Career Skills

Upcoming classes: Career Skills

Maw Shein Win

Susan Ito





In this interactive, one-day workshop, we will collaborate on producing a zine together. Instructors Susan Ito and Maw Shein Win will introduce a host of collaborative writing exercises to ignite your imagination and push your creative practice to new places. We will share inventive strategies to generate fresh ideas and inspire your writing through working and playing together. You will learn how to physically construct your own zine that includes work from the whole group.

At the end of the workshop, you will leave with a unique collaborative zine of words and images as well as an invaluable list of resources and exercises to keep you moving forward in your writing and creative life. This lively and engaging workshop is excellent for both poets and prose writers who have an interest in collaborative writing. Beginners are welcomed, as well as experienced poets, writers and artists who are looking to stretch their creative boundaries.

Light snacks and beverages provided. Bring a notebook.

Maw Shein Win is a poet, editor, and educator who lives and works in the Bay Area. Her writing has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Poetry International, Poets and WritersCimarron Review, Fanzine, and others. She is a member of the The Writers’ Grotto, and her poetry chapbook Score and Bone is on Nomadic Press (2016). Her collection Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. Maw is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito (2016 – 2018), and her forthcoming full-length collection will be published by Omnidawn in 2020. She is a 2019 Visiting Scholar in the English Department at UC Berkeley.

Susan Ito is author of The Mouse Room. She co-edited the anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption. She has been a columnist and editor at Literary Mama, and her work has appeared in Growing Up Asian American, Choice, Hip Mama, Catapult, The Bellevue Literary Review, Making More Waves and elsewhere.  She has performed her solo show, The Ice Cream Gene, around the United States. She writes and teaches at the Writers’ Grotto, at Bay Path University and Mills College.

Number of sessions: 1


Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Date: Saturday, December 14th

Course fee: $100




SUNDAY, JAN 26  |  * EAST BAY * | Save thousands of dollars hiring professional editors by learning to edit your own work. As a freelance book editor of 16 years, I see the same mistakes over and over. From exercises to improve your story arc, character development, dialogue and description, to tips for copyediting your completed manuscript, I’ll teach you how to turn your good manuscript into a great manuscript in this one-day intensive workshop. Bring a sample of your work (10 pages) and lunch.

Meghan Ward is an author, book editor, and social media consultant. She blogs about writing, publishing, and social media at and is the author of Runway: Confessions of a not-so-supermodel. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, San Francisco Magazine, 7×7, Mutha, the San Francisco Chronicle, It’s So You: 35 Women Write About Personal Expression Through Fashion and Style, and Wake Up and Smell the Shit: Hilarious Travel Disasters. Follow her on Twitter @meghancward, on Facebook @meghanwardauthor and on Instagram at meghancward.

Class held at Sports Basement in Berkeley, 2727 Milvia St.


Number of sessions: 1

Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Date: Sunday, January 26

Course fee: $195

Laird Harrison




SUNDAY, JAN 26 | Getting published is a thrill, but competition is stiff. To succeed, you have to carefully plan your career.

In this survey course, you’ll create a roadmap to your fondest literary ambitions. Do you want to make money? Get published in top magazines? Hit the bestseller list? You’ll learn to evaluate the market for your work by analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, finding your competitive edge and identifying your niche. You’ll lay out each step you must take to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Among the topics covered:

  • Setting goals
  • Psychological obstacles
  • Market research
  • Accounting
  • Negotiating rates
  • Pitching
  • Time management
  • Professional organizations
  • Contracts
  • Working with literary agents
  • Developing relationships with editors and publishers

Number of sessions: 1


Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Dates: Sunday, January 26

Course fee: $95

Laura Fraser



MONDAYS, JAN 27–FEB 10 |Whether you’ve always dreamed of writing professionally, you already do, or you’d like to figure out how to create better content for your job or business, this class will improve your writing in three weeks – guaranteed!

The first week, we’ll start off with Story and Structure. This will help you start the writing process: from getting over writers’ block, understanding your audience and purpose, doing research, brainstorming, and creating an outline so that your writing is engaging, logical, smooth, and satisfying to the reader. We’ll also remind you of stuff you should’ve learned in high school but may have forgotten: how to avoid the dreaded passive voice, weak verbs, excess verbiage, and a corporate or academic tone.

The second week, we’ll dive in to Revisions and Style. That will help you cast a critical eye on your creative efforts to become a clearer, more compelling writer. We’ll cover ways to cut clutter and make your writing sparkle. We’ll talk about the basics of good narrative and do a few writing exercises so that you will have hands-on experience revising your work as well as editing others’ pieces.

You’ll bring in a short piece you’ve written to the third class, Workshopping, so we can help you revise it. At the end of the three weeks we’ll toast our success as better writers. You’ll leave with that great feeling: Hey, I can write!

