Join me in this two-hour class and discover the Five Things I’ve Learned about writing that breaks down walls and encourages empathy toward others – and about how you can claim and share your personal expertise in your own writing.

My name is Stephanie Land, and I want to invite you to my two-hour class for readers and writers, Five Things I’ve Learned about Writing, From the Margins of America.

I’m the author of two memoirs—Maid and Class, but I got my start as a freelance writer. My first paid essay went extremely viral in the summer of 2015, and I learned that not only did I see the world through a different filter, there weren’t a lot of other people writing through that lens.

I also noticed a lack of empathy toward people who live in what we call the margins of society, especially people of color who live in poverty. Through writing about my experiences, I’ve learned some not so great things about what people think, and how that way of thinking can be challenged and even changed.

My filter was parenting under the poverty line. The reason there weren’t a lot of essays written from that point of view is that creative space is often unaffordable for people who are struggling to work enough to pay their basic living expenses.

I found myself in a niche. I became known as a person who writes about poverty. People started coming to me for essays about it. The writer’s dream, right?

But there was a side to this that affected me deeply in sometimes terrifying ways. I’m not just talking about the comment sections on essays and articles I published, though those were terrible, too. I mean feeling like my personal safety, my children’s safety, was threatened.

Writing about being a single mom on food stamps seemed to invite people to judge me and make assumptions about my life and my ability to mother my children. People said I shouldn’t be able to mother my children or continue living. Over the years, I’ve had my appearance torn apart, been told countless times that I’m taking advantage of systems like food stamps to feed my children because I had a tattoo on my arm, and had nearly every decision I’ve made in my life ripped apart and judged.

I’ve been writing through this filter of parenting under the poverty line for almost a decade, and I’ve learned some things about our society, and what people are really trying to say when they judge me for making what they think are bad decisions.

But I also know that, as a country, we are in dire need of empathy. First person narratives have the power to break down walls and allow people to see how other people live. I do still hold a lot of hope for us as a society if we can learn to see the world through another person’s filter.

For all these reasons, I hope you’ll join me for this two-hour session. It’s intended for any stage of the writing process, and for readers who want to more about how this process works.

I’ll tell you what I believe can help you most as you set out to claim your expertise, and as you shape and pitch your writing to others. I’ll share suggestions for how to keep writing, even through moments that might feel vulnerable or scary. And, I’ll share all I’ve learned about how to protect yourself online and off when the less than positive feedback starts to pour in.

I’m looking forward to our time together. I hope to see you there! 

-Stephanie Land