Essay Revision Intensive

Saturday, March 5, 2022 (virtual) 1-4pm EST, $75

You’ve written a personal essay, you’ve revised it, maybe even had a friend read it and give you feedback, but it’s still not quite up to snuff. You know it could be a great piece, but something isn’t quite clicking. Now what?

Revising is an absolutely essential part of the writing process, but sometimes it can be hard to see your own work with a critical eye—especially a piece you’ve already been working on for a while, one you’ve read so many times you can’t tell anymore whether it’s brilliant or awful. During this one-day course, we’ll experiment with different techniques to find a new way into your draft—seeing it with fresh eyes so you can cut away the excess, dig deeper into the richest ideas, and take a fresh approach to structure.

We’ll do a series of short exercises together to get the wheels turning, and then students will work through additional written exercises on their own time after class ends. Through this process, you’ll polish one essay, and learn techniques you can apply whenever you get stuck on future pieces as well. This course is designed for experienced writers who want help shaking things up a bit, as well as newer writers who feel daunted by the prospect of self-editing.

Come prepared with an essay you want to work on (can be any length and any stage of development!). 

Note: This class will meet over Zoom. Students will have opportunities to ask questions, but there's no individual feedback. 

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About the instructor

Lilly Dancyger is the author of First Love (forthcoming), an essay collection about the power and complexity of female friendship; and Negative Space (2021), a reported and illustrated memoir selected by Carmen Maria Machado as a winner of the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards; and the editor of Burn It Down (2019), a critically acclaimed anthology of essays on women's anger from Seal Press.

Lilly's writing has been published by Guernica, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Longreads, The Washington Post, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and more. She is an assistant adjunct professor at Columbia University School of the Arts, and has also taught creative nonfiction for Catapult, Barrelhouse, Gotham Writers Workshop, and more. You can find her on Twitter at @lillydancyger.

Student testimonials

"Lilly Dancyger revolutionized the way I approach revisions. The concrete steps of her process help me tap into creativity and find clarity. Since taking her class I no longer dread the revision process and trust that I can take my writing to the next level."

"Lilly's essay revision intensive workshop is a revelation. Her genius for deconstructing a piece of work before reconstructing it is as fun as it is illuminating. Her tools and insights have transformed my understanding of revision, and showed me how to truly see my work with new eyes."

"Lilly’s instructional approach in the Revision Intensive workshop renewed my energy and sharpened my focus on a promising project. She taught effective revision strategies, allowed us time to use the strategy with our work, and then debriefed before moving on to the next strategy. In three hours, a project that had been stalled out breathed a new life."

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