Naomi Sandweiss

Class Title: Nature of Your Life: Spring and Early Summer
Instructor: Naomi Sandweiss
Class Term: March 18-April 22, 2019
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In this class we will use nature to better understand our lives and share our stories. For four weeks, participants will observe aspects of nature (anything from a plant to a forest to an animal) and use this understanding to write about their lives. Our spring and early summer journey will take us from appreciating the new growth ,and emerging buds in our life and environment, exploring the idea of nature and compartmentalization and how we will experience an upcoming season of harvest.

Class Description

Participants will keep a guided nature journal and receive a weekly assignment focused on a particular question or prompt. Each week, the instructor will provide feedback and, if they wish, participants can share their work with each other for feedback.

At the end of this class, students will be able to:

  • keep a nature journal and sharpen observations of nature;
  • reflect upon their lives using nature as a metaphor.
Students will be able to:
  1. Practice observing natural surroundings and keeping a nature journal.
  2. Use nature as a metaphor for their own lives or the lives of their characters.

Instruction/Communication Method: We will use email and if desired, a Facebook page to share instructional materials and receive written work. No materials need to be purchased but the book Writing Wild: Forming a Creative Partnership With Nature comes highly recommended.


Class members will keep a guided nature journal (prompts are provided) throughout the class. Units are organized around four themes using nature as a metaphor:
  • Unit 1: Germination: New growth often needs protection and special care. Participants will consider their own new growth and how to best nurture and protect it during changeable conditions.
  • Unit 2: In this unit, participants identify where they flourish and where they are strained and consider which kind of habitats support them and/or their characters.
  • Unit 3: Compartmentalization: In this unit, we will consider the fascinating method that trees use to protect themselves and how we can apply this to our own lives of the lives of our characters.
  • Unit 4: Early harvest: Participants will celebrate the abundance they or their characters have harvested and what it took to get to this place.

Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required

Basic word processing and email skills.

Time Commitment: Approximately 2 hours per week

Tuition/Fees for this course

SCN members: $128. Non-SCN members: $160.

Instructor Bio

Naomi Sandweiss' research and writing have taken her from Taos, New Mexico, to Venice, Italy and many places in between. Her publications include Jewish Albuquerque: 1860-1960, in which she used more than 200 historic images to illustrate the city's fascinating Jewish history. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications; shes taught University-level writing and communication courses and is currently working on a novel set in 17th c. Venice. Naomi enjoys exploring nature and the outdoors in her home state of New Mexico. Visit her website.

Praise for Naomi's Classes

  • Naomi Sandweiss offers thought-provoking prompts inspired by nature. The course supports any genre of writing, and I felt encouraged to take risks. —VJ K., London ON CANADA

  • Thoroughly enjoyed taking [Naomi Sandweiss'] course. Liked the small number of people, and the good exchange we were able to have because of it. Still have questions that need answered, but Naomi gave us good sources and encouragement to find answers on our own. —Karen D., Columbia MO

  • This was my first attempt at an on-line writing class, my first attempt at writing fiction, my first attempt at writing historical fiction; it was my first attempt to put down on paper an outline for a story that I wish to incorporate into my storytelling repetoire. It was a great success. Naomi Sandweiss was spot on with her assignments, gave helpful hints and suggestion and supported my efforts in many positive ways. I have recommended your site to many of my women writing friends. Thanks. —Thea N., Des Moines IA

  • Naomi Sandweiss offers a class that is engaging, supportive, and full of good resources and suggestions. She encouraged interaction between class members, and I came away feeling that I had learned more about the craft of writing historical fiction, with the added bonus that I learned new things from the interesting historical stories that my colleagues presented. I would definitely recommend this course. —Karen D., Columbia MO