Hermits Cove is a place for Writers by Peter

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Online Classes and Workshops
Updated: March 05, 2014

Sacred Journaling
Writing and Publishing Spiritual Books — NEW One-on-One class
Writing and Publishing Magazine Articles

Sacred Journaling

Journaling can be a free-flowing expression of your inner feelings, thoughts, and intuitive insights. It seems so simple, yet many of us get caught up in feeling self-conscious or anxious, or simply at a loss how to begin and keep going. In this class, we approach journaling as a combination of creative writing and spiritual practice. Because the process often seems so open-ended that you don't know where to begin, we'll work with specific guidance and techniques to inspire you even when you seem to be blank or stuck. We'll also cover the specific art of dream journaling, comprising basic instructions about lucid dreaming, and learning helpful keys to remember and record your dreams-even if you think you "don't dream." For more detailed information on the weekly class structure, please read on.

My class costs $295 for 8 weeks. Briefly, the class takes place in cyberspace over 8 weeks, using what's known as an online classroom. The classroom is inaccessible to anybody who hasn't registered, so no outsiders will be looking over your shoulder. You don't have to be online at any specific day or time, just check the Website or your e-mail regularly and respond as your schedule allows.

The class is structured around a weekly lesson/lecture that I post and that includes a journaling assignment. Each member responds (or not) and I give weekly feedback. Once you join the class, you will be able to read the responses from me and the other workshop members, so you can see each other's work and profit from one another's input, reactions, and suggestions. You're under no obligation to reply to others' e-mails or to critique their work, but most students find that to be one of the most helpful aspects of the workshop.

How to Register

Click here to register and enter an amount of $295.

If you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me: peteocch@gmail.com

Writing and Publishing Spiritual Books — NEW One-on-One Class

Click here to register and enter an amount of $295.

I often receive requests about when I'll be offering my online class on Writing and Publishing Spiritual Books. Because it's hard to arrange a time frame that works for everyone, I am now offering the class on an individual basis, starting whenever you're ready. When you register to take the class solo, you get the same instructional course materials e-mailed to you weekly that I would normally send to a class. I will give you personal feedback once a week on your assignments as you submit them. This will help you formulate the structure and voice for your book—e.g., whether it should be in first or third person—and determine whether it works better as a how-to book, spiritual memoir, or other approach. The course also assesses the relative merits of self-publishing via print on demand and e-book formats. All the details are contained in the course description that follows.

When you work solo, you obviously won't be getting feedback from other class members, but you also don't have to spend time reading and responding to their posts. And you don't have to wait for everyone to catch up. Once you complete an assignment and I give you feedback, you can move on to the next class lecture if you like. That way the whole course might take less than the 8 weeks it normally consumes.

The rate for the solo class is $295 for 8 sessions over a maximum of 8 weeks.

Personal instruction is still available separately, at an hourly rate, which includes e-mail correspondence, editing and revising on my end, and phone consultations. Go to Peter's Personal Consulation Page.

How to Write & Publish Spiritual Books

You may have an important spiritual book inside you that you want to get out to the world. Yet, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of completing a manuscript and getting it published. After writing and coauthoring 20 books for major publishers, Peter Occhiogrosso has developed a simple way to translate your book ideas into a proposal format that will appeal to agents and editors. Whether you want to find a commercial publisher, self-publish, or just structure a readable manuscript for yourself, family, or clients, this workshop shows you how.

"Spiritual" is a remarkably broad category in today's market, encompassing books about health and healing; environmentalism and activism; self-help and psychology; mystical experience, channeled wisdom, the law of attraction; and all the world's religious traditions. You will be able to share your writing with the group and get expert feedback and guidance from your teacher. You will even learn some basic breathing exercises and other spiritual practices to help you access the deepest levels of your creativity and insight. As you learn to create a professional proposal, you will receive guidance on writing an Agent Query Letter, as well as surfing the Net to locate appropriate agents, editors, and publishers. You will also learn the pros and cons of self-publishing via print on demand and e-book technology. Ultimately, you come away with the tools you need to create a professional proposal or manuscript outline.

This workshop is open to writers at all levels of experience, including those who have been published and those who hope to be.

