Meet the Teaching Artist: Writing Through Grief with Katie Reilly
by Writing Workshops Staff
A week ago
We are excited to introduce you to Katie Reilly, whose background as a freelance journalist and attorney has led her to explore compelling subjects such as women's health, mental health, and parenting in her writing. Her articles have been published in notable publications like The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Elle Magazine, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, USA Today, and HuffPost, among others. We are honored to Katie's upcoming 3-Week course, Writing Through Grief, where she will share her expertise and guide you on your creative nonfiction journey.
Hi, Katie. Please introduce yourself to our audience.
I live in the Bay Area (originally from the East Coast) with my two daughters, husband and Bernadoodle. When I'm not writing, I'm usually at the gym, listening to music, reading or chasing after my girls.
What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?
At the end of my 20s, my mother died from ALS. Four years later, I lost my father to cancer. Prior to their deaths, I'd never lost anyone close to me. That intense experience of loss crippled me in many ways and also shocked me that grief isn't a larger part of the conversation in our culture. I write about a lot of different things (mental health, parenting, women's sports), but I always come back to writing about grief. Sometimes I just need breaks. ;)
Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?
There will be three classes. In the first class, we'll do introductions and a roadmap of the course and each student will workshop their idea if they want to. In the second class, we'll go into the different types of essays that can be a grief essay and in the final class we'll focus on how to write a pitch and where to pitch. In every class, we'll also discuss the readings and hopefully get a visit from an editor!
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.
How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?
Sometimes I choose what I'm working on by choice or sometimes a pitch gets accepted and I have to finish it because of a deadline. The only way I know I want to write something to the end is if I start writing.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in my daily life, which is interesting considering I go to bed quite early these days! I always have lots of ideas, which I'm constantly writing down in lists, and only a small portion of those actually turn into something longer.
What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?
A writing teacher I once had told me to think about how many times the books or articles we read are edited before we read them. We often expect to write a perfect, polished first draft and yet most of the work I love has been edited many, many times. Thinking about that helps me not be a perfectionist and to just keep writing.
Work with Katie:
Learn more about Katie's upcoming course: Writing Through Grief 3-Week Zoom Workshop.
Instructor Katie Reilly is a freelance journalist and attorney based in the Bay Area in California. Katie's writing generally focuses on women's health, mental health and parenting. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Elle Magazine, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, USA Today and HuffPost, among other publications. Learn more at Katie's website.