About

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Nancy Woods, Author & Writing Coach

Nancy Woods is a humor writer who gets a kick out of writing.  Her Kickstart Your Writing classes (offered in Portland, Oregon, and online) provide a relaxed, supportive and fun environment in which writers can hone their skills.

A trained journalist (M.A., Journalism, University of Oregon) and experienced creative writer, Woods’ work has appeared in Cirque, Northwest Palate, Oregon Quarterly, Oregon Humanities, Raven Chronicles and The Oregonian, among others. She is a recipient of the Andy Hope Literary Award.

A transplanted Alaskan, Woods lives in Portland, Oregon, where she edits a community newspaper. She is the author of two books: Under the Influence of Tall Trees: True Tales From a Pacific Northwest Writer and Hooked on Antifreeze: True Tales About Loving and Leaving Alaska.

Bitten by the Writing Bug

(An excerpt from Under the Influence of Tall Trees: Humorous Tales from a Pacific Northwest Writer)

The first creative-writing class I ever took was taught by a respected author and crusty curmudgeon who lived a few blocks from my house. The class was held in Ralph’s house where he lived with his wife, Phoebe, and their dog, Keya, who was part German shepherd, part wolf.

More than one student had been bitten by Keya. The joke (made by me) was she hated bad prose. One night Keya bit me. At the time I was reading a first draft of an essay I’d written about zoos, about how I didn’t believe in them. Oh, I knew zoos existed. I just thought that anyone who wanted to see a lion, tiger or bear should have to tromp through the wilds to see one.

Keya must have taken exception to my opinion piece. She bit me hard on a tender part of my anatomy, my Achilles heel. The pain of the dog bite was sharp but didn’t last long. I didn’t say anything, just sat there in Ralph’s living room, fighting back the tears as Ralph and the other students stared at me, as if to gauge my response. After that night’s class ended, I kept attending, because by then Ralph had given me some encouragement; and I’d been bitten by the writing bug. Like a bad cold, it was hard to shake.