Class Outline

Week 1   We'll begin by brainstorming your book idea and how you'd like to implement it. The kinds of real-world questions that an agent or editor might ask about the specifics of your concept will help you narrow and focus your book on a whole new level.
Week 2   Once we've whittled down what you actually want to write about, you will learn how to condense your Concept into just a few short statements. A series of simple deep breathing exercises will help to calm your body and allow your mind to function with greater ease and clarity.
Week 3   Once you have ironed out your principal theme, you can begin to build the structure of your book around it. You'll start by the writing an Overview, a two-page elaboration of your initial concept.
Week 4   We'll discuss the difference between a Table of Contents, a Chapter Outline, and Chapter Summaries-three practical, incremental steps to creating an overall structure for your book.
Week 5   Along with structure, you'll learn how to describe your book to agents and editors in terms of competing titles in the marketplace, and ideas for building your author platform, identity, and promotional strategy.
Week 6   Most editors and agents want to see at least one Sample Chapter. Here you'll get some pointers on how to select the best candidates for a sample (hint: it's probably not the first chapter!), and some overall tips on what to include.
Week 7   The marketplace is changing rapidly, both in commercial publishing and self-publishing. Print on demand and e-book technology offer enormous potential, but also numerous pitfalls that you'll need to be aware of.
Week 8   Once you have a viable structure for your book, you can begin to write it at your own pace. But at the same time, you can be searching for the right agent to help you find a commercial publisher. You'll learn all about how agents work, what fees they should and shouldn't charge, and how to write an Agent Query Letter that will help you land the agent you want.

Click here to register and enter an amount of $295.

Writing and Publishing Magazine Articles

Send Peter an Email so that he can let you know when the next class is scheduled.

Magazine writing requires a special set of skills that are related to, yet different from, those needed to write a nonfiction book. Whether you want to create a feature story, celebrity interview, essay, concert review, advice column, or first-person account, you will have to go through a process of proposal, submission, and revision. Because magazine and newspaper editors are too busy to read hundreds of articles every month, you'll need to learn how to put your ideas into a Query Letter. Although it should fit on the equivalent of one typewritten page, your query must contain all the essential information to help an editor decide whether or not to offer to buy your story.

But that's only the beginning. Once you get the green light, you'll need to structure a piece of anywhere from 300 to 3000 words or more. In my course, you'll begin by learning to

  1. focus your ideas into a format that will work for most magazines
  2. write a query letter containing the required information, and
  3. conceive and write the article itself.

At times, our class will recreate the atmosphere of an actual publication of which I am the editor-in-chief. You will propose articles to me and I will suggest why your ideas do or don't work, how to shape them into workable ideas, and how to come up with different approaches to the same subject matter that will appeal to different kinds of publications. You will then write the article we've agreed on, and submit it to me. I will "edit" the article by suggesting ways to revise and improve it--everything from grammatical and stylistic tips to ideas for restructuring.

At the same time, you'll be receiving helpful feedback from the other members of the class, who will be busy proposing and writing their own articles. Most class members are at the beginning stage of writing magazine articles, so you'll essentially be working with your peers. You'll learn to revise and polish your piece while gaining an understanding of how the process works. We will also discuss how to approach editors, what magazines may work best for the story you want to write, how to track down subjects for new stories, and other technical aspects of the magazine writing craft.

In the process, I'll share my experience from over 30 years of writing and publishing my own magazine articles.

How It Works.

The class takes place in cyberspace, using what's known as a list server. The list includes you, me, and everyone who has paid to take the class. It is inaccessible to anybody I don't let in, so no outsiders will be looking over your shoulder. Once you join the class, you will receive all the e-mails from me and the other workshop members. Anything you send to me or another member can be read by anybody else in the class. This way, you all see each other's work and profit from one another's input, reactions, suggestions, and ideas for expanding your own material. You're under no obligation to reply to others' e-mails or to critique their work, but most students find that to be one of the most helpful aspects of the workshop.

I lead the class and give you one-on-one instruction when you need it, and I also monitor exchanges between class members, stepping in to comment or correct misimpressions whenever that's called for. By the time we're done, you should have a finished article ready for submission.

Send Peter an Email so that he can let you know when the next class is scheduled.