7:00 PM19:00

Publishing your Nonfiction Writing and Building a Freelance Writing Career

Some of the most frequent and consistent questions I get are: How did you start publishing your nonfiction? How did you build a career as a freelance writer? How do you deal with friends/relatives/your boss/the world knowing personal things about you? How do you pitch an editor? How do I set my price? Should I write for free? Is it better to send queries or finished drafts? Literary journals or newspapers and magazines?

These are questions I get all the time from students in my classes, friends starting their careers as writers, and strangers on the internet. So, for the first time, I’m offering a three-hour intensive at a fraction of the price of working with me one-on-one, to learn what I did, what worked and what didn’t, and to ask any and every question you have about publishing nonfiction and freelance writing. Come prepared to delve into your unique offering as a writer, what you hope to affect or influence with your work, and how to best do that. Also come with your list of questions about anything freelance, publishing, pitching, privacy-related, and more. 


Where: Gila’s living room in South Berkeley, walking distance from Ashby BART. Address provided with registration.
When: Wednesday, June 20, 7 – 9:30 pm
Cost: Sliding Scale $50-$65
Why:  Because the world needs your voice!! 
RSVP: here

Snacks and drinks included! Tell your friends!

Get your work out there! The world needs your voice!

View Event →
to Jun 13

Find Your Voice and Tell Your Story! Intro to Personal Essay - For Women Only

Join us for a powerful opportunity to find and hone your voice as a writer and as a messy, complicated, joyful person with something to say. Class is comprised of readings, generative writing exercises, and workshops of each other's pieces. This is a private class taking place at my home, contact me for more info! 

View Event →
to Jun 16

Chaos into Form: Writing the Personal Essay

“Personal essay takes the messy unfiltered stuff of life and molds it into something of beauty, meaning, wisdom, and hopefully, a great story,” says instructor Gila Lyons. “It is no small task, but wrangling the blur of life into something crystalline reinforces Isak Dinesen’s famous words, ‘All sorrows can be bourne if you put them in a story.’ And I would add, all joys, confusions, and ponderings as well.”

In this course we’ll read and talk about a diverse array of personal essays by some of the greats, including Langston Hughes, Jo Anne Beard, Annie Dillard, Sherman Alexie, Alexander Chee, and more. Class will be comprised of generative writing exercises and workshops in which we’ll cover such elements as character development, dialogue, plot, humor, and self-revelation. Come see why this innovative form is enjoying such a renaissance for beginning and advanced writers alike!

  1. Saturday, May 12, 2:00pm-4:30pm
  2. Saturday, May 19, 2:00pm-4:30pm
  3. Saturday, June 2, 2:00pm-4:30pm
  4. Saturday, June 9, 2:00pm-4:30pm
  5. Saturday, June 16, 2:00pm-4:30pm
View Event →
10:00 AM10:00

Writing, Literature, and Happiness: Personal Essay Workshop

Our country is founded on the principles of “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But what does happiness look like or feel like in our world today? Is the pursuit of happiness a worthy one or should happiness be the by-product of a life well-lived? What does happiness look like across cultures and time? 

In this course, we’ll attempt to answer these questions by looking at a wide range of literature, from Laozi to David Brooks, Aristotle to the neuroscientist Giles Fraser, the Bhagavad Gita to psychologist Daniel Gilbert, as well as essays and poems by artists and writers. We’ll write about our own thoughts and experiences of happiness (or lack thereof), in response to prompts based on the readings and in free writes. Through studying texts on and writing about identity, materialism, ancient wisdom, mortality, morality, and mindfulness, we’ll make our way to some understanding of the role of happiness in human thought, imagination, and striving, and write compellingly about our own ideas, experiences, and values. 

View Event →
to Jun 17

Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: From Generative to Gleaming

Do you have drafts of essays, memoir, or reported nonfiction pieces you’re ready to push to the next level? Are you stuck with structure, pacing, point of view, or character development and ready for feedback on how to move them forward?

This class is for experienced nonfiction writers who are ready to take drafts from generative to gleaming, who want intensive workshop time (each participant will be workshopped at least three times in this bi-monthly class), and who want to learn through the reading and discussion of the work of others. Instructor Gila Lyons says, "Critiquing the work of others—finding and articulating what does and doesn't work and why—is the quickest way to solve your own writing quandaries and stuck places. Through the supportive and rigorous workshopping of pieces, we'll crystallize the heart and essence of your creative nonfiction pieces.”

Meetings will be comprised of writing exercises, readings and discussions of published work, and craft problem-solving techniques, but the focus will be on workshopping each other’s pieces. Homework, craft discussions, and readings will be tailored to the needs of the group.

  1. Sunday, April 8, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  2. Sunday, April 22, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  3. Sunday, May 6, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  4. Sunday, May 20, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  5. Sunday, June 3, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  6. Sunday, June 17, 2:00pm-5:00pm
View Event →