Laura Fraser is a New York Times-bestselling author of three books who has worked as a freelance journalist since she graduated from college. She has written hundreds of articles for national publications, including at The New York TimesGourmet, Sunset, San Francisco MagazineO: the Oprah Magazine, and many others. She has taught writing at universities and writing conferences, as well as at the Grotto, for over 20 years. She conducts workshops internationally in writing and digital storytelling for corporations and non-profits to help people everywhere be better writers. She’s also the niece and mentee of the late William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well. She brings a sense of humor to class, and sometimes snacks.

Number of sessions: 3


Time: 5:45-8:15 pm

Date: Mondays, January 27, February 3, 10

Course fee: $225

Lyzette Wanzer




WEDNESDAYS, JAN 29–FEB 26  |  This workshop, especially designed for African American, Latinx, Asian, and Middle Eastern descent writers working in all genres, is an empowering, vital workshop addressing the practical concerns of establishing a sustainable literary career in the Bay Area. The truth is that building a writing career requires both creative and business skills, just as it does for other artists. If you are serious about your writing and want to increase your professional opportunities, as much work needs to happen outside of the studio as within it. In this intensive boot camp, you will learn:

  • How to harness professional free and low-cost tools to help track your writing output, submission markets, and contest entries, and grant and M.F.A. applications
  • How to develop and use a literary calendar to increase opportunities
  • The importance of having an artist statement, and how to write an effective one
  • How and where to locate solid, trustworthy submission, grant, fellowship, and residency markets, including markets specifically geared for underrepresented writers
  • How to strengthen your grant and funding applications
  • How to use your LinkedIn profile to develop local, regional, and national literary opportunities
  • How to create a professional literary CV

You will receive a comprehensive packet of handouts to guide you as your career begins to build. This bootcamp is geared for creative writers who are ready to engage in the not-so-sexy but essential steps necessary to advance their careers and promote their work. A laptop, tablet, or notebook computer is required for this class.

Lyzette Wanzer, M.F.A. is a San Francisco writer, editor, and creative writing workshop instructor. Her work reflects the peri-racial, social, and economic experiences of African-Americans and others in these times. Lyzette’s work has appeared in over 20 literary journals. She is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays (Wyatt-MacKenzie), The Naked Truth, Essay Daily, and San Francisco University High School Journal. Lyzette has been awarded nine writing residencies across the country and in Canada.  She is the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, three Individual Artist Commission grants from San Francisco Arts Commission, and three Professional Development Grants from the Creative Capacity Fund.


Number of sessions: 5

Time: 6 pm–8 pm

Dates: Wednesdays, Jan. 29; Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26

Course fee: $280

Laura Fraser



MONDAYS, FEB 24 —MARCH 9  | Whatever kind of book you want to write – fiction, memoir, business, how-to, children’s– this class will help you take an idea you’re passionate about and show you how to develop it, and get it edited, published, and into the hands of readers. We will demystify how to pitch your book, write a proposal, land an agent, and find the right publisher. We’ll discuss ghostwriting, freelance editors, how to handle revisions, cover designs, excerpts, book publicists, and self-publishing vs. legacy publishers. We will also walk you through what you need on your author website, and how to attract readers via social media and other avenues.

This class is for anyone who wants to write a book, at whatever stage of the process. Note that this is not a class for workshopping your book, but for getting it into print. You’ll leave with an elevator pitch, a longer pitch, and a roadmap for turning your book idea into a reality.

Laura Fraser is the author of four non-fiction books, including the New York Times bestseller, An Italian Affair. As the co-founder and editorial director of Shebooks, she published 75 ebooks. She has also ghost-written a couple of books, and coached authors through several others. She’s familiar with the publishing process from agents and auctions to the font type of the pages. She has taught at numerous venues, including, recently, a class on book editing at the Aspen Institute. She brings snacks and a sense of humor to class.

Number of sessions
: 3


Dates: Mondays, Feb. 24; March 2, 9

Time: 5:45 pm – 8:15 pm

Course fee: $225

Meghan Ward




WEDNESDAYS, FEB 26–MARCH 18  |  Save thousands of dollars hiring professional editors by learning to edit your own work! As a freelance book editor of 16 years, I see the same mistakes over and over in manuscripts. From exercises to improve your story arc, character development, dialogue, and description to tips for copyediting your completed manuscript, I’ll teach you how to turn your good manuscript into a great manuscript in this four-week workshop. Prepare to submit 10 pages of your work.

This is an online class. Your instructor will tell you how that works.

Meghan Ward is a writer, professional book editor and the founder of, a blog about writing, editing, publishing, and social media. Her clients include novelists, memoirists, nonfiction authors, short story and personal essay writers, and PhD candidates. Through 15 years of editing experience, Meghan has developed a series of steps every writer can master to improve their stories, clean up their writing, and save thousands of dollars on freelance editors. Follow Meghan on Twitter @meghancward, on Facebook @meghanwardauthor and on Instagram at +meghancward.


Number of sessions: 5

Time: Online; asynchronous. Classes post on Wednesdays.

Dates: Wednesdays, Feb. 26, March 4, 11, 18

Course fee: $295


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