Obsession and the Creation of Fiction

Obsession and the Creation of Fiction

Live Workshop

Date & Time TBA
$100 (scholarships offered; see below)

During this craft seminar for fiction writers of all levels, we will take a practical look at how to use our personal and creative obsessions to fuel our fiction and break through writer’s block on a daily basis.

I’ll be sharing with you my method of finding the power source behind your fiction: obsessions and themes. The next time you’re stuck on a project, you’ll know where to turn. You’ll have pages and pages of information that inspire you, and only you.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss:

  • How to keep an “electricity” file or notebook (digital or analog), including paper clippings, image files, and written documents
  • What obsessions and themes have to do with our greater body of work, using examples from published short stories by others, as well as from my own published work
  • The importance of obsessions and themes in fueling your work and breaking through writer’s block
  • Concrete methods to find examples of creative obsessions
  • The importance of uncovering your key thematic questions, and how to find them in your own work
  • How to move forward with your work once you’ve found your “electricity”

The material in this class has been taught in in a different form in a workbook called Where’s the Electricity?; however, this workshop will be significantly different from that workbook, both in content and experience.

Because of the nature of the class, the workshop will be recorded and shared with participants for 24 hours after it takes place, but a recording will not be made permanently available.

Sign up & be the first to know when this workshop will be offered again

& alongside important updates, you’ll also receive With Love & Squalor—monthly love letters from me about life, resilience, and making the most of our days.


Scholarships for this workshop will be made available again. More information TBA.


A portion of the net revenue from the workshop will be donated to charities/organizations assisting the Black Lives Matter movement, including Assata’s Daughters, the Okra Project, and Reclaim the Block.


If you have questions about the workshop, please DM me on Twitter at @esmewang.

Teaching Testimonials

I wanted to express how much I enjoyed this workshop. Your approach and tone was surprisingly warm for a Zoom workshop—it’s such a hard thing to pull off when you don’t necessarily get the immediate feedback on how certain points are landing, and I felt like you pulled it off beautifully, making us feel like we were in the room with you… It feels empowering, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken this workshop. I have a feeling it’s going to have an immense impact on my writing process going forward.

Robin Yang

I loooooooved that class at Lighthouse in Denver… wanted to tell you, the method helped me write an essay that ended up landing me a teaching fellowship at Colorado State University!

Courtney Zenner

The method is really simple to use, adoptable to your own needs and well explained step by step. Esmé created such great vibes and a relaxed atmosphere. I’m very thankful for the experience.

Cordt Winkler


“‘Obsessions need their own room,’ are words that came to me, from the late Michelle McNamara, the night after watching the workshop recording. Living with a chronic inability to commit to my projects and stories because of the lack of motivation (coupled by my abundant excuses), your workshop woke up something in me that made me face the uncomfortable truth that although writing is hard, what I don’t do out of my own imaginary fear is a much harder pill to swallow. I’m ravished with ideas constantly. I’m taken over by this rush of electricity that I endlessly watch fizzle out into nothingness. Now, though, I have nothing to truly hold me back. Your advice and wisdom, as well as knowing your own hardships and setbacks, really made me realize that the only block I’ve had for all this time was not knowing other ways to keep that electric current charged and going. Absolutely amazing and thank you a million times.”

Jade Ivy Monét

“Your discussion of creating scaffolding, of using notebooks to nurture and grow responses to images, these and more, but most of all your gracious inclusive presence have made a palpable difference to me.

I feel a renewed and new sense of purpose and agency in relation to my writing process.”

Joan F.

“Thanks so much Esme for a fantastic session. I’m feeling creatively charged! I’m likewise someone who is visually inspired and it was great to see you using some visually-based techniques to mine the world for inspiration. I’m buying my A5 notebooks and a printer as we speak!”

Jessica F.

“I’ve been trying to overcome my writing block for a few years now; I would find a topic I’d become inspired by but it would quickly fizzle out, as I wouldn’t be able to keep all the emotions, words, images in my head at once, losing them and losing the electricity behind the inspiration.

The idea of having a notebook to store all of that in is simple – but that’s why it’s ingenious. I found your explanations very good and inspiring in themselves, Esmé—I’m itching to start collecting images that speak to me and have already unearthed an old notebook which I believe will do great for this purpose.

I really appreciate how open and validating you were while talking about using obsessions to fuel creativity and everyday life.”

Lena T.

“This workshop was everything I hoped it would be and more. I love that it was something practical. Sometimes the theoretical workshops don’t do it for me because I don’t have anything to grasp onto in order to ground my writing.”

Ashley S.

Esmé Weijun Wang with a blue pixie cut, wearing a floral dress, wire-rim glasses and red lipstickEsmé Weijun Wang is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays and The Border of Paradise: A Novel. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017; her short fiction has been included in the Best American Short Stories anthology. She has also received fellowships to Yaddo and MacDowell. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.