Guest Faculty Gig

This August, I will have the pleasure of teaching as a member of the guest faculty at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts’ MFA residency.  I’ll be teaching a seminar called “Writers Talking to People” alongside fellow NILA MFA alum and good friend Stephanie Barbe Hammer.  Stephanie and I had a fabulous time teaching this class last year, and I am really looking forward to teaching again.

I’ve been asked to answer the questions below.  To learn more about the residency, which is open to all writers, not just those enrolled in the MFA program, check out the NILA website.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about teaching writers?

I love the energy that writers bring to a class and the bravery they exhibit in their desire to tell their stories and hone their craft.

  1. How would you suggest students approach a writer, agent, or editor they admire?

Do what you need to do to get over your shyness and go talk to them.  Tell her how much you admire her, her work, etc.  Don’t approach with the intention of pitching or anything business-like, but do be prepared to talk about your own work (in a non-pitchy kind of way) if they ask.

  1. How about a sneak peek of what we can expect to learn from you in your sessions at Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA?

For the entire 3-hour session, my co-teacher Stephanie Barbe Hammer and I will take turns reading from our works in progress.

Kidding!  It will be a very interactive seminar about the public aspects of being a writer.

  1. Tell us what “literary community” means to you.

A group of people and/or organizations who love the written word, who support each other in their writing endeavors.  My literary community keeps me motivated and buoyed; I’m not sure I’d be able to survive as a writer without it.

5. When not teaching or working at your “day job,” you can be found…

Chasing my 5-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son around our Seattle neighborhood, reading, doing crosswords, or swimming in cold bodies of water.



The MFA residency includes a FREE POLAR BEAR PLUNGE in which we all jump into the lovely, refreshing waters of the Puget Sound. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most likely, how likely are you to participate?

10 [see above]

This will be our 5th annual plunge.  We should do something special to mark the occasion, don’t you think?



5 thoughts on “Guest Faculty Gig

  1. Pingback: teachin’ tuesday, june 10, 2014 — 5 questions for guest faculty from Yi Shun Lai | Stephanie Barbé Hammer @ Magically Real

  2. Katie Buttenwieser

    Hi Janet, I just read your blog & I’m very proud of you! I think that you’re brave in so many
    ways, but swimming in Puget Sound is near the top of the list! Love, Mom

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