Retired middle school teacher and administrator Diane had wanted to write and self-publish a book about her collection of antiques for years but every time she got started, the overwhelm set in! 

A retired teacher finally writes her own book

Diane would write another entry about a new antique… but get stuck on how much to write for each and how to tell their stories without each entry turning into a full research project.

But actually putting the book together was proving difficult.

She wanted a high-quality coffee table book combining beautiful images of her collection along with stories of where she found each item and any research into their past lives. She loves hosting, and imagined giving a guest a glass of wine and the book while she finishes cooking dinner. Her guests could wander around the house, wine and book in hand, learning about all the incredible artifacts surrounding them!

Her vision was clear

Diane was my own middle school teacher! She was one of the first teachers who really encouraged me to become a professional writer, and it was her encouragement and margin comments on my work that pushed me to where I am today. 

So when Diane reached out to me (after not being in touch for about 15 years!) and asked if the Longform Lab might be the right place for her to finally finish her book, Treasures, I was so thrilled. It honestly took a little adjusting for me to think about teaching her, but soon we got in a groove, more like colleagues working together than a teacher-student relationship, which is what I aim for with all the writers in the Longform Lab.

It’s time for an admission.

What attracted me to the course was its goal setting and accountability features while being flexible and providing ongoing feedback. Most importantly, the personalized feedback came from an accomplished, well-known journalist that I had known for decades.

I looked forward to Nora’s video lessons and workbook reflections throughout the six week course. She shared authentic writing tips, in a conversational tone, that had worked for her as well as secondary resources to support writers of any genre. 

Here’s what Diane has to say about finding the course and what happened next: 

Diane hit on exactly my goal with this course

"I smiled when you mentioned your rewards of stickers and coloring in circles. Your genuineness comes right through the screen, Nora. I am likely one of the only students who have known you from your K-8 school days and in many ways, it seems, your prestigious, accomplished resume has left you unchanged.

You still have the same sense of wonder, curiosity and pure joy about writing that I remember you had! Please do whatever you need to do to hang onto that!"

With her permission, I’d like to share an email that Diane sent me midway through the course. You’ll see why this email meant so much to me:

I want my students to love writing and feel genuinely encouraged to keep going. Diane did that for me as a kid, and it means so much that I was able to return the favor.

Over the weeks of the course, I eagerly watched as Diane started churning out story after story about her incredible antiques. I also learned a lot myself! The project is almost finished and I’m now advising Diane on self-publishing and printing options for her book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the final product… hopefully while dinner is cooking!

Beyond the lessons and worksheets...

"If you are at the beginning, middle or perhaps in need of wrapping up a writing project, trust the process to the Longform Lab course. It will give you a framework to clarify your “why” and provide the direction and support you need to develop the “how”."

Here’s Diane’s advice if you’re considering joining the Longform Lab:

Please consider joining the Longform Lab! Scholarships are available if you email me at and otherwise you can learn more at the link below. I would love to have you!

If you’d like to finish your own writing project and need a little help getting there...

sign up now