Writing Our Grief: How to Channel Loss into Creative Expression

with Rudri Patel

grief writing course

October 12, 2022 | 8 Weeks |

$495.00

Text and Live Video

Sometimes dealing with grief on our own can feel like we’re alone. Writing about loss, death, sadness, and grief can feel intimidating because we’re excavating our deepest vulnerabilities, and this means confronting buried emotions. It might be difficult to process the wide range of emotions that accompany loss—everything from sadness to anger to relief. However, finding a place to allow these feelings to land can be liberating—not only for one’s writing, but also cathartic personally.

In this personal essay course, we will learn how to tell the stories that impact us the most through creative writing about grief, pain, and loss. The objective of this course is to mine our feelings of loss and try to capture them onto the page. This course will give participants the permission and tools to become more comfortable about writing death and loss. Through the course of eight weeks, we will read other writers and their essays on the subject of loss, death, and grief, and delve into the stories that individual participants would like to explore.

Students will receive feedback on short writing exercises based on prompts, as well as the chance to workshop an essay with the instructor during the class. Participants will leave this class learning how to tackle death, loss, grief in the space of a personal essay. Students will learn how to make the personal universal. There will be also class discussion on the materials. Students will receive extensive feedback on two essays during the 8-week period.

I highly suggest this class, so much so, I’m gifting it to a friend. Don’t hesitate. Take this class!
—Linda Ragsdale

Weekly Zoom Meeting Schedule

The course’s weekly Zoom meetings will take place on Wednesdays at 8:00 PM Eastern time. Meetings will be one hour to 90 minutes in length.

Creative Writing About Grief: Course Syllabus

Week 1: Welcome and Introductions/Why write nonfiction essays stemming from loss or tragedy?

How do past journal or diary entries help you excavate the grief you’d like to write about in your essay? Work on in-class writing prompt on three pivotal moments that seem compelling for you to excavate in an essay.

Week 2: Different ways to brainstorm our grief to write our best essays.

Writing about grief is often difficult and sometimes it takes work to pen our most difficult feelings. In this session, students will learn techniques re: brainstorming on their essay topic. It will include information on mind mapping, traditional outline structure, and using photographs to generate story ideas.

Week 3: How to begin the grief essay?

Knowing where to start the grief essay is important. We will look at various essays and how they begin. How do we engage the reader with the very first sentence of our grief essay?

Week 4: Navigating the middle of our grief essay and the narrative arc.

For an essay to feel genuine to the reader and the writer, the narrative arc has to hit the right points. We will work through the middle of our essays to excavate the tension sometimes the middle poses when writing about grief.

Week 5: Giving ourselves room to breathe when writing grief essays.

Sometimes creative writing about grief raises difficult emotions/feelings. What to do when we feel stuck? How to forge forward as we navigate our emotions and confront sadness and truth in our writing. We will cover strategies on how to handle this grief in a way that will channel our best essay writing and focus on healing too.   

Week 6: Looking at endings in our essays.

Grief is something that doesn’t end and how do we capture that sentiment in our essays? This is tricky terrain, especially as we are trying to navigate our feelings in our endings even though the grief lingers outside the page.  

Week 7: Putting it all together.

How does they essay come across in terms of prose and lyricism? We will look at how the essay is elevated through metaphors and the use of craft.

Week 8: Looking at markets and the feeling after publication of our grief essays.

We will talk publication and markets and whether you’re in the right mental place to publish your essays. How do we navigate the questions that come after readers read our vulnerable pieces on grief?

Why Take a Creative Writing Course with Writers.com?

  • We welcome writers of all backgrounds and experience levels, and we are here for one reason: to support you on your writing journey.
  • Small groups keep our online writing classes lively and intimate.
  • Work through your weekly written lectures, course materials, and writing assignments at your own pace.
  • Share and discuss your work with classmates in a supportive class environment.
  • Award-winning instructor Rudri Patel will offer you direct, personal feedback and suggestions on every assignment you submit.
Questions about the course content? Contact instructor directly.
Learn more about how our courses work here, and contact us with any other questions.

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Student Feedback for Rudri Patel:

I cannot recommend working with Rudri enough, she is one of the best writing teachers that I have ever had. Leena Trivedi-Grenier

Rudri is genuine and compassionate, sharing her stories and helping students find a way to hold their grief, and release some of its anchors. I highly suggest Writing Our Grief, so much so, I’m gifting it to a friend. Don’t hesitate. Take this class! Linda Ragsdale

The course exceeded my expectations. Rudri's practical, supportive, and encouraging style is just what I needed to build confidence and practice in my writing. Rudri is exceptionally perceptive, warm, and generous as a teacher. Rudri helps you believe in yourself as a writer and to build long-term habits after the course. Tom O'Shea

Rudri's teaching style is warm, personal, informed, generous, and comprehensive. She wants her students to have a safe place to dig into their grief and to give written voice to it, to learn the craft of writing about grief with an eye for publication. She challenged us to experiment with new forms, and set the tone for a supportive class partnership. I highly recommend this class. Dianne King

