Editorial Projects | W.O.R.D. Ink
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’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
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
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 captured the essence of what I wanted to relay on my site without sounding trite, unlike my experience with previous writers.Martin Pugh, Musician
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
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
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
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade
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

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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
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
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

Editorial Projects

Download a W.O.R.D. Ink DocumentInteractive

A Running List of Articles Written for Newsela (Current Events and Presidential Biographies)

A Running List of W.O.R.D. of the Week Blog Posts

Inspiring Kids to Write

“Head and Heart to Head and Page: Inspiring Kids to Write” — KidsInTheHouse.com Founder Leana Greene asked if I would write an article on how to inspire kids to write and I jumped at the opportunity to share my experiences and resources with one of the most popular online parenting hubs available!

(guest blog post)

W.O.R.D. Ink 2014 Course Catalog

I’m so proud of our 20-page course catalog featuring S.T.E.A.M., reading, writing and language courses, as well as our “Build-It-Yourself” workshops in technology, design, creative arts, professional writing, private tutoring and test prep.

(online course catalog)

Workshop Tumblr Blog

Every spring and summer, I keep families up to speed on our daily workshop activities through our Tumblr blog, which enables me to capture the kids in action via video, sound bites, and hilarious, often poignant dialogue right in the moment of creative action. Our hands-on, academic workshops are always super fun and pretty unforgettable experiences!

(Tumblr blog)




So, you’re a writer. But are you living a writing kind of life? Are you writing every single day? In this guest blog post for Cynsations, July 2012, I focus on how to bring the writer’s notebook back into your busy daily routine as one of the most essential tools for     creative survival.

(guest blog post)

You don’t have to be a teacher to appreciate the 6 Traits of Writing. In this guest blog post for Cynsations, July 2012, I explain why anyone studying the craft of writing and storytelling should keep these fundamentals in mind while exploring picture books as bite-sized mentor texts.

(guest blog post)

Where do our best stories come from? What shapes our voice? In this August 2012 guest blog post for Cynsations, I explore the narrative power we all possess through two memoir collections of award-winning children’s writers who journey in time to places of white-hot memories and moments of personal transformation.

(guest blog post)

Martin Pugh, musician and lead guitarist for the legendary bands Steamhammer and Armageddon, wanted to create a tribute site to connect with fans, as well as establish his own online presence. I provided web content strategy, development and copyediting services for the site.


EduTech Services, a consumer technology consulting company, came to me for website content and design strategy, content development, and copyediting for their new startup. We will continue to work together as their site evolves and expands.


I created Writing Adventures as a homebase for the student workshops I teach in Los Angeles, such as Tabletop Moviemaking, Writing Skills, and Digital Storytelling. The site is being treated to the W.O.R.D. Ink “WORKS,” which you can find on the Digital & Print Media Page.


Download a W.O.R.D. Ink DocumentPrint

I wrote this essay while working with editor Marc Aronson in my MFA program. The essay analyzes the audible power of silence in literature, as captured by the real and perceived absence of thought on a page, referencing poets Issa and Mary Oliver, and such authors as Carolyn Coman and Rita Williams-Garcia. If you are interested in reading the full-length work, please contact me.


This piece was also written while working with editor Marc Aronson. The essay tackles the questions: Who are outsiders? Who are true friends? How does a friend, like a lifeline between adolescent transitions, transform an outsider in young adult literature? And why do these themes still resonate for today’s teens? If you are interested in reading the full-length work, please contact me.


One of many press releases I wrote while working as Media Relations Coordinator for Storyopolis Children’s Art Gallery & Bookstore in Los Angeles. The release announces two prominent children’s illustrators, Calef Brown and John Alfred Rowe, to headline Storyopolis’ Artists’ Studio Series, in partnership with Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation.

(press release)

Download a W.O.R.D. Ink DocumentProposals

“From Seed to Second Harvest: Sprouting Your First Sustainable Garden” is a special web section proposal I developed while earning my Digital Journalism certificate. The section includes a contest, web video series, content and ecommerce ideas, and social media elements. On the back end, I outline a project timeline and tasks, marketing goals, and ongoing development.

(web marketing)

The premise of this print-to-web content conversion proposal is to ‘webify’ a dynamic feature article in Sunset Magazine titled “Digging for Dinner.” Included in the proposal are promotion and ecommerce opportunities, reader engagement strategies, content and inbound marketing ideas, and multimedia options.

(print to web conversion)

One of many option-for-film book reviews I developed as a children’s storybook consultant for HandMade Films, known for notables like Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Time Bandits, and the children’s movie, Eloise. The Legend of Holly Claus is an instant holiday classic about the life of Nicholas Claus’ daughter and her struggle to free her frozen heart from evil clutches. It’s a tale of love, faith, friendship, and the magic of dreams.

(option-for-film book review)

In this article proposal for Appleseeds Magazine’s July 2009 “Energy: Using It and Saving It” issue, published by Cobblestone, I describe the ways in which scientists are harnessing renewable energy from manmade tornados to power small cities in the future. Talk about clever cyclones!

(children’s mag article)

Spring forward. Fall back. This is a second article query for Appleseeds Magazine’s July 2009 “Energy: Using It and Saving It” issue, focused on the energy debate over Daylight Saving Time. The article looks at the history, rationale and debate behind DST, with a call for kid readers to decide its value for themselves.

(children’s mag article)

“Lapland: Preserving a Frosty Frontier” is a query for the “Extreme Places” themed issue of Faces, a children’s magazine published by Cobblestone. Can modern and ancient cultures coexist? Here is a look at the Lapps of Lapland – their unique history, customs and daily habits, and what they stand to lose and gain from competing modern societies.

(children’s mag article)

Download a W.O.R.D. Ink DocumentProfiles 

Emi-Jay creates hair ties and headbands handmade by 15-year olds Julianne Goldmark and Emily Matson, and beloved by celebs like Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum, and Oprah. Equally irresistible is that a portion of proceeds is donated to eight different charities. Julianne, a Curtis School graduate, describes how she juggles running a business and maintaining great grades. It all starts with a winning attitude.

(fashion profile)



Champion water polo athlete James McNamara is a big fish in a big-time pond, now attending freshman year at Brown University, and fulfilling a dream held since his elementary days at Curtis School. Behind the acrobatic movements of a water polo match is a relentless competition of endurance, strength, agility, sport IQ, and self-discipline — all attributes essential to James as an elite competitor.

(sports profile)

Palm-sized moviemaking in an hour. That’s Brick Maier’s specialty. In this proposal for Edutopia’s digital magazine for progressive, public K-12 education, I profiled the founder of Tabletop Media. The former language arts teacher has created a way to shrink the moviemaking process down to a table-size scope using handheld characters and props, and a flipbook of backgrounds. Running iMovie on an iPad2, kids simply frame, shoot, edit and export. Tabletop is partnered with the Young Storytellers Foundation, bringing the creative arts to underserved students around Los Angeles.

(business profile)

Download a W.O.R.D. Ink DocumentAudio & Video 
W.O.R.D. Ink's YouTube Channel

W.O.R.D. Ink’s YouTube Channel features every Tabletop Movie, stop-motion animation, and digital narrative produced in workshops since 2011. (2010 videos are archived on our older workshop site at http://mywritingadventures.com/archive)

(W.O.R.D. Ink’s YouTube Channel)