Ready, Set, Write! Writing Workshop

Announcing New Writing Workshop!

Hosted in Partnership with The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International

Six-week online course
January 8 – February 12, 2018

Cost: $99.00 for CGSI members (use code write18)

$129.00 for non-members

Limit: 35 participants

Collaborative learning environment hosted in Private Facebook group

Curriculum includes: Five assignments, instructional videos, and feedback from writing coach, Lisa Alzo.

Registration: Special Discount Extended Coupon expires Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time

Upon registering, participants will receive a “welcome” email with further instructions and a PDF handout, “Ten Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Narrative.”


Is writing a family history based on many years of your genealogy research one of your “I’ll get to it someday” goals? Are you looking for more than just the standard genealogy report . . . do you want something that you can publish and share with family? Are you interested in crafting ancestor profiles and allowing their stories to “pop” off the page? Maybe you have doubts and fears about how to get started, what to write, and how to put it all together in a compelling way. If so, then the Ready, Set, Write! Workshop is just what you need to attend.

You will be part of a group of similarly-minded genealogists with the same project goal in mind—to write and share family stories. As a continuation of CGSI’s Fall 2016 Symposium “Beyond Names, Dates & Photos: Inspirations to Create a Family Legacy ,” this workshop is specifically tailored for those with a focused interest on Czech and Slovak experiences.


The Ready, Set, Write! Workshop is a focused six-week online learning experience with instructional videos and five writing assignments that are interesting, engaging, and collaborative without being burdensome. Participants are coached by nonfiction author and genealogy educator Lisa Alzo who will be on hand to offer encouragement and facilitate online discussions to lend inspiration, solve problems and help you to make that ever-elusive project a reality. A private Facebook group serves as your “online classroom” where you can interact with your coach and fellow family history writers to share ideas and seek encouragement. The online platform will also serve as the “workshop” space—an intimidation-free environment where you can post your writing for feedback as well as read and comment on the projects of your fellow writers.

During this six-week intensive, you will learn the key steps for producing a quality family history narrative from outline to finished product, ways to use “storyboarding” to plot your project, and how to build your writing skills, as well as your confidence as a writer. You will also receive pre-recorded videos, weekly assignments, tips, discussion prompts, and resources to help keep you on track.

In addition, you will also have access to an instructor with more than 27 years’ experience. Lisa will teach you about key nonfiction writing techniques you can use to produce a “can’t put down” family history that will keep the pages turning for future generations. NOTE: While you will need to join the Ready, Set, Write! Workshop Facebook group to receive the course materials, your participation in the group discussions and workshopping is voluntary. However, participants will reap the most benefits from the collaborative environment by accessing the Facebook Group for the six-week period.

The cost to participate in the Ready, Set, Write! Workshop is $99 per person for CGSI members; $129 for non-members. CGSI members who wish to take advantage of your CGSI membership discount, just enter the coupon code write18. Registration extended: Discount price expires Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time!

If you’re ready to be a part of Ready, Set, Write! Workshop, then click the button below to register and pay via PayPal*

CGSI Member discount will be taken once the coupon code is entered.


* You do not need a PayPal account to make payment; you can use a credit card via PayPal.

Course Details

Key Goals of the Course

  • Learn writing skills and techniques to produce a quality family history.
  • Build on the skills each week.
  • Focus on getting a working draft.
  • Work with manageable weekly writing goals.
  • Receive constructive and helpful feedback.
  • Overcome fears and anxiety about writing.
  • Share Czech, Slovak, or Rusyn Heritage
  • Have fun!

Coach Bio – Lisa Alzo

Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer and has been a genealogist for more than 27 years. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, and is the author of eleven books, including Finding Your Slovak Ancestors, Writing Your Family History Book, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women. Lisa has written hundreds of magazine articles and her work has appeared in Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, APG Quarterly, and CGSI’s Nase Rodina, among many others. An internationally recognized speaker, Lisa blogs as “The Accidental Genealogist” blog For more information see

Course Schedule
January 8 – February 12, 2018

January 8, 2018 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time
9:00 p.m. Eastern Time – Jumpstart Your Family History Writing (Welcome Webinar) –
Online via GoToWebinar (link will be provided to participants before the course begins)
Session will be recorded and made available to those unable to attend live.

Course Objective
Complete one assignment per week (a total of 5 assignments). The last week is used for wrap-up and final questions.

Topic 1
• Video: Setting Writing Goals
• Assignment #1
1) Outline your family history writing goal. Various tools will be provided to explore different ways to create an outline.
2) Compose a short elevator pitch (no more than 2-3 sentences) that succinctly summarizes your project. A sample will be provided.
• Facebook Group
Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 2
• Video 2: Plot, Plan, and Scheme: Storyboard Your Family History Project
• Assignment #2
Storyboard your project idea. Write by hand on index cards and then scan them or photograph them to share; or use a program such as PowerPoint, or Scrivener or whatever program you are comfortable using..
• Facebook Group
Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 3
• Video 3: Tap into Family Treasures
• Assignment #3
Tap into Family Treasures: write 500 words using a photo or document or heirloom or keepsake as your prompt. Participants are encouraged to choose something representative of their Czech or Slovak heritage (if available). This can be a photograph, a recipe, ethnic costume, or other heirloom. Instructor will provide a sample.
• Bonus Video: Food, Fabric, and Folklore: Incorporating Czech and Slovak Customs and Traditions into a Family History Writing Project
• Facebook Group
Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 4
• Video 4: Character Development through Oral History and Profile
• Assignment #4 Choose one of the following assignments:
1) Write from a memory or an oral history interview (500 words). Instructor will provide a sample.
2) Write a profile or character sketch of an ancestor of your choice (500 words). Instructor will provide a sample.
Participants are encouraged (but not required) to include references to their Czech or Slovak heritage, ancestral villages, or other ethnic-themed experiences. (Examples will be provided).
• Facebook Group
Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Topic 5
• Video 5: Shaping Your Story Using Plot and Structure
• Assignment #5
Putting it all together. Building on the skills you learned in the previous weeks, and using your outline, write a 1200 word narrative (approximately 2 pages) about your ancestor or family. Instructor will provide an example.
• Facebook Group
Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.
• Bonus Video: Top Ten Tips for Family History Writing
• Option to continue on to the next course: Ready, Set, Write Workshop II: Expand Your Family History Writing Skills
• No Assignment.
• Facebook Group
Participants ask questions on assignment; share resources; respond to prompts from instructor.

Secure Your Spot
Space is limited so click below to register and pay via PayPal. Enter coupon code write18 for the CGSI discount.


30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you are willing to do the work and commit to the format of a Ready, Set, Write! Workshop, we’re certain you’ll be happy. More importantly, you’ll finally get that project done!

If you are not satisfied with the content or format of the Ready, Set, Write! Workshop, we’ll gladly refund your money within 30 calendar days from date of purchase.