  Participants will also receive constructive professional feedback on a poem!

Tuesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., 8-week session begins January 18 ($395)

Writing from Life, with Emily Lackey

In this weekly generative workshop, writers will receive a series of prompts to help them tap into their deepest material and move them into a sustained period of writing. Afterward, we’ll have the opportunity to share our work and receive thoughtful feedback from the group.  Weekly craft tips!

Mondays or Wednesdays, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.; 10-week session begins the week of January 17 ($395)

Crafting Your Memoir, with Emily Lackey

This eight-week generative online craft workshop is intended for writers who want to explore a variety of memoir-specific craft challenges, including creating dual narrative voices; the challenges of writing about real people in your life; dealing with characterization in memoir; ‘inventing’ dialogue for scenes when you may not remember precisely what was said; handling memory (or lack thereof); navigating narrative time; and believing in and owning your story. 

Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; 8-week workshop begins January 19 ($325)

Revision Intensive: A Six-Month Series, with Emily Lackey

Revision is a critical step of every writer’s writing process. It’s where meaning is made, stories are shaped, and craft is refined. In this six-month Revision Intensive, writers will meet twice a month to study strategies for mastering the parts of their drafts that need the most work, discuss innovative ways to see their drafts anew, set goals for the month ahead, and dive deep into the work of revision. This intensive will help writers of all genres to master the craft elements that will make their drafts stronger, give them time and space to put these lessons to use, and provide the accountability and support to get their drafts done.

Second and fourth Sunday of each month, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; six-month session begins May 8 ($500)

Half-Day & Full-Day Workshops

Publishing Your Poetry, with Sarah Browning

Got poems? Want to publish in literary journals but don’t know where to start? Or need an inspirational shot in the arm to send out more poems? This workshop is for you! We’ll take the mystery out of the process, tell a few hilarious and inspiring stories, walk through some sample journals’ submission guidelines and the submissions platform Submittable, and leave writers with tools and resources to help them get their work out in the world, where it belongs.

Saturday, January 29, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Writing to Astound, with Michael Mercurio

Join poet (and self-described etymological obsessive) Michael Mercurio for this three-hour workshop, and you’ll come away with the tools to punch up your writing, astound your readers, and make your work truly stand out. The workshop includes a brief history lesson on the peculiarities of the English language, an opportunity to discuss some tried-and-true strategies for using words as springboards for inspiration, and plenty of time to explore the power of language.
Saturday, February 5, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Writing Sex, with Emily Nagoski

There are so many reasons to write sex.  Done right, a well-placed sex scene adds depth, nuance and heat to your narratives.  And there’s no better way to reveal character!  But writing about sex is intimidating, and it’s one of the trickiest things to pull off…   Spend a fun, illuminating morning with best-selling author/world renowned sex educator, Emily Nagoski, learning to write sex in a way that is subtle, believable and well, sexy.  Participants move through a series of exercises based on  findings from the science of sex, then transform this knowledge into riveting scenes.

Saturday, February 12, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Building a Book with Good Bones, with Randy Susan Meyers

Are you in the morass of meandering, researching, and sketching your novel but unable to get a firm hold? For those who are beginning a book (or have begun many a book, but never finished), this seminar will provide a working outline for building the framework using the “how do you eat an elephant” approach: one bite at a time. Participants will, step-by-step, move from initial idea to outline. Seminar participants come prepared with their story idea(s), index cards, pens, highlighters, pens and pencils (with eraser!) By the end of the morning, participants will walk out having a skeleton on which to build their novel. 

Saturday, February 26, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

What’s Your Big Idea? A One-Day Workshop, with Cathy Luna

How, as writers, do we uncover the themes or big ideas at the heart of our own stories? In this one-day workshop, we will examine several best-selling memoirs for their themes and play with a variety of active techniques to help uncover and illuminate the big ideas within our own true stories. Workshop participants will leave with a strong sense of their memoir’s theme as well as how to structure their story around this central idea. 

Saturday, March 5, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ($150)

Elevator Pitches and Cover Copy: Finding the Center of Your Story, with Emily Lackey

Imagine your book is finished. You can pick it up in your hands, turn it over, and read the words on the back cover. What do those words say? Jacket copy, or a book’s pitch is not just a marketing ploy. The practice of pinning down what your book is about and why it matters can be a useful tool at every stage of the writing process. It can be a guiding light in the early days of drafting, a line in the sand during the messy days of revising, and a critical component of sending your work out to agents and editors. In this workshop, writers will work through a series of examples and exercises to discover the heart of their stories, the burning belief at the center of the narrative, and why it is necessary to tell.

