Our writing school started in 2011 with one downloadable course called Story Is a State of Mind. This program holds the heart of what I teach. Story Is a State of Mind has now evolved into a larger community — a school — and writers can advance their study by taking two more writing programs (The Story Intensive and The Story Workshop). All three programs are guided by the same foundation course. That foundation course is now called The Story Course.

Online Writing Workshop

“Smart, encouraging, practical.”
– Margaret Atwood

Your writing needs your entire heart if you want it to feel real, but it also needs technique. Story Is a State of Mind teaches you how to still your mind and write with fresh energy. It teaches you how to be attentive and improve your craft. Most importantly, it teaches you how to get out of your own way.

Eudora Welty said, “Write what you don’t know about what you know.” Story Is a State of Mind teaches you how to do that.

Writing is a life practice; Story Is a State of Mind trains you for the long term. It will change the way you think when you write creatively. You’ll learn to recognize and respect a state of mind that doesn’t get a lot of attention in your daily life.

“Beautifully imagined and crafted, this may well be the most inspiring, practical guide for writers ever created. It combines a wise, easy approach to 21st century technology with the heart and soul of a writer. I’m amazed at what Story is a State of Mind makes possible.”
– Peter Levitt

Do you resist writing?
You can train yourself to write anyway.

  • Work with your resistance, no matter how stubborn it is.
  • Write your first drafts better – the first time.
  • Learn how to make something out of nothing.
  • Write to feel like you’re getting away with it.
  • Learn how to create subtext and drama immediately.
  • Feel the world the way your character feels it.
  • Learn how to make a story feel like it existed even before you wrote it.

Story Is a State of Mind is a different kind of writing course. It trains you to work with uncertainty, and helps you develop good habits so you can trust your own writing process. At the same time, you will learn and practice techniques that will make you a much better writer. You’ll experience a new new level of clarity, eloquence and productivity when you write. It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s inspiring.

Learn how to work with your creative mind, not against it.

Write fiction that is so honest, it becomes real.

Rethink your relationship to writing: commit to it.


Online Writing Workshop

This program is self-directed, and there’s no workshop/critique component (if you’re looking for that, consider joining us in The Story Intensive or The Story Workshop). It can be your month long writing retreat, your seven day writing intensive, or your weekly writing workshop: you decide how deep you dive.

When you purchase this program, you’ll receive instant access to our online classroom, where you can access all the materials to download and use on your computer/print out/stream on your iPhone/ etc.

Even though the program comes to you initially on your computer, you will always be writing by hand. You can connect with other participants in the members-only Facebook group, but that’s optional if you like to write solo.

Story Is a State of Mind is meant to keep you inspired and on track while you generate viciously good new material.

By the end of this program, my goal is for you to feel transformed. I also want you to finish the first draft of the best short story you’ve ever written in your life. It will still be a first draft. The difference is, it will be a killer first draft.

A beautiful environment makes all the difference when you’re doing creative work. So I designed the program for usability, comfort, and elegance. An ugly website is not inspiring! All of the audio and video has been produced for a feeling of warmth, grace and intimacy.
Take a look for yourself:
Peek inside the Story Is a State of Mind Classroom.

Here’s a breakdown of how this versatile program functions.

  • Every lesson begins with concentrated instruction and luminous inspiration. You can download the Class Notes as a PDF and read it on your screen or you can print them out and read them on paper (this is my preference).
  • The lessons are illustrated by readings that I chose for their technical brilliance. You have the same options here: print, ePub, PDF. If you prefer, you can access them from the online classroom one at a time. If there’s a story you love and you want to buy the whole book by that author, just click a button to order it from my Amazon store – it’s curated just for the course. Almost all of the stories used in the program are available to buy (a few are rare and hard to find elsewhere).
  • Each reading is debriefed by me – I talk you through what I want you to especially notice about the craft in each story. I don’t interpret the stories for you – I only help you understand what the writing is doing. I made written transcriptions of these Reading Debriefs, if you want to read them later.
  • Video tutorials illuminate your process even more. I planted pep talks throughout the course, right when you need them, to give you further instruction and energy. Watch the videos online, or download a smaller version and watch it on your magic mobile device. You can download the written transcriptions of the videos, too.
  • There are 3 in-depth practice exercises for each lesson. This is where your relationship with writing will really start to evolve. You will write by hand, in your notebook. I guide you through these exercises with easy-to-use audio files.
  • There is a final assignment for each lesson. Think of the assignments working like a kiln: this is where you put all your hard work and practice once it’s ready for firing. Gradually, lesson by lesson, you create a vessel. You’re writing by hand again for these. This is where the magic happens. By the end of the program, you will have finished the first draft of at least one story.
  • I love podcasts. So I made you audio files for almost every single component of the program. You can listen to the whole program as a podcast on your MP3 player and take it with you when you run, walk your dog, or ride the train to work. You can also just let me talk to you as you sit in your favourite cozy chair.
  • When you complete the program, a personalized style diagnosis will help you take your craft to the next level. This sophisticated program will tell you who you should be reading next, and why. It’s available online, and you’ll find the secret link for this at the end of your final lesson.
  • I’ve set up a private, members-only discussion group for Story Is a State of Mind participants on Facebook. This is where you can share assignments, post questions and thoughts, and discuss the readings and lessons with a community of like-minded writers. (After researching the options, I decided that Facebook really is the best place for this kind of thing. If you’re not an FB person (I get it), you can start your own private online discussion community using a wiki – lots of people who met in the FB group are doing just that!)

