The Modes of Writing:
an 8 week online course with Nick Jaina
October/ November class is closed. Upcoming class to be announced.
Video conferences at 6pm PST every Sunday/ Monday
Conferences are recorded and posted that night for easy reference
Questions and sharing encouraged but not mandatory
Cost per student:
(payment plans possible if you write to email@example.com)
The structure for this class borrows from the first eight cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I am interested in identifying "modes," or styles of writing in order to be intentional about them, and find a way to benefit from the different moods we find ourselves in when we show up to the page day to day. Then the work is to combine those pieces into a cohesive whole.
This eight week course is designed to take your nascent idea and bring it into physical form. I have found that most people have a comfort zone of writing: either they like describing a place but are afraid of characters, or they like writing dreamy stuff but it's never funny, or they can write technical pieces but don't know how to animate a story. I think it's worth spending a week each on different phases of writing and see how they all can add up to a more complete piece for us.
This class is appropriate for whatever level of writer you are. I have had people take it just to find some structure in their life so they can start writing, and I have had people attend who are in the midst of writing a book and trying to find their way home.
My main goal is to be an ally for you and offer structured approaches to the creative side of writing in order to gain momentum and have writing be a solid part of your life.
Class size is capped at 12 students.
The Modes of Writing Course Includes:
• An email missive every Monday morning explaining the mode for the week with personal experiences, examples, encouragement, inspiration.
• A live one-hour video conference Monday evening at 6pm PST where Nick discusses the theme and takes questions or comments. This video will be recorded and posted for everyone to watch the same night. If you are shy or retiring, you are welcome to watch it with your camera off or just watch the recorded version.
• Email correspondence with Nick and the rest of the group where you can share examples of what you've written, and learn from other people's take on the assignments. This is a great way to meet diverse writers from around the world and get peer-to-peer encouragement. In my recent class I had writers from Montreal, Austin, San Francisco, Portland, Tampa, London, and other places.
• A recommended reading/ viewing list of examples that illustrate the theme.
A Breakdown of the Themes Covered Each Week
Mode Zero: The Fool: Preparation to Write
Let us figure out how to connect our joy to something substantial. What are the entry points to such joy? How do we capture smoke in our hands?
Mode One: The Magician: First Drafts
Here we start bringing ideas into form, which can be fraught with imperfection, so let's be kind to ourselves.
Mode Two: The High Priestess: Dialogue
Now we can admit to ourselves that a significant aspect of writing involves learning to listen, being patient, cultivating intuition, which are all aspects that the world is in great need of anyway. Do you hate writing dialogue? Most writers do. I think there is a way to approach it that actually makes it one of the most fun things to write.
Mode Three: The Empress: Place
It is important to observe the world around us and appreciate the abundance of fertility and love all of it. Writing about place sure sounds like a relief after subjecting ourselves to dialogue. Let's enjoy this.
Mode Four: The Emperor: Tension
It's time we talk about dramatic tension. Are you nervous? Well, that is what tension is all about. The good news is that we can start to be aware of what tension is, and then harness it on the page to create more compelling writing.
Mode Five: The Hierophant: Archetypal Writing
We can benefit from reaching for outside help. This is a way we can find deeper resonances to our work, bigger arcs that connect to universal experience. In everything that we write, we can go through and find ideas that connect to cultural, historical, mythological archetypes that can help us find ways of expanding our work.
Mode Six: The Lovers: Putting it Together
Editing is a process that happens concurrently with writing. It is a constant action of folding in new pieces, paring them down, understanding the essence of what is really important in our work.
Mode Seven: The Chariot: Moving Forward
We want our piece of writing to have a forward momentum so that we wake up tomorrow wanting to work on it again. This requires us to access some agitation, to lay out an unresolved equation.
Some Questions You Might Have:
Q. I don't really write, but I want to. Is this class for me?
A. It most definitely is. This is a class about figuring out how to build a concerted writing process and move forward with a project that you are in love with.
Q. I've already written a book. Is this class for me?
A. Yes. I wrote one book and on my next one I realized I didn't know what I was doing and had to backtrack and figure out certain mechanics of writing. I love talking about these things in a language that makes sense to me, and I hope it can make more sense to you.
Q. I'm a poet. Is this class for me?
A. I have had poets take my class and I would say almost all of the things I talk about apply across genres.
Q. Why online?
A. I teach a lot of classes in person around the country, but I can't get everywhere. I've had many people ask if I would teach an online version, and well, here it is. Let's do this. I am here at your service.