Nonfiction | Workshop

6-Week Nonfiction Workshop: The Art of Precision & Concision

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“This course was truly a significant life experience for me.” -former Catapult student

What excites me about nonfiction usually doesn’t have to do with the story or the lesson learned—it has to do with the sentences. Learning how to edit for precision will not only help your images, dialogue, and scenes flourish, it will actually afford you the space to write with more freedom and ease.

In this workshop, we will look at writing from many different genres to see which craft elements we can integrate into our own essays, memoir, and creative nonfiction. We’ll look at aphorisms by writers such as Marcus Aurelius and Sarah Manguso, prose poems by writers such as Jennifer L. Knox and Mary Ruefle, and experimental essay forms by writers such as Anne Carson and Elissa Washuta, amongst others. We’ll observe the ways these writers accomplish so much with so few words, and we’ll discuss the appeal of a razor sharp paragraph.

I encourage you to apply even if you feel your writing is too long, too unfocused, or too messy—this workshop will be a place where experiments can flourish and where we think of drafts as simply a place to begin.

In private one-on-one meetings after workshop, we will discuss your writing in further detail, brainstorm possible publication ideas for your work, discuss sustainable writing habits, and go over a reading list that will be personalized for each student.

During this six-week intensive workshop, each student will workshop twice and meet once with the instructor for an individual conference.

Chelsea Hodson

Chelsea Hodson is the author of the book of essays Tonight I'm Someone Else. She teaches in the MFA program at Bennington College and she is one of the co-founders of the Mors Tua Vita Mea workshop in Sezze Romano, Italy. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Black Warrior Review, Lit Hub, and elsewhere.


“Chelsea inhabited the world of my work—the voice, the conflict, and every character—to help me figure out what made the writing tick. Because of this, she not only helped change the sentence by sentence mechanics, but gave me new hope and direction with pieces I had considered lost causes.”


“One of the best literary works I’ve encountered this year... immeasurably powerful... and hits harder than many works ten times its length.”

Tobias Carroll VOL. 1 BROOKLYN

“Hodson's breathtaking lyric style braids art and experience to tell a story about submission, relationships and the body. Pity the Animal is an outstanding example of how far memoir and essay writing can stretch and recoil.”

Tabitha Blankenbiller SPECTRUM CULTURE

“Bracingly good—wild and chiseled, both. Hodson’s bold experiments and assertions feel refreshing and welcome.”

Maggie Nelson author of THE ARGONAUTS

“[In TONIGHT I’M SOMEONE ELSE] there is dark humor, recklessness, exhilaration... I felt I was reading a writer who would tell harder truths than many other writers, and she turns this nerve against herself to good effect.”