"Sheila, thank you so much for being one of my most important inspirations! This writing I did in your workshop at Pima Community College. It is my first submissions ever of anything I ever wrote, and it got published in the Pima College Art & Literary Magazine Cababi. I am on my way. I am a Writer! And I am published!!!"
"Yesterday I received an e-mail from one of the editors from ThrewLine Press --- Hartskill Review, and he is going to publish my poem about "speak falsely, tell an untruth" --- written in our last workshop! I had revised it a bit, per comments from you and the group. I am so overjoyed by having this poem able to be read more widely --- the whole point of our writing is to speak our truths to others --- and it is a wonderful affirmation at this point in my life --- and I thank you for the inspirational group work you offer!"
"The workshop you gave on Whidbey Island blew me away -- I learned so much from you, but also I became inspired and motivated again. Thank you! I am leaving tomorrow for my first Writer's Retreat in Alburquque -- they will be hard pressed to provide in three days what you did in one!"
"... you're helping me move my approach and writing quality light years forward ... I honestly wish I had begun my work with you ages ago. I'd probably be on my third book by now."
"Thank you for showing me once again to just trust the writing and the soul, as both will reveal what it is they need to."
"I am charmed by this idea and am thinking very seriously of hiring myself as a journaler and all-purpose writer. Thank you Sheila! "
Mai Lon Gittelsohn
"I am shocked at what I do not see in an essay until I read Sheila`s response. Some of it I feel while reading, but do not notice until I see her response. Some of the feelings I get, I think I should not respond to. No wonder people pay for another`s experience! It is so required for us to learn. This is an apprenticeship class for me!"
"I just wanted you to know that I`m sorry this is the end of class. It`s been an eye-opening experience for me and I think that`s exactly what I was looking for. The feedback from you, especially the editing suggestions, and from the other members of the class was very helpful and encouraging."
"Thank you Sheila for setting up such a positive class experience...it has been very helpful."
"I appreciate all we did in this class. And it was great having the 3-step response method as a guideline for responding to everyone`s work. "
"I`m really enjoying it, by the way. Your exercises always at first make me scratch me head: "What could I possibly have to say about THAT" and then all this stuff flows out, things I haven`t even thought about..."
"What I am particularly struck by with Sheila is that she presents a great comforting wisdom from her background and experience; yet she also has an enthusiasm for the craft of writing that feels like she just got started yesterday. The enthusiasm is contagious and really inspired me to open up and let my inner critic take a break.. it is a great skill and talent to mix nurturing support with honest critical comments. I feel Sheila possesses that type of talent and finesse." ~ Wendy A. Johnson
"You're a generous and insightful teacher."
"... this has been a very productive class for me. I've learned a lot and feel like I have grown a lot in the process."
"Sheila has the unique ability to take a writer's rough narrative and identify the essence that could be developed into a worthwhile literary piece. Sheila's careful feedback helps writers revise, compress, and expand, whatever the piece needs."
Mary Ellen Talley
"You are so careful, Sheila, to edit out without adding in. It is like this: I ride the horse and do it well, but have no idea that I have not asked the horse to really run to win. I am just riding the horse well. You take your seat in the saddle, put the horse through its paces and then release him to really run, haunches bunched, breathing hard, riding the rail, tail flying, nostrils flared, to cross the finish line under the wire to win. You trot back to hand me the reins and say, “See how it’s done?” Like it is all in a day’s work." ~ Barbarann Ayers
"The essay you helped me with, “Of Birds and Bees and Spiders, Too” won 1st place in the Arapahoe Community College Literary Contest in the nonfiction category. (That was the essay about deciding whether or not to help a bumblebee out of a black widow spider’s web.) I incorporated your comments and apparently it worked! Thank you again for your spot-on editor’s eye!"
"I had been searching for a writing class online for years and have tried so many but they all left me empty…. yours has filled me with energy and a spark that has ignited my psyche!"
