Back to School: The Write Stuff Genealogy Writing Intensive – Starts 10 October 2016!

It’s hard to believe summer is over we are in “Back to School” mode again!

If you spent your summer doing genealogy research, or visiting with your living kin, perhaps you are ready to write your family history! 

And, just in time, another session of the The Write Stuff: Genealogy Writing Intensive will be starting on 10 October!  

Below is the official announcement from Hack Genealogy. Click here to reserve your spot today!


It’s back! Our popular family history writing course, The Write Stuff, returns for the Fall 2016 season starting October 10th!
Is “write up all of my years of genealogy research” one of your goals for 2016? Are you looking for more than just the standard genealogy report . . . do you want something that you can publish and share with family? Are you interested in crafting ancestor profiles and allowing their stories to “pop” off the page? Then you need to be a part of The Write Stuff – a Genealogy Intensive™ offering.
What Is a Genealogy Intensive™?
A Genealogy Intensive™ is a small group of similarly-minded genealogists with the same project goal. The group meets virtually over a six-week period. Once a week, participants meet online using GoToTraining (similar to GoToWebinar which is popular with genealogy webinar attendees). There are work assignments that are interesting, engaging, and collaborative without being burdensome. In addition there is an online platform to share ideas, encouragement and ask questions at any time of the day or night. The group is closed, private and led by genealogy educators and authors, two of whom you probably already know: Lisa Alzo and Thomas MacEntee. These “coaches” offer encouragement and facilitate online discussions to lend inspiration, solve problems and make that ever-elusive project a reality.
So, bring your obsession. Bring your ideas, no matter how wacky they may seem. Bring your enthusiasm. Get ready for results. We’re talking action and doing. We’re talking feedback and support. Click here to read more about the Genealogy Intensive™ concept.
If you missed out on the Spring version of The Write Stuff (which sold out quickly) then here is your chance! Read below for more information on this six-week collaborative, results-driven, group coaching environment focusing on writing family history narratives. Like all of our Genealogy Intensive™ offerings, you’ll have access to the recordings, handouts, and the Facebook group during and even after the classes end. At Hack Genealogy there is never an “upcharge” for a collaborative environment and if you act now, you can register for the Early Bird price!
Note: A minimum of eight (8) paid participants are needed in order for a Genealogy Intensive™ to be successful. If the minimum is not met, your tuition will be refunded in full and you’ll be notified of the next Genealogy Intensive™.
Here is what past students of The Write Stuff have to say:
“I loved the Intensive. This is not just a “get an assignment, talk once a week” type of course. The very active Facebook group where Lisa checked in all the time helped keep up the energy all week long. Besides the standard handouts, many other resources, articles and other helpful tips and links were shared during the week. This is the perfect way to get your writing started or get it back on track if you’re stalled.” – Diana Ritchie
“Genealogy Intensive gave my family history writing a big boost. From it, I developed the habit of writing every day. Genealogy Intensive led me to understand just how important that is to do. After the class was over, I started a family blog to publish some of that writing and to get it ‘out there’ for others to read. The blog provided other rewards, including increasing their interest and involvement in our family’s history. One of the cousins that I do genealogy work with told me “I love the way you write”. Most importantly, I decided how to write my family history book by choosing a format to use through the storyboarding technique taught in the classes.” – Mary-Angus Yanke
Special Offer – Free Registration!
If The Write Stuff Spring 2016 fills up, with 20 registrants, we’ll draw one name and offer them a freebie – a full rebate on the registration fee!
Are you excited about (or perhaps even a little obsessed with) the idea of getting your family history down in writing? Maybe you have self-doubts and fears about how to get started, what to write, and how to put it all together in a compelling way? If so, then this workshop is for you! During this six-week intensive, you will learn the key steps for producing a quality family history narrative from outline to finished product, ways to use “storyboarding” to plot your project, and how to build your writing skills, as well as your confidence as a writer. In addition, you will receive helpful tips, project management tools and a productivity toolbox to help keep you on track.
Through on-line instructional sessions, weekly assignments, and collaboration with other participants, you will have access to an instructor with more than 23 years of writing experience, who will teach you about key nonfiction writing techniques you can use to produce a “can’t put down” family history that will keep the pages turning for generations.
Key Goals of the Course
  1. Learn writing skills and techniques to produce a quality family history; build on the skills each week.
  2. Focus on getting a working draft.
  3. Receive constructive and helpful feedback.
  4. Overcome fears and anxiety about writing.
  5. Have fun!
Coach Bio – Lisa Alzo
Lisa A. Alzo
Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer with over 20 years’ experience in the field of genealogy. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and is the author of nine books, including: Finding Your Slovak AncestorsWriting Your Family History Book, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women. Lisa has written hundreds of articles and her work has appeared in Family Tree MagazineFamily ChronicleInternet GenealogyAPG Quarterly, among others. An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist” blog For more information see
Week 1: 10-17 October 2016
  • Online Session: Introductions and Goal Setting.
    10 October 2016 via GoToTraining
    9:00 pm EDT / 8:00 pm CDT 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: What do you want to accomplish? What’s important to you? What does writing success look like to you?
  • Video: Setting Writing Goals
  • Week 2 Assignment1) Outline your family history writing goal. Various tools will be provided to explore different ways to create an outline.2) Compose a short elevator pitch (no more than 2-3 sentences) that succinctly summarizes your project. A sample will be provided.
  • Facebook Group
    • Introductions
    • Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week).
Week 2: 18-23 October 2016
  • Video: Plot, Plan, and Scheme: Storyboard Your Family History Project
  • Week 3 Assignment
    • Storyboard your project idea. You may choose to prepare your storyboard in whatever format that works for you:  For example: Write by hand on index cards and then scan them or photograph them to share; or use Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or a program such as Scrivener or Index Card App or StorySkeleton.
  • Facebook Group:
    • Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week).
Week 3: 24-30 October 2016
  • Online Session: Review Week 2 and 3 Assignments.
    24 October 2016 via GoToTraining
    9:00 pm EDT / 8:00 pm CDT 1 Hour, recorded.
    Topic: Review Week 2 and 3 Assignments.
  • Video: Tap into Family Treasures
  • Week 4 Assignment
    • Tap into Family Treasures: write 500 words using a photo or document or heirloom or keepsake as your prompt. Instructor will provide a sample.
  • Facebook Group:
    • Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week).
Week 4: 30 October – 6 November 2016
  • Video: Character Development through Oral History and Profile
  • Week 5 Assignment
Choose one
1) Write from a memory or an oral history interview (500 words). Instructor will provide a sample.
2) Write a profile or character sketch of an ancestor of your choice (500 words). Instructor will provide a sample.
  • Facebook Group:
    • Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week).
Week 5: 7-13 November 2016
  • Video: Shaping Your Story Using Plot and Structure
  • Week 6 Assignment
    • Putting it all together. Building on the skills you learned in the previous weeks, and using your outline, write a 1200 word narrative (approximately 2 pages) about your ancestor or family. Instructor will provide an example.
  • Facebook Group:
    • Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor (2 prompts each week).
Week 6: 14 November 2016
  • Online Session: Review Week 4 and 5 Assignments.
    14 November 2016 via GoToTraining
    9:00 pm EST / 8:00 pm CST 1 Hour, recorded
    Topic: Review Week 4 and 5 Assignments and Wrap-Up.
  • Video: Top Ten Tips for Family History Writing
  • Facebook Group:
    • Thank you, good-byes, next steps
The cost to attend a The Write Stuff Genealogy Intensive™ over a six week period is $129 per person. A special discounted price of $99 will be available during the early registration period. Early registration ends on Monday, October 3rd!
Before you register and make payment, please read the Genealogy Intensive™ Terms and Conditions as well as the Participant Policies.
If you’re ready to be a part of The Write Stuff, Fall 2016 (10 October – 14 November 2016), then click here to register and pay via PayPal*
* You do not need a PayPal account to make payment; you can use a credit card via PayPal.
Money-Back Guarantee
We get it. You’re taking a chance with us on a new, radical format for online genealogy education. If you are willing to do the work and commit to the format of a Genealogy Intensive™, we’re certain you’ll be happy. More than happy. More importantly, you’ll finally get that project done!
If at any time you are not satisfied with the content or format of the Genealogy Intensive™, we’ll gladly refund your money.

