Vanessa transformed our son Josh from a decent writer into an excellent writer.  We wholeheartedly recommend Vanessa and her ability to draw out the best in your child’s writing ability.Jill and Larry Krutchik
I honestly don’t know what kind of a writer and reader I would be without the tools I learned with Ms. Ziff. She was always a very understanding, rigorous, and involved teacher, and an incredible mentor.Maddie 9th Grade, Marlborough School
Vanessa’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
Vanessa is a true master of her craft. She is a blast to work with, completely trustworthy and utterly authentic. To work with Vanessa is a privilege; you just want to soak up all her talent, and bottle it up for yourself! She is an inspiration.Sarina Fierro, Head of Lower Elementary, Curtis School
Ms. Ziff’s friendly demeanor and enthusiasm made communicating easy and learning exciting. She taught us to understand and appreciate the material, and have fun in the process.Alivia 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa captured the essence of what I wanted to relay on my site without sounding trite, unlike my experience with previous writers.Martin Pugh, Musician
Ms. Ziff maintains a good balance of knowing when to give more help and when to insist that you rise to the challenge of the learning situation. She instills confidence, honors excellence, and respects effort.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa’s methods are creative, thorough and innovative. She makes writing fun and has turned our daughter’s “like” of writing into a true “LOVE”.The Altmans
Vanessa’s vast skills, complete dedication, and clear purpose construct a solid core for every student she teaches. Her passionate nature produces both a fun and rewarding learning experience.Michele Noble, Director, Writer, Filmmaker
Ms. Ziff always pushed me to do my best, and never let me slack off.  She introduced me to my love of writing and gave me the confidence I needed both academically and in myself.Georgia 9th Grade, The Buckley School
Vanessa Ziff Lasdon possesses the dynamic combination of an incisive intellect and boundless passion when it comes to teaching her craft and sharing skills with her students.MaryLynn Richmond
Vanessa got my 8-year old son excited and intrigued to dig deeper into his experiences and bring his thoughts to life. Now Evan’s words dance and sing, which makes me want to dance and sing!Sally Micelotta
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade
My son learned more about writing and literary appreciation from Ms. Ziff in fifth grade than in any other year of school. I wish all teachers had Vanessa’s passion for teaching and inspiring!Kim Ford
Having an eight-year old highly gifted boy was not enough to make him put all those brilliant ideas on paper. Daniel feels constantly challenged by Vanessa and that ignites him.Liliana Benitez
Ms. Ziff set the foundation for my analytical, constructive, and creative skills. Whether writing a sonnet or writing an essay, I still have her lessons in my mind.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
While we continue to be impressed by Vanessa’s many attributes, it is her high energy level, extraordinary patience, and passion for what she does that make her truly unique.Melissa and Rob Weiler

Vanessa is an outstanding writer and a joy to work with.

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer, Kizmato.com
What our daughter values most about her time in Vanessa's class is being inspired to become an organized writer who could convey her thoughts in a meaningful manner.Laurie and Chris Harbert
Ms. Ziff is always organized, resourceful, and ready for anything. She believes in a process, [...] the best of all being the Ms. Ziff approach, which makes her spectacular.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
The skills Vanessa taught my son--particularly the value of revising many times […] attention to detail, and high standards—are still with Nico several years later.Liz McNicoll, Attorney, Paramount Pictures
The writing skills my daughter, now excelling in ninth grade English Honors, left Vanessa’s class with continue to be an invaluable set of resources.Betsy Leva
It's obvious that Vanessa is a wordsmith: "Write. Observe. Revise. Discover...W.O.R.D."  These are the four essential ingredients for becoming a writer; two of them about the work (writing and revising) and two of them about the joy (observing and discovering.) Vanessa accomplishes it all.  Julie Larios, award-winning poet and children’s author
All of us remember teachers who inspired us to greater heights and who influenced our lives. Vanessa Ziff Lasdon has played this role in my daughters' lives.Jack Tauber, M.D.
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Whether it’s teaching a student to become a more vivid creative writer, a more effective analytical writer, or a more selective business writer, Vanessa can do it all.Meli and Stephen Rose
Vanessa has a gift for inspiring even the most reluctant writer and her passion for writing is infectious. She is a favorite workshop leader at our Young Writers’ Conferences.Julie Moore & Rena Svetic, Young Writers’ Conference Founders
Vanessa is high-energy smarts and charm, the kind of writer and teacher who captures and captivates readers of all ages.New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Leitich Smith
I know that the many fun and challenging lessons I’ve learned from Ms. Ziff will help me achieve my goal of one day being a professional writer and filmmaker.Jaren S. 7th Grade, The Buckley School
I learned as much from teaching with Vanessa as any of her students under her guidance. Where so many others fall back on old tricks, Vanessa taps into her extensive experience to invent new methodologies for each and every one of her clients.Patrick Kieffer, Fifth Grade – English & History, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Vanessa is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She’s extremely organized, communicates ideas effectively, helps motivate, and has a lively, engaging teaching style that brings out the best efforts in all of her students.Howard Tager