Rudri created a wonderful workshop atmosphere. I received specific feedback on each of my writing assignments and felt supported and encouraged throughout the six-week course. I'm amazed at how much I learned in this short time period. Theresa Connors

Rudri is a real gem. Her management of the class given the difficulty of the material was exceptional. She was always encouraging to all the students. Larry Ricci

Rudri's combination of compassion and solid tangible technique furthered my continuing development as a writer. If you want to take an MFA level class with an instructor who cares enough to guide you kindly but sure-footedly to the edges of your comfort zones---then this class is for you. You will come out on the other side a much improved writer. Christina Cavallaro

Rudri is kind so she reads with her heart as well as her head. As well as providing editorial expertise, she reads with empathy. I found this mattered more than I thought it would. I am so thankful for this course and everything I learned in class and from the community of other writers within the class. Sarah Harley

Rudri is intelligent and perceptive. Her lectures are well organized but not rigid. She is present to the individual students' needs, and her offering of a one-on-one meeting is the cherry on the cake. She is a very generous teacher, and I would and will certainly recommend her courses and take them again myself. Barbara Moroncini

A must take course! Our instructor, Rudri Patel, led the course with such brilliance, commitment and sensitivity. Each lesson was well organized. Ms. Patel went above and beyond with weekly zoom classes, and she added her personal experiences as a writer so freely. Cynthia Slack

Rudri has a way of fostering discussion and motivating her students to produce more and better work. By the end of the first week alone, I’d completely revised my daily writing strategy, reduced procrastination, and felt better equipped to achieve some pretty ambitious writing goals. I’m confident that 2021 will be my best writing year to-date. Jessica Fiorillo

This workshop was everything I wanted and more!  Not only is Rudri an excellent instructor and writer, but she is a wonderful human being. Rudri provided a safe place for everyone to freely express themselves, giving 200% of herself and modeling for students her courage and vulnerability. Cynthia Bassett

Awesome! Rudri is a great teacher. Natalie Ellis

This class, and Rudri’s compassion and ability to create a safe space, helped me work through levels of grief that I didn’t realize I still had. I made connections between past and present losses that I hadn’t made before, which has helped me to grieve at a deeper level. My writing has benefited from the exercises and Rudri’s encouragement to write my truth. This was an excellent class, and I hope to work with Rudri again in the future. Andi Reed

I learned so much in Rudri's class, not just about bullet journaling but about setting goals and establishing habits that nurture and sustain the writing life. Rudri created a welcoming space to discuss not just the ins and outs of bullet journaling, but also how to build habits that nurture creativity and self-care. I highly recommend it for writers and everyone! Daisy Florin

Rudri Bhatt Patel has been a mentor, coach, and editor for my writing projects for almost ten years. Under the skillful guidance of her expertise, candor, and gentle spirit, I have made great gains in refining and expanding my short stories to publication as well as completing a novel. In addition, as co-members of a critique group for several years, Rudri consistently offered in depth and valuable feedback to me and others on a biweekly basis. Her comprehensive written feedback was always delivered with a sensitivity and respect for each person’s creative expression, while authentically providing insight into strengths and areas that needed development. Trish Dolansinski

Rudri is the editor and teacher everyone wishes they would discover. Her warm engaging style meets spot-on feedback has done more for me in 6 weeks than I can begin to describe. Rudri's approach to giving feedback is supportive in a way that both inspires and lifts while being grounded in solid practical suggestions to help elevate your work. Christina Cavallaro

I recommend Rudri Bhatt Patel without reservation. She is knowledgeable, articulate and experienced in all things writing and publishing. Her kindness as well as her professionalism and expertise make working with her a delight. Susan Pohlman

Rudri's knowledge and skills related to professional writing have also helped me with my own writing career many times in the past. Julie Vick

Over the past ten years I have had numerous opportunities to interact with Rudri Batt Patel during writing classes, book critiques, and writer networking sessions. She has a profound ability to engage as a learner, presenter, and facilitator. Her own writing skills are exceptional and her variety of published works enable her to assist developing writers in multiple ways. Phyllis Schwartz

Rudri Patel is an organized and seasoned presenter with years of writing and publishing experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have Rudri in my critique circle for over a decade and I’m a stronger writer because of it. Windy Lynn Harris

Rudri has a wonderful way of bringing out the best in her colleagues without criticism - a skill I appreciate as a veteran of the classroom myself. Jenn Morson

Rudri Patel Instructor

About

Rudri Patel is a lawyer turned freelance writer, essayist, and editor. On staff at Literary Mama and the co-founder and co-editor of the literary journal, The Sunlight Press, her essays and reported work have appeared in The Washington Post, Business Insider, The Lily, Saveur, Civil Eats, ESPN, Parents and elsewhere. Rudri is currently at work on a memoir on grief and culture and how it provides perspective on life’s ordinary graces.