Writing about Food

Good food, bad food.
Fast food, Slow Food.
An excess of food, a scarcity of food.
The history of food, the future of food….

This workshop starts with a smorgasbord of classic food
writing and newfangled forms. We’ll analyze everything
from restaurant reviews to food blogs, fiction to personal
essays. At the core of our reading: rich, piquant writing
that features food, glorious food.

During this weekend, you’ll write one food-centered piece
of your own. As usual with the Amsterdam Writing Workshops,
there will be no criticism issued in this class. Instead,
expect instruction, inspiration, and editorial advice.

All levels welcome.
Non-native English speakers welcome.

Simply Writing

The Professional’s Approach to
Just Getting It on the Page

At Simply Writing, we'll define ways of making writing a more natural process; more time-efficient; and more fun. If you're a beginning writer, you'll receive guidelines for getting started. If you're already writing, we'll pinpoint how to become more productive.

For this group, it simply doesn't matter what you're planning to write: articles, novels, screenplays, reports.... You'll receive the personal attention needed to help get your ideas on paper.

“After taking the SIMPLY WRITING workshop, I started writing every day.”
- Karen

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Writing Memoir

This workshop has one focus only: to help you create—and complete—one personal essay during the weekend.

Why write an essay?

Because, as the writer Carol Bly says, “an essay is 3,000% easier
to write than a short story.” The essay is a scalable form.
Working in this form can help you:

> access the stories that you want to tell
> learn more about literary structure
> gain the confidence to actually finish a piece
> transition your skill to fiction and memoir

Non-native speakers of English welcome

From Blog to Book

How do we turn blogs into books? 

How do you deploy your voice as a blogger? Stay current with your blog? And get compelling material on the screen—and the page? 

From Blog to Book will help you define the differences between digital media and print. You’ll clarify your material. Commit to a strategy for writing entries on a regular basis. And envision your book as a result of your blog. 

In this group, you will write more material for existing blogs—your own or others’. From Blog to Book is also an opportunity to start a new blog. Every participant will take his or her writing further: to digital and print formats that communicate, educate, and entertain. 

At From Blog to Book, you will: 
>        write & revise blog entries—personal & commercial 
>        choose a clear direction—for both blog & book 
>        study blog prototypes that later became books 
>        refine your voice as blogger & book author 

Writing Nonfiction

Nonfiction is now more abundant than ever—we read it in magazines, newspapers, books, on the Internet…. And nonfiction writing is wonderfully varied; memoir, biography, history—all this, and more, “counts” as nonfiction.

At this workshop, we’ll explore how to make nonfiction happen on the page, including:
> how to find focus within subjects of interest
> how to research authentically, for surprising results
> how to interview successfully—for provocative quotes
> how to write well-structured, compelling, true prose.

Beginners and non-native English speakers welcome.

“Now I know what my priorities are, how to organize my notes and work with my material.”
- Isabella

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The Short Story

Writing a short story is a wonderfully intricate process; we make hundreds—if not thousands—of creative decisions in the course of telling a single tale.

In this workshop, we’ll find ways of focusing those many decisions into what works for you as a storyteller:
> How are stories structured?
> How do we create compelling characters?
> What is the impact of setting on a story?
> How much plot does a given story need?
> How do we rewrite stories successfully?

We’ll have two writing sessions during the weekend. Your work will be read aloud—anonymously, so there’ll be no embarrassment, no competition.

And, as always, criticism plays no part in this group. Instead, we’ll solve persistent writing problems; expand your writing strengths; and integrate new techniques. You’ll leave this workshop with one “finished” short story—and a paradigm for how you, personally, approach storytelling on the page.

"The workshop was intense, in a good way...I learned that I can generate good raw material in a short time."
- Marco

Writing what You Know: Transforming Experience into Words

Stories, reports, articles, novels—everything we write draws on experience in some way. Yet processing experience is anything but straightforward. How often do you write about an event, only to find you’ve not captured its essence?

In this two-day workshop, we’ll find out how to craft real life into brilliant writing—both fiction and nonfiction. On both days, we’ll generate material through writing sessions. And, as always in the workshops, there’ll be no criticism but encouragement and sound editorial advice.

All levels welcome.
Non-native speakers of English welcome.

The Art of Revision

"Writing is rewriting," the adage tells us.