Saturday, March 12, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Through the Trap Door: Using Images to Access the Subconscious, with Tzivia Gover

In this three-hour workshop, we will explore the imaginative power of imagery that arises from our subconscious and dreams.  Through innovative techniques and prompts designed to access these generous depths, we will call up language that brings new emotional power to our writing. For guidance, we’ll examine the work of writers such as Lynda Barry, Toni Morrison, Lucille Clifton and others who write in this vein, as we welcome a new relationship to our subconscious minds. Writers will leave with tools and techniques for breathing fresh life into your writing!   

Saturday, March 19, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

The Psychology of Strong Characters, with Jacqueline Sheehan

The most memorable characters are driven by powerful forces of fear and desire.  But how do you reveal your characters’ psychology through the action of your story?  In this half-day workshop, Jacqueline Sheehan, New York Times bestselling author and psychologist, shares tools and techniques for applying basic psychology to character development, and uncovering your characters’ psyches through the things they do and what they say. 
Saturday, March 26, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Get Published: Everything You Need to Know About Submitting Your Work, with Emily Everett and Emily Lackey

You know you want to get published—or maybe you already have!—but there are still so many questions you have about the opaque process of submitting your work to literary journals, websites, and magazines. In this half-day workshop, editor Emily Everett and writer Emily Lackey will give you a behind-the-scenes look at both sides of the submitting process.
Saturday, April 9, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Research and Backstory, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Research and Backstory are essential ingredients in narrative—they bring authority, authenticity, and depth to a story. But making those fascinating facts work for you and not against you is tricky. In this morning workshop, we discuss the best sources and practices for research, and how to distill enough backstory into our pieces to lend authenticity, without making them dull.

Saturday, April 30, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Allies and Antagonists, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Where would Harry Potter be without Voldemort and Hermione?  Or Scout without Dill and Boo Radley? The role of secondary characters is not just to populate your story, but to drive it forward. The people close to your protagonist can be antagonists—characters who create conflict for your main character—or they can be allies, who assist the main character’s journey. Spend the morning with best-selling author, Jacqueline Sheehan, sharpening the conflict in your story through that crucial, mysterious energy between characters. 

Saturday, May 14, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Community Writing Workshops

Community Writing Instructors:
January 2: Michael Mercurio
February 6: Dori Ostermiller
March 6: Sarah Browning
April 3: Emily Lackey
May 1: Sarah Earle
June 5: TBD

Community Writing Workshops—Now Online!

Come join us for a morning of writing among peers!  After a short warm up, we’ll engage in a sustained writing period in response to a variety of prompts.  We’ll share some of our work and receive supportive feedback.  Rotating instructors. A great way to jumpstart your writing projects!  Suggested donation of $10.

First Sunday of every month,  9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

Please use the form to the right to RSVP for our Community Writing Workshops. All Community Writing workshops will be held online for the foreseeable future. 


    Manuscript Intensive Series, with Dori Ostermiller

    “I never would have completed my manuscript without the structure of this group and Dori’s loving guidance. She holds an incredibly safe, nurturing yet critically honest space for creativity and the pages to emerge. It’s impossible to measure the value of this program!”
    Carla Savetsky

    Writing a book in isolation can feel like climbing Mt. Everest with no oxygen and no guide!  In order to support and guide writers through this daunting task, we offer the Manuscript Intensive Series, a year-long program for writers with prose manuscripts in progress that call for critical response and new writing.  Writers can be working on novels, short story collections, memoirs or essay collections.  This group will provide the structure, support, inspiration and critical feedback to help writers complete a book-length manuscript.

    This is serious work that gets books written! Dozens of finished manuscripts have emerged from this process, and many have gone on to publication, including Dinah Mack’s Pirates of Cologne, Dusty Miller’s Alice Ott Mystery Series, Ruth Lehrer’s Being Fishkill, JoAnne Jones’s Headstrong, Steve Bernstein’s Stories from the Stoop, and Dori’s Outside the Ordinary World, among many others…

    Applications Accepted Through November