Components include:

  • A beautifully-designed book on the writing life: method, inspiration and instruction
  • A fiction anthology companion: 40 short stories, including both excerpts and full-length stories, carefully selected by me
  • 4 inspirational videos: pep talks that guide through the rough spots
  • 7 Reading Debriefs: podcasts that examine the craft of short fiction
  • Audiobook of the entire program
  • 21 instructive practice exercises, including audio prompts
  • 7 powerful larger assignments, including audio prompts
  • Writing style diagnosis and prescription: personalized
  • A community of like-minded writers in the private, members-only group
  • Video tutorials that explain how to use the program
  • Video transcripts
  • Audio transcripts

Want to see exactly what you’ll be learning?
Take a look at the Table of Contents here.

Do the program within a month. Do it over the year. Take yourself on a writing retreat: spend time writing over the holiday, wherever you are. Take it with you on your long weekends out of the city. Lock the kids out of your room for an hour at a time, whenever you can. You decide how to use it. Once you enroll, you have it for life: it does not expire.
I have taken extreme care to make sure that it is straightforward and elegant and beautiful. Lots of white space and clear, readable buttons. One click will even download the entire program for you.

If you ever run into trouble, there are explanatory videos to help you. And there’s always someone to contact if you are really stuck.

This is not a writing course: this is a writing ecosystem.
You will not be disappointed.


Online Writing Workshop

It was important to me to keep the cost as low as possible. I secured permissions for everything that’s reprinted in The Readings, so you can read and consult excellent stories throughout the course without having to buy an expensive, mandatory stack of books (or pirate copyrighted material). The entire program is $250.

I have a no-refund policy. Click here to find out why.



Our Daily Writing Prompts are great for developing a daily writing practice, which is an important part of being a writer.  That’s why when you enroll in The Story Course, you will also receive Daily Prompts sent to your inbox as a free gift.  If you do not wish to get them, you will be able to unsubscribe.

If you have already paid the $25 subscription fee, it will be credited back to you once you sign up for the course here.


This is a powerful, challenging, and compassionate writing program.

This is everything that I would have wanted to find in a writing course when I was trying to write my own book.

When I was writing my first book, I struggled with writer’s block. It was bad. I sank into a depression that took me years to repair. I went to a lot of writing workshops during those years. A lot. I was trying so hard to get my writing back – that beautiful state of mind that existed when I was writing easily, and with pleasure – I would have done anything to get it back.

That feeling – you know the one – is rare and irreplaceable. It’s almost divine. Maybe it is divine.

With a lot of work and study and practice, I was able to repair my relationship with writing and find that state of mind again. Finally. I’ve learned how to work with creativity as I’d work with an intimate friend: with respect, curiosity, and love. And I’ve made it my work to teach writers how to do this for themselves.

I don’t believe in writers’ block anymore. Resistance never goes away forever – but you can work with it.

The methods in Story Is a State of Mind are the exact methods that helped me repair my relationship with writing and find that state of mind again. This is still how I write today. I can teach you how to do it. It’s all about presence, practice, and technique. Presence, practice, and technique.

There’s so much more to good writing than just plot and character and dialogue. That’s all crucial for good writing – of course it is – but there’s a deeper level that you must access when you write, if you want your work to radiate and transcend.

You need to understand both: presence and technique.

Do this for yourself.

Do it for your writing.

Do it for the people you love. (You know you’re a better person when you’re writing.)

Stop thinking about when you used to write, or how much you wish you were writing. Even if you only have ten minutes a day, you can do this.

Just write.

I made this to help you.

Sarah Selecky

Online Writing Workshop

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