But how—literally—do we rewrite? How do we decide what to leave in and what to take out? How do we determine the scope of a piece, especially where to start and end? Do we edit line by line, paragraph by paragraph—or make the professional leap of re-structuring first?

During these two afternoons, we'll learn how enlightened writers edit their work. We'll practice revising short, existing texts. (There's no need to have generated your own material for this class.) And given the overlap of fiction and nonfiction, we'll learn professional revision techniques that apply to both.

As usual with the Amsterdam Writing Workshops, there will be no criticism issued in this class. Instead, there'll be instruction, inspiration, and editorial advice. The driving force of this weekend: learning to take command of your words on the page—new ways to shape, craft, and improve your own writing.

All levels welcome.
Non-native-English speakers welcome.

The Craft of Copywriting

Writing copy for clients can be a straightforward process:
> You’re asked to write something.
> You put words on the page.
> You receive money in exchange for your work.

But how do you:
> choose which words—literally— to use?
> finish assignments quickly and accurately?
> develop a voice that clients will approve?

In this workshop, you’ll learn a practical approach to writing
brochures, articles, websites, and more. You’ll leave knowing:
> how to write for different audiences.
> how to structure your work.
> how to generate creative copywriting ideas.
> how to research your projects.
> how to write credible text.
> how to edit your work into finished pieces.

"An excellent workshop full of really practical tips, loads of peer-sharing moments and bursting with inspiration."
- Lesley

The Sensations of Poetry

Taught by guest instructor Ann Koshel van Buren

Poetry is the synthesis of sensation; it is a place where the effects
of the physical and historical world around us can be diminished or magnified by calling attention to specific sights, scents, and sounds.

In this workshop, we will use experiential and analytical methods to unlock the senses that are tamed and sometimes defeated by everyday life. We will re-shape our impressions—and find their best expression on the page.

In our own poetry and the works of others, we’ll look at:

> Poetry and visceral memory
> Poetry and society
> The physical impact of the poetic form

Participation in this workshop requires openness, respect, and a willingness to explore the effects of our own words and the words of others.

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is at hand.
Each year it draws thousands of writers world-wide.

The challenge? To draft a novel in one month.

Join us on October 29th, when Nico Janssen and Lisa Friedman will kick off the event. In a two-hour mini- workshop, we’ll reveal the professional’s approach to being productive—and getting that first draft of your novel on the page.

Your hosts: NaNo veteran Nico Janssen &
Lisa Friedman of the Amsterdam Writing Workshops
Suggested donation: 10 euros

The Novel

Writing a novel is often a marathon experience. The challenges are in starting; in keeping the faith; and, of course, in finishing.

During the weekend, you’ll get an overview of what it takes to complete a novel. You do not need to be working on a book to attend the workshop. Whether you're a beginning or established writer, you'll receive the information and the insights to get the words on the page.

“I think my biggest take-away was to put my head down and write--as regularly as I can, as much as I can…"
- Vivek

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The Business of Copywriting

In this two-day workshop, we'll look exclusively at the commercial side-not the craft-of copywriting. It's all about raising the writer's commercial IQ, the ability to:

> find the "best" formats: ads, articles, speeches, websites....
> inspire trust in potential clients
> choose the payoff: money? Prestige? Creative freedom?
> sell copywriting services
> create airtight proposals
> manage time—a vital asset
> negotiate contracts-including price, scope, & deadline
> build a diversified writing portfolio.

The weekend will be hands-on: each participant will receive one-on-one coaching in the context of the group. We'll sidestep competition by leaving out client names and focusing on the principles of successful copywriting.

Find out more about our copywriting workshops.

Writing for the Web: A Professional How-to

"Write short. Keep it simple." The standard directions make Web-writing sound easy.

But in practice, Web-writing can be complex. For example:
> How do we write short—and still capture meaning?
> How do we avoid generic-sounding text?
> Which writing techniques best fit the Web?

In Writing for the Web, we’ll learn to create quality Web content. We’ll work with corporate sites, personal Web pages, and blogs as examples.

The goal: increase your marketability as a Web-writer in one intensive weekend!

Find out more about our upcoming web-writing workshops.

"The workshop exceeded expectations--the information was excellent, the atmosphere both friendly and professional. The very participatory approach kept things lively."
- Shelley

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