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Live Workshop

Indexing as Creative Discovery

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During this craft seminar, we will take a practical look at how to use index cards to brainstorm, write, and revise creative nonfiction

When used as writing tools, index cards can not only retain facts and ideas, but can also keep track of important bibliographic and structural information for an essay or book; once collected, cards can then be spread out to visualize the shape of a written project, see what is missing, and envision what needs to be added.

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"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! So yes, by all means teach it!"

Courtney Zenner

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"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! So yes, by all means teach it!"

Courtney Zenner

Membership Website

The Unexpected Shape Community

Young Professionals Working On A Project

I’ve created something that is just for ambitious people living with limitations. (Join anytime.)

For people who are eager to write, and who deal with chronic conditions and disabilities.

A beautiful online space that celebrates curiosity, ambition, and resilience, just as much as it does rest, taking-care, and community.

Here’s what you can expect from The Unexpected Shape Community:

A content library, which will include access to online courses & workshops so we can learn together, a private community to connect, share, & interact with other members. Curated emails, so that we can celebrate our wins and delight in one another’s highlights, co-writing, which will come in the form of regular live co-writing sessions through Zoom, with prompts and pep talks so we can produce our work in community.

…and because the community is co-created, it will evolve as we do.

Join Community

“Thank you so, so much for a wonderful afternoon yesterday! It was such a joy to come together and feel like—be—part of a community, especially one designed to support and uplift each other. This is only my second workshop with Esme, but in both workshops and in times I’ve heard her read, I’m always left feeling both more myself and like a better version of myself. She somehow inspires me to both be brave and push myself and to be kind and allow myself to rest. I’m fairly confident that she’s magical, and am sure the Unexpected Shape Community will be, too.”

Meg R.

Young Professionals Working On A Project

“Thank you so, so much for a wonderful afternoon yesterday! It was such a joy to come together and feel like—be—part of a community, especially one designed to support and uplift each other. This is only my second workshop with Esme, but in both workshops and in times I’ve heard her read, I’m always left feeling both more myself and like a better version of myself. She somehow inspires me to both be brave and push myself and to be kind and allow myself to rest. I’m fairly confident that she’s magical, and am sure the Unexpected Shape Community will be, too.”

Meg R.

Redeeming (Gift Certificates, Rawness of Remembering Code)

Did Someone Give You A Gift? Look Here!

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If you received a Rawness of Remembering gift code, or if you purchased Rawness of Remembering and can’t figure out how to get back into the site, please head over to this website to use your login information. If you’re still confused, please email my Executive Assistant, Chloe, at chloe@esmewang.com with as much information for her as possible.

If you received a gift certificate and would like to redeem it for an upcoming workshop, make sure that the workshop is actually happening. How will you know that? Subscribe to With Love & Squalor for updates. Then, when you’d like to sign up for the appropriate workshop, please email my Executive Assistant, Chloe, at chloe@esmewang.com with as much information for her as possible.

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Free E-Book

Productivity Journaling with Limitations

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Love analogue planning, or wish to figure out how to start? Are you an ambitious person living with limitations, such as chronic illness, mental health challenges, or caretaking responsibilities? This elegant workbook will show you the methods I use to do my morning planning and journaling. & once you’ve received Productivity Journaling with Limitations: The Morning Ritual, you’ll also receive With Love & Squalor—monthly love letters from me about life, resilience, and making the most of our days.

Get the E-Book

"The [workbook] is amazing, and I genuinely mean that. I think writing down what I’ve done each day and accomplished will help with my mood massively. I also love the 1-3-6 thing; I had never heard of that before, but will definitely be following it from now on.”

Kayleigh

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"The [workbook] is amazing, and I genuinely mean that. I think writing down what I’ve done each day and accomplished will help with my mood massively. I also love the 1-3-6 thing; I had never heard of that before, but will definitely be following it from now on.”

Kayleigh

Essay Collection

The Collected Schizophrenias

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A New York Times bestseller. Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award.


An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

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“[The Collected Schizophrenias is] resoundingly intelligent, often unexpectedly funny, questioning, fearless and peerless, as Wang makes for brilliant company on 13 difficult walks through largely uncharted territory.”

