I teach writing, primarily at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and Stanford Continuing Studies. I also teach and coach one-on-one, and offer intensive editorial consultation.

I am thrilled to have found an ideal space for teaching small, high-quality writing classes in downtown Grass Valley! Here’s a photo of our fall pilot class in the space:

Beginning January 2018 I will be launching Yuba Writers’ Workshops and Editorial Services, teaching regular classes for writers of all levels at the Alpha Building, 204 W. Main St., Grass Valley.

These classes are for people who want to:

–Get started writing

–Or get serious about it.

In the “get started” category, for January, I’ll be teaching “Life Into Literature,” an introductory memoir class. In the “get serious” category, I’m offering “Take Your Writing to the Next Level,” a combination craft seminar/workshop for writers of both nonfiction and fiction.

Full information on each class is below. Each is strictly limited to six participants, so do write me soon if you’re interested! You can reach me at rachel.howard@gmail.com.

For Those Who Want to GET STARTED:

Life Into Literature: Explorations in Memoir Writing

Five Thursdays, 6:30-9 p.m.: January 11th, 18th, 25th and February 1st and 8th

The Alpha Building, 204 Main St. (at Mill) Grass Valley


You’ve lived a rich life. You want to share it in writing. Where does the story begin? Where does it end? And how do you make your life a page-turner?

In these classes with New York Times acclaimed memoirist Rachel Howard, you’ll learn how to shape compelling, meaningful stories out of the mass of experience. Discussing carefully chosen memoir readings by Jo Ann Beard, Alexandra Fuller, and others, and completing a series of guided exercises, you’ll learn to write cinematic scenes, craft powerful passages of reflection, identify your richest material, and shape an engaging narrative. Our class series includes weekly “homework” to start you off and keep you rolling, and ends with an in-depth workshop of one longer submission (up to 15 pages). No writing experience necessary, though experienced writers will also benefit. Class limited to six participants.

For Those Who Want to GET SERIOUS:

Take Your Writing to the Next Level: A Fiction and Memoir Workshop

Seven Mondays, 6:30-9 p.m.: Jan. 8th-Feb. 26th

The Alpha Building, 204 Main St. (at Mill) Grass Valley


I have an image in my mind of myself as a writer, bushwhacking for many many years through a thick forest, suddenly having stumbled upon a beautiful clearing where there are friendly, open-hearted companions, as well as a fearless leader with a variety of roadmaps.

–Unsolicited student feedback

This workshop is for writers of all levels who want to gain deeply engaged feedback from a knowledgeable, well-published instructor while learning new techniques for their personal writing toolbox. Each session will begin with a lecture-discussion on one of the seven essential fields of exploration for a writer: Language, “Aboutness” (or Theme), Image, Three-Dimensionality, Point of View, Form, and finally, Imitation and Apprenticeship. After craft discussion, we’ll turn to your work, be it a memoir or novel chapter, short story, or personal essay, in a guided conversation. Each workshop member will have a chance to be workshopped twice over our seven weeks together (20 pages per submission), and each submission will receive a detailed feedback letter and margin notes. You’ll learn as much from critiquing your fellow writers’ work as you will from hearing your own work discussed, and you’ll finish the course with new ideas to make your writing more vivid and moving. Workshop strictly limited to six members.

About the Instructor: Rachel Howard teaches creative writing primarily at Stanford Continuing Studies and the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. She is the author of a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder, The Lost Night, which the New York Times praised as “enthralling.” Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Gulf Coast, Waxwing (nominated for a Puschcart Prize), O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times “Draft” series, and many other venues. She received an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College, and later served there as interim director of undergraduate creative writing. She has also taught in the MFA program of Saint Mary’s College. She moved to Nevada City in 2014 and is founder and producer of the Yuba Lit reading series. www.rachelhoward.com

More About My Teaching

On this site, you can find information on my teaching philosophy and current classes.  And–since I think the most revealing thing about a writing teacher is the books she loves–a list of my favorite books. I hope you’ll explore those links to learn more about me as a teacher.

Student Response

I was beyond fortunate to gather a group of thoughtful, incisive, dauntless students in my Summer 2017 Writing About Spirituality course for Stanford Continuing Studies. Below are their anonymous, unedited, unexpurgated comments on the teaching evaluations, in which the course earned a “5” out of 5:

Rachel Howard went above and beyond my expectations for a professor. She offered her valuable time and insight to every students’ writing submissions. Her feedback was practical and balanced giving both encouragement and constructive input to sharpen our writing skills. Each week’s assignments built upon the previous reading and writing assignments cohesively, taking the student deeper into the subject matter.

Her manner is gracious to the various beliefs of students, creating a safe environment to hone our individual goals. These ten weeks have been worth every moment and dollar invested. I highly recommend this class and this professor.

Rachel was amazing. Thoughtful, articulate and sensitive, she guided all of the participants through their strengths and gave phenomenal feedback on improving. She was always encouraging and was very effective in bringing the class together in a community. She navigated through multiple spiritual traditions deftly and encouraged cross cultural learnings as well. I.will miss Rachel and this class. Its helped me re start my desire to write.

I really enjoyed this course. It allowed me to explore my writing voice and my own spirituality in a safe and tolerant environment. All of the classmates and the instructor were respectful of all the different religious traditions and beliefs, and that was very refreshing in today’s political climate!

Rachel was a very knowledgeable and thoughtful instructor throughout the course. Always well prepared yet open to suggestions for discussion with a keen understanding for what makes writing work and how to improve our in-class pieces. I learned a lot from her comments and suggestions on my work.

Rachel is compassionate and encouraging. Her comments were timely, thorough, and astute. She has great editing skills and a sharp eye. She guides the course with openness and clarity. Her presence on the boards is very human and she shares vulnerabilities while at the same time. It’s poised and curious. I thought she did an excellent job and would be happy to take another course with her and would recommend her highly to others.

Rachel is an incredible instructor. She is kind, knowledgeable, and always willing to go the extra mile to help the students. She is always commenting and giving solid advice to us all. She is amazing is every way and compassionate and insightful. I really enjoyed our interactions and Zoom calls.

This course was fascinating and Rachel was engaging, informative, inclusive and encouraging. I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in deepening their understand of spirituality. It had a profound impact on me.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *