Naomi Sandweiss

Class Title: Nature of Your Life: Winter/Early Spring
Instructor: Naomi Sandweiss
Class Term: January 7-February 4, 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 winter and early spring journey will take us from appreciating the dormant, inactive parts of our lives and environment to the emerging buds and new growth.

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.
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: Dormancy: In the spirit of the season, we will use writing and nature observation to identify what lies dormant and unattended in our lives and the potential hazards or benefits of dormancy.
  • Unit 2: Habitats: In this unit, participants identify where they flourish and where they are strained and consider which kind of habitats support them.
  • Unit 3: Buds/new growth: 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 4: Cairns/paths: As we enter the New Year, what well-worn paths in your life need attention? What new paths will you need to create and identify? Participants will consider these questions and how they apply in their own lives.

Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required

Word processing, email, and Internet access.

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