Los Angeles Times

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“[The Collected Schizophrenias is] resoundingly intelligent, often unexpectedly funny, questioning, fearless and peerless, as Wang makes for brilliant company on 13 difficult walks through largely uncharted territory.”

Los Angeles Times

A Novel

The Border of Paradise

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An epic tale of one iconoclastic family’s inheritance of madness in Brooklyn, Taiwan, and Northern California.


In booming postwar Brooklyn, the Nowak Piano Company is an American success story. There is just one problem: the Nowak’s only son, David. A handsome kid and shy like his mother, David struggles with neuroses. If not for his only friend, Marianne, David’s life would be intolerable. When David inherits the piano company at just 18 and Marianne breaks things off, David sells the company and travels around the world. In Taiwan, his life changes when he meets the daughter of a local madame—beautiful, sharp-tongued Daisy. Returning to the United States, the couple (and newborn son) buy an isolated country house in Northern California’s Polk Valley. As David’s mental health deteriorates, he has a brief affair with Marianne, producing a daughter. When Marianne appears at their doorstep, the couple’s fateful decision to take the child as their own determines a tragic course of events for the entire family. Told from multiple perspectives, The Border of Paradise culminates in heartrending fashion, as the young heirs to the Nowak fortune must confront their past and the tragic reality of their future.

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"The Border of Paradise is shaped by darkness and the kind of delicious story that makes for missed train stops and bedtimes, keeping a reader up late for just one more page of dynamic character-bouncing perspective… It is the author’s stunning introduction to the literary world."

New York Times

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"The Border of Paradise is shaped by darkness and the kind of delicious story that makes for missed train stops and bedtimes, keeping a reader up late for just one more page of dynamic character-bouncing perspective… It is the author’s stunning introduction to the literary world."

New York Times

Free Guided E-Course

Encouragement Notes

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In late November 2015, after a year of stress and illness, I decided to create a free resource called the Encouragement Notes. The Encouragement Notes would comprise encouraging emails, sent from Monday through Friday, every day in December—a month that’s often considered to be celebratory and exciting, but is also hugely stressful for many. The Encouragement Notes also came with a community known as Keep Going, You’re Doing Great, a private Facebook group of wonderful men, women, and gender non-conforming individuals who supported one another and built a sense of camaraderie in the dimmer months (even calling themselves Encouragers at one point). In total, over 300 people signed up for the inaugural version of the Encouragement Notes. The Notes and the group are now available to everyone—and still for free.

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"The best part of the Encouragement Notes was that I knew that every morning, I had something to look forward to in my inbox. Mornings are very difficult for me health-wise these days, and it was incredible to be able to go to bed knowing I had a reason to get up the next day and keep going. I will sorely miss the solace I found everyday in these little notes, which I would always read a few minutes upon waking up, and reread throughout the day for a little extra boost. Thank you, Esmé, for this thoughtful initiative!"

Lili

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"The best part of the Encouragement Notes was that I knew that every morning, I had something to look forward to in my inbox. Mornings are very difficult for me health-wise these days, and it was incredible to be able to go to bed knowing I had a reason to get up the next day and keep going. I will sorely miss the solace I found everyday in these little notes, which I would always read a few minutes upon waking up, and reread throughout the day for a little extra boost. Thank you, Esmé, for this thoughtful initiative!"

Lili

Live Workshop

Writing Personal Nonfiction About What Hurts

Woman In Her 50s

During this seminar for nonfiction writers, we will take a look at writing nonfiction, including personal essay and memoir, about painful subjects.

Questions that we will address include, How do we prepare to write about trauma while doing minimal harm to ourselves? How do we know whether it’s really time to write about something painful? What about the other people that are involved in the things that we want to write about? And how do we keep ourselves from making our nonfiction into a self-absorbed journal entry, as opposed to literature?

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“Esmé is exceedingly knowledgeable and her teaching style is the perfect blend of calmly explaining every step of the writing process so you won’t be left confused and answering additional questions. She also puts much thought into every answer instead of giving a quick reply – I felt seen, taken care of and special, even though it was a group workshop.”

Navina B.

