Workshops | W.O.R.D. Ink

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

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer,
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
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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 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’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
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 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
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
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. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade
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
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’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
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 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
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
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 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 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
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


W.O.R.D. Ink Workshops for Kids, Teachers, Parents,

Writers & Small Businesses

**All In-Person Summer Workshops Are Pending Social Distancing Mandates for the State of California**


Take Advantage of Our Loyalty Rewards & Early Bird Discounts for Workshops While They Last!

!!! NEW FOR 2020 !!!


Enroll Today in our 2020 Summer Workshop Series!

(click on the images below for full-page descriptions)



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W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesPast Workshops for Kids

Writing Adventures

Writing Adventures mission is to get kids excited about writing and the creation process! We seek to develop each student’s unique talents and personal expression through inspiring, collaborative project-based learning opportunities, built on the fundamentals of good writing. Visit past workshops.

For Students & Teachers

The following workshops can be tailored to a student audience ages 8-14 or toward professional development for teachers. Each workshop is approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours in length.

W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesShort But Sweet: Tell Your Story Within a Tweet

Text message tweets are more than just a way to keep up with your peeps; they can help us say a lot with a little. In this workshop we’ll consider why quantity is not automatically quality, and how short doesn’t necessarily mean shortcut. We’ll then discuss tight writing as an invaluable life skill. The rest of our time will be spent on creating innovative content for very short writing activities. After this workshop, you’ll walk away taking more time to write less!

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W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesSentence Surgery! (student version)

Grab your scrubs and get ready to scope out how a sentence’s sound, length, punctuation, and arrangement can bring personality to any piece of writing. First stop: the lab, to study award-winning poets and authors such as Jack Gantos, Meg Rosoff, and Kevin Henkes. Next, we head to the operating room. After pulling sentences apart, you’ll put them back together again–only better, doctoring each line up with your own special style!

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W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesSentence Surgery: Crafting Voice Through Choice, Line by Line                                        (teacher version, 2 hrs)

Grab your scrubs and get ready to scope out how a sentence’s sound, length, punctuation, and arrangement can bring personality to any piece of writing. Crafting a sentence comes down to two choices that influence Voice: substance and style.

This session focuses on how the sentence imitation-to-creation approach helps students understand the relationship between writing mechanics, parts of speech, word choice, sentence fluency, tone, style and description. Participants will gain practice with this imitation technique for use in all steps of the writing process. After dividing a model sentence to inspect its parts, participants will doctor the line up with their own special style by learning to “flesh out” the basic subject-predicate “skeleton” sentence using six grammar tools that can make any sentence unique. Free take-home Grammar Tools bookmark to use immediately in the classroom!

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W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesMapping Our Memories

Everyone is a storyteller. The magic lies in believing that your experiences are worth sharing, that what you notice is worth celebrating, that you have a unique voice. Today we will celebrate our unique personal stories by drawing neighborhood maps in order to share and write about childhood memories. By the end of this workshop, you will walk away not only with a map of personal short stories and a draft of your favorite, but also a new appreciation for the wealth of ideas you possess — ideas worth publishing!

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W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesTeaching the 6+1 Traits of Writing, Grades 5-8 (10-hour course; 4 sessions)

In this 4-session course, I’ll walk you through how to effectively implement the 6+1 Traits of Writing curriculum throughout your entire school year. Session One’s overview will focus on how the writing traits fit into the writing process, as well as how to see oneself as a writer. Sessions Two and Three dive into the Ideas, Organization, Word Choice, Voice and Sentence Fluency traits as they relate to the revision process. Session Four looks at the Conventions and Presentation traits as they relate to the editing process. During this final workshop, we’ll also discuss the theory and practice behind “living a writerly life.” You’ll walk away not only with a copy of the entire presentation to keep on hand, but also a wealth of additional resource suggestions, including recommended literature, ready-to-go materials, and collaborative practice exercises and reflections. Whether you’re new to the 6+1 Traits approach or looking to expand your teaching repertoire, this course guarantees to leave you refreshed and inspired.

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For Parents 

W.O.R.D. Ink Writing Services
Workshop information coming soon!



For Small Businesses

W.O.R.D. Ink Writing Services Writing for Business Communications (full staff and small groups)

Boost the impact of your client, marketing, and intra-business communications from concept to publication by developing a handful of professional-strength writing skills that build on today’s best practices in digital media.

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For Writers

W.O.R.D. Ink Writing ServicesS.L.A.P. on that Voice! 4 Essential Tools that Bring Poetry to Your Prose

Poets use Sound, Length, Arrangement and Punctuation to give their writing power and you can, too. Through literary evaluation and writing exercises, we’ll demystify SYNTAX so you can master it.

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“Vanessa’s S.L.A.P. seminar was enjoyable and educational. Thought-provoking writing exercises. Plenty of ‘Ah-Hah’ moments after studying author samples. Vanessa is generous, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the craft of writing.” —Lupe Fernandez


“I love to write but despise poetry. I feel like I always miss what it’s about and never thought it would be of any use to my prose.  Vanessa’s cozy workshop was eye-opening. Her very accessible exercises made me feel secure and I really understood the dynamic ways in which poetry can lend itself to the written word.  Now, armed with the PowerPoint presentation of all of those exercises, I can apply them when needed to any part of my novel.  I went to the workshop to break out of my fear cycle about poetry.  Although I’m not an expert, I don’t feel as apprehensive that I ‘don’t know how’ to work with poetry as much.  It was very worth my time and money to attend.” —Hilde Garcia


“Vanessa puts writing beautiful, engaging prose into perspective.  She nurtures the great writer within you.” —Colleen Stratton  


“As a new children’s book writer, I not only crave the social aspect of writing workshops, but need a little encouragement from time to time that I do possess even a modicum of talent as a writer. My super-fragile ego needs a boost now and then. I also appreciate the practical aspects of getting down and dirty with pen and paper. I’m freshly inspired. And I have Vanessa to thank for that! Her enthusiasm is contagious. Keep it up and I’ll keep coming back.” —Annette Dariano


“Thanks, Vanessa, for the wonderful workshop you gave at our recent Writer 2 Writer meeting at the Flintridge Bookstore. I learned a great deal and I loved your presentation. It was very professional and obviously well thought out. Hope you plan on giving more lectures like this.” —Anne Loader McGee, author of The Mystery at Marlatt Manor