Dear Luck: Keeping the End in Mind

Today is a WRITE post, and that means providing you with the encouragement and opportunity to get your thoughts down on the blank page. Consider this Dear Luck post a spiritual pick-me-up quick-write that you’ll want to revisit time and again.

Keep The End In Mind

When we face challenges in our lives, it’s often hard to see our way out of the dark and into a new light. Once we’ve struggled through and survived, we look back and wish we could have given ourselves some guidance on how to approach the Ordeal, and how to see it as a blessing in disguise. One of the best pieces of advice we can give ourselves in the midst of a challenge is the story of how we imagine the outcome. I’m not advocating that we expect a particular outcome to happen exactly the way we envision, but it’s important to act as though our end result has already been achieved. To get a bit spiritual about it all, consider that the universe is always responding to our energy systems. Whatever we think –- positive or negative — expands. The best in our lives rarely happens out of thin air. Most successes are part of divine timing: a combination of 1/3 talent, 1/3 persistence, and 1/3 serendipity. And generally speaking, the universe only grants that all-important Luck factor to those who are ready to receive. If we could only relax and just enjoy the journey!

Dear […]

This week, try writing a letter to one of the people you most admire, telling of all that’s going well in your life, personally and professionally. Why write to someone you admire versus a letter to yourself or to the Universe At Large? Certainly all are powerful ways to manifest your dreams. But writing to someone you admire not only personalizes the message; it also provides a different level of accountability toward your goals and an outside purpose to achieving them within a reasonable timeframe. Those we admire represent qualities and successes we would like to emulate within ourselves. Who hasn’t been proud to tell a favorite teacher, mentor, or friend about a special accomplishment? Who hasn’t been elated to hear the return applause?

Ideas For New Writers

Say you want to be published. You want the world to know who you are and what you think. You want followers and fans, an official author website, book tour, interviews, movie trailers, speaking gigs, book signings, e-books, audiobooks. Create a vision of how many people will read your books, in how many countries your books have been published, and into which languages they’ve been translated. Fill in the blanks on all the unknowns, including how big each advance was and how much you’ve received in royalties so far.

 

Shoot for the Moon, But…

Be realistic, too. Are you really going to be an overnight sensation, a household name in the next three months? Not everyone will like you. Not everyone will think you are a genius with something brilliant to say.

DO tell your confidant about what has made your message/product/service so unique. Be clear about this message. The more articulate you are about the details of your success, the greater the chance that your vision will exist in living color.

Show how through hard work and patience your efforts during the tough times paid off. Show from who and what you drew strength. By writing through the failures, we give ourselves permission to be human.

Date the letter according to when you want to see the outcome. Be brave. Set a deadline.

Now That You’ve Written the Letter…

You have a responsibility to that person. So, live today to create the tomorrow you’ve committed to.

Validate your dreams.

Inspire yourself.

As any guru would tell you, your own personal bliss blesses the world.

So Get Writing and Be Blissful!

 

 

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