"I feel like you really are able to get under our skin and feel and see what’s important to us, and say that back to us complete with suggestions of how to say it better. This has been an incredible gift to me, and others too, I’m sure. (I cried a lot as I read your response.)"
"I’m still pinching myself…to have found you as a teacher is simply a miracle. This is the first time in a while that I can see how to take my writing up another notch."
"I find Sheila’s feedback to be some of the very best I have ever received to help me move my writing to better, higher, deeper levels."
It is important to Sheila to learn how articles, in-person and online instruction, coaching and editing services have helped writers achieve their writing goals. People’s written testimonials let her know she’s on track. In addition to this sampling, there are many more testimonials organized by topic including Articles, Consults, Editing, Classes, Writer’s Conference,Contest and Live Seminars, Online classes & One-on-Ones.
"I’m sooo excited. Thanks to you and your smarts and response. I love what you have done. Your work on my one section is a gift as you are indeed a gift. I have carefully read and read your revision and with increasing clarity see what you have done; it works much better for certain and has set me on a “new and improved” start."
"You’re a wonderful memoir teacher — truly, the best I’ve had."
"Thank you for all things in this class, Sheila. It has been a dream come true."
"Thank you all so much for reading and providing feedback to me, and for encouraging me to open that vein! Sheila, this has by far been the best writing class I have ever taken as far as the process (velcro and feelings, curiosities) and the feedback. You are amazing!"
"... your writing guidance is priceless!"
"Taking this class not only gave me a safe container to hold and work with my grief, but helped to jumpstart my writing again. It was a pleasure to work with each of my classmates, and I enjoyed the process of sharing our work."
"I have taken several online courses with relatively famous women writers, and you have been the most giving and involved with genuine feedback and follow-through. I thank you for that. I have learned from reading your remarks to others and the assignments have been thought-provoking and challenging -- just the right mix for an aspiring writer!"
"...this is the 1st class, the 1st place ever, that I’ve experienced the deep power of editing!"
"Thanks for your guidance through this course. I feel I have grown as a writer from reading the other essays and the variety of comments. It's a course I will take again."
"Thank you for gently, but firmly guiding me in expanding and honing my writing. I look forward to more in the future."
"I had the opportunity to take two of Sheila's classes on line this past winter, which were life changing for me! Great information, honest feedback, and confidence building! I hope to keep growing through this new experience."
"Sheila's exercises, as opposed to others, seem to pull the best writing out of me. I appreciate Sheila's kindness yet helpfulness in responding to my writings."
Elizabeth Marie Wampler
- June 9-12, 2016 – Our Grand Finale 19th Writing It Real in Suquamish Writers’ Conference. Early Bird Rate will run out soon! Enroll or email for more information.
- View Schedule for all online classes:
Make Your Writing Dreams Come True! Learn from Poet, Essayist and Author Sheila Bender
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Editing and Development
- Telephone Consults
- Live Seminars & Workshops
- Manuscript Evaluations
- On-Line Tutorials and Classes
- Conferences and Workshops
- Weekly Articles on Craft and the Writing Life
- Writing Contests
- Group Discussions
Sheila’s slogan when it comes to work-in-progress is that there is no bad writing, only opportunities for good writing. Her community of contributing writers and students are committed to bringing life experiences to the page. So, whether you are reading Writing It Real’s library of weekly articles, working in Writing It Real’s online classes, attending writers’ conferences with master writers or receiving response and mentoring in one-on-one study, you will learn to develop your work and say what you’ve dreamed of saying. If you’d like to publish, you will be on your way to submitting work that grabs editors’ attention.
Taking time to write from personal experience provides the right food and the right stuff for finding what lights our souls and what we have to offer others.
Beginning new work or reshaping older work? Sheila can help you look into your creative nonfiction, memoir, personal essay, poetry and short fiction, even college and graduate school application essays, for surprises and wisdom. Learn to bring out the best in your writing. Join Writing It Real today. It’s the “write” place for expert guidance and tremendously useful resources.