This is mostly to those of you with blogs of your own. But of course, open to all.

I know that some of you are writers, some of you are serious about being writers, and some of you would be serious about being writers if you weren’t afraid that admitting it would sound arrogant, or maybe that people would laugh.

Thursday’s New York Times (registration required) had the most amazing article in it about an effort to teach women to write newspaper op-ed pieces.

Apparently, 65-75% of the unsolicited essays that come to newspaper editors are from men. You also may recall a couple of years ago, when Susan Estrich got into it with the Los Angeles Times’s opinion page editor, over their lack of female editorial columnists.

Well, Catherine Orenstein, with support from the amazing Woodhull Institute (whom I had not previously heard of), is doing something about it. They are teaching women to rethink their areas of expertise into big picture terms, and exactly how to structure an op-ed and submit it to newspapers and other venues.

I can’t tell you how much I wish I could take that course!!!

Unfortunately, their upcoming intensive non-fiction retreat is on the same weekend as my sister’s baby shower. But I will not be thwarted in the long-run. I’m watching that web site for future offerings, and I submitted a variation on the idea to BlogHer 07.

But I don’t think I should sit around and wait, acting like I can’t figure out how to do this on my own. How many of those 65-75% of op-ed submissions from men were from men who thought they needed a class before they were qualified to write an op-ed? Yeah, I’m thinking zero, too.
And of course, our friend the Internet can help too:

I have a challenge for you, my writer friends.

April 26th is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day this year. Let’s celebrate our writing dreams by writing and submitting an op-ed between now and then.

If you leave a comment or link, or drop me an email, I will do a celebratory “look what we did!” list of the op-eds post on April 27th.

And then we can learn how to do them better at BlogHer.

(Cross posted at LizaWasHere.)

No Comments

  1. katie orenstein says:

    “I can’t tell you how much I wish I could take that course!!!”

    Liza – you can talk my course. We WANT you to take the course. Contact me at to arrange a training for you and your colleagues. Or, as an individual, you can sign up for one of the periodic courses I offer with Woodhull’s support – there is once coming up.

  2. A fantastic idea, of course, and I’m sure many will be delighted at the opportunity, but I can’t help but wonder how people will interpret it. Blame obviously lies with no individual party re: lack of female writers/editors, yet how many *solicited* articles come from men and from women? Those are the ones more likely used, and linking this course to the problems of women’s visibility (or lack thereof) in newspapers suggests that it is women’s inability to write, rather than ongoing inequality, that is to blame for that.

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