This course will walk you through how to craft and sell nonfiction parenting pieces. Our focus will be on personal essays (700-900 words), reported articles (around 1,200 words), and hybrid/first-person reported pieces (1,200-1,500 words). We’ll discuss how to spot trending topics, where to submit work, how to write a pitch, reporting and research, and how to write an engaging piece that challenges ideas and has the power to change minds.
During class there will be opportunities to brainstorm: what you want to write, the points you wish to make, and a plan for how to move forward. A large focus of in-class work will include figuring out how to start your piece strong, outlining your idea, and crafting a pitch, as well as preparing yourself for the revision process with editors and refining your social media platform for promotion and audience engagement.
Students will leave class with a deeper understanding of how to hone in their core topics and market their ideas to publications aligned with their individual style, voice, and interests. Because freelancing can be very elusive, the goal of this course will be to demystify what editors want, how they want it, debunk freelancing myths, and reveal unspoken “rules,” so that you can write and pitch more, and worry about the process less. Whether you’re just starting off or looking to enhance your bylines, this course will prove that a good idea and a good pitch will get you paid as a freelancer and read.
Class meetings 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.
- A formula for crafting a great parenting pitch (personal essay, reported, or first-person reported)
- A generative list of possible story ideas and publications to submit to
- An outline for crafting your essay and article
- Learn how to best approach research with reporting, interviewing, transcribing, among others, for your writing
- Recognizing freelancer etiquette w/ editors and publications
- Understanding freelancer contracts, exclusive rights, negotiations, publication timelines, kill fees, among others
- A process for self-revision, as well as, tips for how to navigate the editing process with an editor
- Tools for building and engaging with your readership on social media
- Marketing and promoting your work and writerly profile
- Connecting with other parenting writers for community and support
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students should expect to spend one hour reading the model texts and noticing the differences between personal essay, long-form personal essay, reported article, and hybrid (reportage and essay).
There will be no submissions shared with other students in this class. However, students may submit one parenting-focused pitch OR one parenting-focused excerpt (one page max) to the instructor and receive brief written feedback.
What to Write
Define your WHY
Identify your HELL YES reader
Finding it a Home
Pitching vs. Writing a Full Essay
Crafting a great pitch
Following up Etiquette
Understanding and Negotiating Your Contract
Writing a Catchy Beginning
Outlining Your Story
Research & Reporting
Trauma-informed journalism, people first language & other considerations
Promoting your work on social media
Building a platform
Marketing yourself & your work
Connecting with other parenting writers
Sarah Hosseini has written reported features and essays for The Atlantic, CNN, Harper’s Bazaar, The Washington Post, among other publications. She also delivered a TEDx talk “Not Sorry” on the stage in New Delhi, India encouraging women to use their unapologetic voices.
She is the creator of Sovereign Daughter, an empowering journaling community that uses expressive writing techniques for healing. She offers online workshops and private sessions. Sarah holds an MFA from Queens University and is currently querying her memoir.
“Sarah has led many virtual sessions at The Jane Club as an instructor. She always shows up prepared, engaged, and attentive to our members; she is one of our most beloved teachers. The amount of thought and effort she puts into her work shows in the quality of her sessions.”
"Sarah does not shy away from controversial topics – she approaches them with curiosity and a desire to explore the issue from multiple perspectives and angles. She is warm and accessible.”
"She’s not a teacher who digresses or loses track of the students’ attention. She’s very present!"