Copyright 2016, Lisa A. Alzo
Genealogy Writing Intensive promotional materials, copyright 2016, Thomas MacEntee
All Rights Reserved

Fiction, Nonfiction or Memoir…What Will You Write in November?

Do you have a family history project on the back burner? A novel inside your head you have always wanted to write? A half-written nonfiction manuscript stashed somewhere on your computer’s hard drive? November is the perfect time to tap into your creativity and finally get that first draft in place!

Image credit: Pixabay

If you are ready, here are three ways to stop dreaming and start writing.

1. Sign up for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. The very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999 (see Yes, it is an ambitious goal, but could be the “kick in the pants” you need to overcome your fears and get serious about storytelling. If you are committed to cranking out 50,000 words by November 30, click here to create your official NaNoWriMo profile (it’s super easy, I promise. I signed up today).

2. Be a rebel. You may ask, “Do I have to write a novel?”  If a novel is not your thing, don’t despair. You can still participate in NaNoWriMo. See the “What Genres Can I Write In?” section on their website. There is even a special group called NaNo Rebels in the forums for those who works don’t qualify as lengthy fiction. While I have pondered the possibility of writing a novel someday, my own writing roots are planted firmly in the area of creative nonfiction, so for this year I plan to focus on a project for this genre.  I am looking forward to being a “NaNo Rebel.”  Perhaps you can join me?

3. At the very least—start a Blog. Not quite ready to commit to word counts, deadlines, or peer pressure?  Then aim for a smaller goal. Blogging is a great way to take those baby steps to complete a writing project of a bigger scope (sign up for a free account on sites such as Blogger,WordPress, or TypePad). Even if you just wrote 500-600 words once a week (one blog post), you would be making progress. Begin with a small time commitment such as 15 minutes per day (come on, we can all find 15 minutes!) and then work your way up to longer sessions. Schedule this time on your calendar, block out all other distractions (such as Facebook, or other time wasters, social media) and set an alarm or timer. Write until the alarm or timer sounds. You can even make your blog private if you are not ready to share your posts with the world. The goal is to write something—anything.  Remember: You can’t edit a blank page!

Speaking of blogging, during November I will be sharing writing tips and resources on this blog (articles, books, videos, etc.), as well as a number of my favorite writing tools (writing software, productivity apps, and more). If I see any discounts or deals on such products I will also share the information with you. I’ve even teamed up with my friend and colleague Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers—each week there will be a unique contest on the GeneaBloggers website, where you will be able to enter to win some great prizes (stay tuned or more information). 

In addition, after years of making the excuse that “I don’t have time for NaNoWriMo,” I have decided to take the plunge myself and make the commitment to write those 50,000 words. I am going to focus on a project that has been waiting in the wings for over 10 years, and it is time to finally finish this book. After so many stops and starts, I decided I just need to start with a clean slate. I will share with you here my adventures, progress, successes and frustrations. 

Onward to November!  Let’s start writing!

Copyright 2015, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved