Yearlong Workshop

Yearlong Workshop Overview

Fishtrap’s Yearlong Workshop is a 13 month intensive writing program modeled after low-residency MFA programs, with short, intense group sessions framing a year of long-distance instruction, offered at about half the cost of most low-residency MFA programs. If you don’t need a degree, but just want high-quality, sustained support and instruction for your writing, this program could be the perfect one for you.

The Yearlong program begins and ends with attendance at Summer Fishtrap, where students and faculty meet as a group for  morning workshops. A mid-year meeting brings the group back together in January. For 2014-2015, the January term will take place in Virgin, Utah near Zion National Park at Teresa Jordan’s Blue Gate Studio. In between these face-to-face meetings, participants work closely with their instructor, exchanging monthly packets of writing. With each packet the writer moves toward the development of a full-length manuscript with a goal of having a complete draft by the end of the course.  Now in its seventh year, the Yearlong Workshop has already helped Fishtrap writers generate many manuscripts. Recently, Pam Steele published the novel she worked on in a Yearlong Workshop with Jane Vandenburgh, Greasewood Creek.

Generally, writers submit a packet of writing to the instructor each month for critique and comment. Feedback may be via email, regular mail or phone, depending upon the situation and the format preferred by the instructor. Developing the discipline required by these intensive writing workshops is deeply rewarding — writers who have completed one of Fishtrap’s Yearlong Workshops report major breakthroughs and life-changing experiences. The personal commitment on the writer’s part is echoed by that of the teacher.


Yearlong Workshop: 2014-2015

The Writer’s Pilgrimage: A Yearlong Workshop in book-length creative non-fiction

Writing a book is a hero’s journey, a call to leave ordinary life behind and face obstructions and danger in order to bring a treasure back to humanity. In the process, the hero or heroine–in this case, the writer–is transformed, and this year-long intensive is a pilgrimage not only to find the life in that subject that you can’t leave alone, but also to develop the ability, faith, courage, and stamina required to wrestle chaos into form and progress toward becoming the writer you want to be.

As Joseph Campbell reminded us, a mentor and allies are invaluable along the way. Teresa Jordan has earned a reputation as a generous and insightful teacher at colleges, universities and writing workshops across the West. She will guide students in the habits of work and imagination that make a writing life sustainable, and will help the workshop cohere as a community able to nurture each member’s creative endeavor. The class is open to all types of narrative nonfiction including memoir, literary journalism, biography and travel or food writing. Participants should have a book underway or clearly in mind and be able to commit to a year of focused work.

Yearlong Workshop is SOLD OUT. Look for a new Yearlong program starting in 2015.

Teresa Jordan

Teresa Jordan is an artist and author whose books include the memoir, Riding the White Horse Home and two illustrated journals, Apprentice to Place: Field Notes from Yosemite and Raging River, Quiet Mind: Field Notes from the Grand Canyon. With her husband, Hal Cannon, she created the series The Open Road for public radio’s The Savvy Traveler. Her newest book, The Year of Living Virtuously, Weekends Off, is a collection of essays inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen virtues and the seven deadly sins. It will include her artwork and is forthcoming from Counterpoint Press in 2014. She has taught memoir and creative nonfiction at colleges, universities and workshops across the West, including the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis and Clark College, Fishtrap, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Writers@Work and, as Writer in Residence, at the Universities of Utah and Nebraska. Her experience teaching a year-long course on Writing for Artists at the Oregon College and Art and Craft with Kim Stafford several years ago provided her with so much growth and delight that she has jumped at the chance to teach this year-long intensive for Fishtrap.

Comments from recent students:

  • Teresa is a gentle and generous and immensely effective instructor, bringing her gifts as a both a literary and a visual artist to bear in every minute of every class.
  •  I loved this class. It made me believe in myself as a writer again. Teresa has a gift for maintaining a high level of discussion and standards, and at the same time embracing the class with her warmth and sincerity.
  •  I would absolutely recommend the class to a friend. Learning that there is a process and structure is so helpful.  The books recommended were perfect.  Teresa’s grasp of the writing craft is impressive and her teaching style is very engaging and gentle.
  • It was an incredible gift from the universe to be able to be here and feed my artist’s soul. I appreciated Teresa’s humbleness, competence, kindness, compassion and encouragement.

2014-2015 Yearlong Workshop is SOLD OUT. 

Look for our announcement of the 2015-2016 Yearlong program this Fall.