Online | Fiction | Nonfiction | Seminar

1-Day Open-Genre Seminar: Harnessing Creative Energy

Pandemic, Slack notifications, multitasking, Twitter opinions. They all make it hard to tune into your creative process and listen to your strengths as a writer. So often, we look for answers on “right ways" to ________, but those answers are already within us. Or they are within reach if we are willing to listen and take a look around.

Grace Paley believed that art (and justice) was about “the illumination of what isn’t known, the lighting up of what is under a rock, of what has been hidden.” Toni Morrison spoke about listening to characters who had so much to say she had to shut them up. Call it discovery, play, or curiosity—these are our tools for invention.

Playfulness in the writing process may not always yield “happy” or “funny” subject matter. It yields what gets us from word to word, a new character or voice, an image, a scene, something we didn’t expect to find.

This 1-day intensive fiction workshop is focused on starting new work through writing exercises. These exercises are designed to help us discover 1) how we listen to ourselves while we read and 2) how to find ways to harness what excites us to create.

Before we meet, we’ll complete a reading exercise that we’ll use as the basis of our in-class discussion. In class, after a short presentation, we’ll have a conversation about this exercise. We also will complete one reflective exercise and several creative writing prompts that will help us tap into the inventiveness that language can offer.

This class is open to writers of any experience and genre.

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. This class meeting will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom call will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- Prompts, exercises, and handouts students can use to generate new stories.

- A deeper understanding of personal, creative energy.

- A deeper understanding of what excites us and brings us to the page.

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will complete a reading exercise ahead of class. Reading (one short story) and exercise instructions will be provided. Students will be encouraged to engage in class discussion and should be prepared to write during in-class exercises.

Please note that students will not submit their writing for workshopping.


-Introductions and short presentation on imagination, play, and listening in regard to writing

-Reflective writing exercise

-Short discussion / chat discussion about reflection exercise

-Reading Exercise Part 2: In-class discussion & mapping of results

-Writing Exercise based off of Reading Exercise


- 3 Generative Creating Writing Exercises

-Reflection, sharing, discussion


Amy Sauber

Amy Sauber is a writer and artist, a recipient of the 2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Her stories appear in American Short Fiction, Crazyhorse, The Rumpus, and PEN American Best Debut Short Stories 2017 (Catapult). Her fiction has also been featured on the National Public Radio show Selected Shorts. Recently, her work was noted as a “Distinguished Story" in The Best American Short Stories 2021.

Sauber holds an M.F.A. from the University of New Hampshire. She has taught writing in a variety of settings, including UNH and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Apprenticeship Program. In addition to her teaching, she works as a learning designer and marketing specialist. 

Photo credit: Amy Sauber


“As fiction editor for The Rumpus, I loved finding and sharing stories that crack open ideas about the many identities that women can possess. Sauber’s story is smart, painful and funny—a moving debut.”

Sarah Lyn Rogers editor at Soft Skull Press and former fiction editor for The Rumpus

“It’s been a delight to spend more time with Amy's "I Am the Man with the Horse." It's effortlessly strange and wonderful."

Adeena Reitberger Editor at American Short Fiction

“She has an energy that is contagious. That energy directly reflected in our class.”

Former student

“I really liked her approach to focus on the things working well for everybody. She was a wonderful teacher.”

Former student

"For nearly a decade Amy Sauber has been one of my most trusted friends in the world of letters. And by that I mean I literally trust her with all the letters of all the literary things I’ve written. My manuscripts would not have become books if it was not for her insights, intuitive reading, and encouragement…I would sooner send these vessels to Amy Sauber than a lighthouse for guidance, to steer them away from certain demise and towards the shore.”