Self Guided

Finding Your Voice(s)

March 7 - April 1; Enrollment is OPEN through March 25th

Level All Levels

A key concern for writers is often “finding your voice”—a concern that is somewhat misdirected.

 

 

Additional Information

Writers, like all people, use more than one voice: we adjust our tone for different situations, borrow rhythms and patterns and phrases from each other, and retool them for different purposes. Rather than settle on a singular voice, we should consider how employing a constantly evolving set of voices is an opportunity to explore what more we can say.

This will be our element of play—and our challenge—in this course. The writers we will read are all engaged with voices as a way to arrive at deeper meaning. We’ll ask: What do these different voices bring to each essay? How can voice help us deal with difficult issues, both as readers and as writers? How does voice relate back to how we see the narrator of the essay?

On the micro level, we’ll pay close attention to what makes one voice different from another, focusing on the patterns of sentences, specific and telling word choice, and what each voice is comfortable revealing. More broadly, we’ll think about how these tonal shifts affect the way we express ideas, make arguments, and expose larger truths.

Each week provides:

  • WEEKLY PROMPTS to help you generate new writing
  • INSPIRATION in the form of written lectures and selected readings

After the course closes, you will receive a zip file containing all of the course content and the work you developed during the month. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes’ Community Page where you can share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and stay connected with other writers.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Voice As Form

In our first week, we’ll look at writing that moves between two very distinct voices. We’ll look closely at the language: where are the boundaries of these voices, and why does the writer use each? You, too, will practice this move, leaning into a discrepancy between two voices and using it to serve your content.

Week 2: Trying ON Voices

This week, we’ll play with trying on someone else’s voice. We’ll look at writers who slip into the voice of their character in one way or another, and ask questions about what is lost and gained in this approach. As an exercise in voice, you’ll compose something in a similar vein, borrowing language from someone else and blending it with your own.

WEEK 3: VOICE AND PSYCHE

In week 3, we’ll  look at how different voices interplay within a single writer. Writers often move between different voices that represent parts of their own psyche, blending them together to express ideas or experiences that are particularly trying. You’ll work now in this vein—finding different voices not from without, but rather parsing the voices you already have within.

Week 4: The TExtures of Meaning

For week 4, you’ll bring together the different skills you’ve been practicing throughout the course in a final exercise. You may draw from the voices of the people you’re writing about, phantom public voices, voices from other forms or texts, or voices within yourself. You should, however, go beyond quoting. In some way, these voices should be embodied by you, the writer, or embody the issues you’re considering.

View Complete Syllabus

Course Registration

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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

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Testimonials

I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill

Self Guided FAQs

  • How do I prepare for the webinar?

    We usually open the webinar 3-5 minutes prior to start time (see webinar invite) so you can check your audio settings and make sure everything is working properly on your end. The host will welcome everyone and ask you to introduce yourself and share where you’re joining from in the text-based chat. Participation in the chat is optional.

    The actual webinar program usually gets rolling five minutes after the start time. This is also when the recording starts if you watch the video afterward.

    No one can hear you or see you during the webinar. The only people who are visible and can be heard during the webinar are the instructor and host.

    Audio Settings:
    If you’re unable to hear any sound during the webinar, please look at the bottom left of your Zoom window for Audio Settings, and click the small arrow to check your settings.

    Getting familiar with the Zoom software

    There are several ways to interact with the presenter and other students during the webinar:

    *Live chat

    *Formal Q & A window

    Live Chat:
    The live chat is where you can exchange messages in real time with other students attending the webinar, as well as the instructor and host. Usually your chat visibility defaults to just the presenter/panelists. If you want everyone attending to see your chat message (and most people do), then you need to select “everyone” or “all panelists and attendees” in the chat window.

    How to banish the chat:
    We encourage you to make use of the live chat throughout the webinar because it’s one of the great benefits of joining the live event. However, some find the chat distracting and would like to turn it off. As of today, Zoom doesn’t allow students to disable the chat, but there is a way to effectively “banish” it if you do not want to see it:

    1. Click the Chat icon at the bottom of the Zoom window
    2. When the Chat appears on the side of your window, click the small arrow icon and select Pop Out, which separates the Chat into its own free-floating window
    3. Then, using your cursor, drag the Chat off the side or bottom of your screen

    Formal Q & A:

    All webinars include time for Q & A with the presenter. This will be included in the recording.

  • How can I download the webinar recording?

    In most cases, unless you see the download arrow under the recording window, you will not be able to download the recording. You will have ongoing access to the recording link to view at your leisure. You can download any supplemental materials provided by following the links in the webinar recording description. The recording will be sent to you three days after the live event.

  • I did not receive the recording for a webinar. Can you re-send it?

    Yes, we’re sorry this happened. These messages are sent from “[email protected]” and sometimes go missing. Please email us and we’ll respond with a link to the recording.

  • When will the recording be available?

    We ask for 3 days to send you the recording. If you do not receive it within that time frame, please contact us and we’ll assist you.

  • Can I still register for [x] webinar?

    If the webinar is not marked “sold out,” you can still join.