Woman In Her 50s

“Esmé is exceedingly knowledgeable and her teaching style is the perfect blend of calmly explaining every step of the writing process so you won’t be left confused and answering additional questions. She also puts much thought into every answer instead of giving a quick reply – I felt seen, taken care of and special, even though it was a group workshop.”

Navina B.

Live Workshop

What the Heck Is A Book Proposal (& How Do I Write One?)

Woman Studying On The Bed.

During this seminar for nonfiction writers, we will take a practical look at how to create a nonfiction book proposal that sells.

I’m a former book proposal coach who specialized in helping those new to the publishing world create and sell their nonfiction books. Along the way, I learned the ins and outs of writing nonfiction book proposals—and I want to share that information with you.

This three-hour seminar, during which I’ll walk you through a book proposal and answer questions about traditional publishing, is intended for those who are inexperienced with the book proposal process. We will also have a guest who knows the answers to the things I don’t: Calvert Morgan, Executive Editor at Riverhead at Penguin Books, who specializes in literary nonfiction (one of his most recent projects is Eula Biss’s newest book, Having and Being Had).

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“I was a bit anxious going in, seeing as I haven't attended live webinars before and was afraid it would be awkward. But I needn't have worried, as you created a very welcoming and warm atmosphere.”

Milena T.

Woman Studying On The Bed.

“I was a bit anxious going in, seeing as I haven't attended live webinars before and was afraid it would be awkward. But I needn't have worried, as you created a very welcoming and warm atmosphere.”

Milena T.

Live Workshop

Obsession and the Creation of Fiction

African Woman Writing In A Notebook

During this craft seminar for fiction writers, 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.

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"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

African Woman Writing In A Notebook

"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

My Bookshop

Recommended Reads

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My Bookshop library is home to some of my most treasured and recommended reads.

These are the books that I turn to, find comfort in, and continue to enjoy. Within this collection, you’ll find books written by authors such as Toni Morrison, T Kira Madden, Ilya Kaminsky, and Leo Tolstoy (to name a few), and when you purchase through my Bookshop page, you are directly supporting independent bookstores, as well as myself. I also encourage sure you check back in from time to time, as it is inevitable that my collection of recommended reads will grow.

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Resources

I have affiliated myself with a small number of products, programs, and e-books, all of which I found to be excellent products. I’m sharing them with you here, in case you should find them useful to you as well.

Full disclosure: should you purchase any of these products with the given links, I will receive a commission—but again, I stand behind everything listed here, and spent my own money on them before becoming an affiliate.

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Station Seven

Station Seven makes the most extraordinary resources for those seeking a way to make their online presence more powerfully elegant—I have previously used Station Seven WordPress themes, and I still use their social media design kits in order to streamline my visual brand.

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Small Business Bodyguard

Small Business Bodyguard was one of the first investments that I ever made in my business, and I haven’t regretted it for a second. This robust and information-packed program contains sound legal advice and more, ranging from, “Is an S-Corp more sound for me than an LLC or sole proprietorship?”, to, “I need a good freelance contract—where can I find one?” The templates alone are worth the price of admission: created by a working lawyer, you’ll find useful templates for an enormous number of legal documents. Highly recommended.

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Spirited

Created by Rachel MacDonald and Tara Bliss, this spiritually-minded e-book is an excellent primer to the “woo-woo” side of life. Should you be interested in manifestation, meditation, and a combination of introspection and trusting the Universe, this gorgeously designed volume is for you. I purchased it during the worst year of my life, printed it out and bound it, and ended up scribbling notes all over the worksheets and chapters while sitting in a papasan in a tiny old house in New Orleans.

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The E-Letter Atelier

The E-Letter Atelier came about at a time when I was struggling mightily with my e-letter (also known as a tiny letter or newsletter). What the heck was I supposed to write about? How would I promote my products without sounding like a sleazeball? How regularly should I release a new letter? These questions, and much more, were put to rest by this class, which I maintain is the best e-course I’ve ever taken—now available as a self-paced course.

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The Impossible Project

I am probably what they call a “power user” of Impossible Project film; if you poke around in my fridge, you’re bound to find a stack behind the zucchini. The Impossible Project makes film for old-school Polaroid cameras, as well as selling Polaroid cameras and camera accessories. They’re the best at what they do; and if you’re a Polaroid user, do get to know them. You won’t regret it.

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