“Creative, effective writing strategies for people who think they can’t be creative at work.” • Adult • 45-minute lunch session • 2-hour afternoon workshop

You will never write a boring memo or an unclear email again. I promise. Stroll through CalgaryBusinessWriter.com for a taste of what’s possible…


“I have a story I want to tell.” • K-3 (ages 5 to 8) • 45-minute workshop with a lot of student participation

How do you tell a story? Let’s count the ways. Writing it down is one way. But there are so many others. This workshop for young storytellers and creators encourages children to value telling their stories in their way: through talking, drawing, writing, dancing, making…

Note: This is also a stellar reminder to teachers and parents that writing is only one way, and for many children, not the preferred way of telling a story

Writing about others: an introduction to interviewing • Gr 4-6 (ages 9-12) • Gr  7-8 (ages 12-14) • 45-minute presentation or 90-minute workshop

Why would you ever want to interview someone? To get their story, of course. But why? How? And what do you do with that information? We explore crafting questions, listening (really listening) to answers, and working with gathered material.

This workshop is inspired by my experience with the Sunnyside School “Rising Above” Flood Scrapbook Project and Play, facilitated for Sunnyside students by Trickster Theatre. As part of this beautiful project, which started with students collecting the flood stories of Sunnyside residents, I gave Flora a crash course in interviewing:

Link to FP video on Youtube: Tell Me Your Story: Interview Tips for Kids

The Fine Art of Parsing Lies: how the great interviewers do it • Gr 9-12 (ages 14+)•  45-minute presentation or 2-hour workshop

Ever wonder how the great interviewers get their subjects—rock stars, politicians, saints-and-scoundrels—to tell them the truth? Find out how they do it—and learn how to do it yourself. A high-level interviewing course for students who are interested in journalism, research, memoir—or getting at the real “truth” of every conversation.

Everything I can tell you about building a writing career is wrong. Here’s what you should do instead. • Gr 9-12 (ages 14+) • 45-minute presentation

Thinking about becoming a professional writer? Awesome. Here’s all the bad advice you’ll get—and a primer on how to find the advice and tools you really need. Developed for high school students exploring creative careers.

You: “Seriously? All the bad advice I’ll ever get? This is what you’re selling?”

Me: “Yup. This is the one class I wish I had been given before I sold my first story. It would have sped up my career by a decade.”

All you need to know about English grammar—but won’t learn until you get a cruel, evil, ruthless editor (or become one) • Gr 9-12 (ages 14+) • 45-minute presentation or 90-minute workshop

Adverbs, past participles, subordinate clauses? None of that matters. Here’s the ultimate cheat sheet to all the English grammar your future editors wish you’d know—but which for some reason, no one ever teaches you. Until now. For confident writers who want to get better.

You: “Ooh! I love this one! Can you do it for my grade four students?”

Me: “No. Grade four students don’t need a cruel, evil, ruthless editor. Let them play, create and find their own voice, and make all the mistakes they like. Except—teach them about apostrophes. Please. Teach them about apostrophes.”


“I want to teach my child to be a good writer, but I haven’t a clue where to start.” • Adults • 120-minute workshop

How about here: an introduction to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for Parents, and an overview of popular homeschool language arts/creative writing curricula, including Five-in-a-Row, All About Spelling, Bravewriter, First Language Lessons and The Complete Writer.

(non-homeschooling parents welcome as well, of course, but you may be more interested int he “I want to raise creative kids” workshop below)

(a parent-and-child version, for parents of very young children without babysitters, is offered outdoors when the weather’s fine)


“I want to raise creative kids. Um. Yeah. Am I doing it? Is there a right way to do it?” • Adults • 60-minute presentation

An introduction to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for Parents. Full disclosure: this workshop is a thinly disguised exploration of the need to feed your creative appetite as a first step in raising creative kids. Fill the well before you take from it, you know?


The Artist’s Way for Mothers and Daughters•  12-week, facilitated course • or, a 120-minute workshop on how to do the work on your own

You are here: NothingByTheBook.com/write-talk-learn


Experienced: I’ve been writing professionally, and earning a stellar living at it, since I’ve been 18. I was considered one of Canada’s leading legal affairs writers before I was 30, and I continue to be recognized as one of the most readable, persuadable, professional-but-with-so-much-edge and thus stylistically unique business writers in the profession.  Nominated and short-listed for every business writing award of note in Canada, I’ve written  for Canadian Business, The Globe and Mail’s Law Page and Report on Business, The National Post’s The Financial Post and The Legal Post, Enterprise, Avenue, Alberta Venture, Alberta Oil, ProfitWestWorld, Lexpert and other Thomson Reuters’ publications, as well as select corporate clients. My flagship op/ed pieces include the monthly columns Strategy Session (Alberta Venture),  Last Word (Lexpert) and Legal Eagles (Alberta Venture).

Creative: I’ve had an assortment of fiction and creative non-fiction published, under my own name as well as pseudonyms. In the last three years, I’ve written and placed two novels with a major international publisher, and am currently developing my third one. Late at night, when no one is looking, I write poetry.

Practical: For the past 12 years, I’ve also been a working-writing-and-homeschooling mother of three young children—now aged 12, 10 and 5. I’m raising three artists: one who tells stories with words on paper and images on canvas, one who tells stories with video, Lego, and his body, and one who tells stories at-the-top-of-his-lungs with his whole-entire-self.

I want to help you help your children—and your students—tell their stories.

My professional portfolio: CalgaryBusinessWriter.com

My profile and recommendations on LinkedIn: Marzena Czarnecka
View Marzena Czarnecka's profile on LinkedIn



Talk to “Jane”: nothingbythebook@gmail.com



Pick up a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, start writing Morning Pages… and check in with me in a few weeks.


Spend a weekend with Stephen King’s On Writing.


If you’re the parent of very young children and only reading parenting books right now—pick up a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for Parents… and check in with me in a few weeks.