I have a number of small workshops I can teach at your church or university. I can also teach the longer 13 week version that includes a lot of the smaller workshops combined. The benefit of the longer 13 week version is that you build a core group of writers in your church and they trust each other. They often continue together after the formal workshop is finished. The smaller workshops pack the same information and fun, but the longer workshop builds lasting relationships.
Writing the Spiritual Memoir
Time: Times and number of sessions are flexible for your church. (12 2 hr. sessions)
Come join a group of people interested in exploring the spiritual journey of their lives. Maybe you want to chart the course that the spirit has taken in your life, or maybe you want to explore a time in your life when the journey was rough, or unexpected, or surprising. Be part of a committed group of writers looking at the presence of the divine both in our everyday lives, and, maybe, that presence in tumultuous times, too. In the course, we look at other writers who have written spiritual memoirs, and we play games to unlock your creativity. We learn about approaches to writing memoir, how to craft scenes from your life, and ways of presenting our memoirs to readers—either a wide audience, or just our families. We will workshop your writings in a thoughtful and understanding atmosphere, giving you feedback where you need it most. If you are planning on going to the Festival of Faith and Writing, this is an excellent pre-conference workshop to take. We read some of the writers you’ll be hearing speak, pick up their techniques, and address some of the writing problems and solutions further studied at the conference. However, we will also be exploring writers of other faiths to see the commonalities in our spiritual journeys and the comparable ways we speak of the divine. (class size cap 16-20, minimum 10)
Costs can vary depending on number of sessions.
Writing the LGBT Spiritual Journey:
Come join us to explore your spiritual journey. For the LGBT person of faith, the journey has not been easy. Charting our spiritual journey, though, can help bring focus and fulfillment to our lives. Writing our LGBT spiritual journeys also completes the missing parts of society’s spiritual journey. In this Workshop we will read LGBT writers of faith, as well as writers of faith in general, to pick up tips and techniques that will help you write about your journey. If you like discussing spirituality in the context of the LGBT community, with others like yourself, and exploring through writing what your journey has discovered, come join us. Using writing exercises, games, techniques of professional writers, and your own lives, you will create writing that struggles, overcomes, even heals, as it maps the spiritual journey of your life.
This class needs a minimum of five people to run. Some reading will be sent to you via email before the workshop begins.
Writing For Social Change
Can a piece of writing change the world? It has before. Fiction and nonfiction from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Ralph Ellison to Rachel Carson; from the Bible to Mein Kampf to Letter from Birmingham Jail to Middlesex—each of these have had a profound effect on modern society. Each of these has been used to influence social change. In this course, we will look at our own writing in context of trying to influence an audience to change. We will look at the merits of fiction and nonfiction and memoir in causing change—your fiction, nonfiction and memoir too. Some reading before the course begins is suggested, and PDFs will be sent to students in advance. We will also ask students to choose a piece of writing/book from another author and come ready to discuss that writing in regards to social change. You will also be learning how your writing can change others through our workshop process. This is an exciting time for the influence of writing; ideas and stories in writing still matter.
Come with your idealism still intact, or at least make a nice frame to put it in after the course is done. (class cap at 16-20; minimum 8)
Writing the Spiritual Biography
There are giants in our lives. They are the people in our churches; they are people in our families. We are certain that their lives deserve to be told to others for the courage they’ve shown, the troubles they’ve seen, the perseverance they’ve had—but no one has written about them yet. The best person to write about them may be you. How do you go about writing a spiritual biography of someone? How do you conduct interviews? How do you get to understand the way to put a life together to show it best? This course will give you some techniques in gathering information, organizing it, structuring a narrative, and writing their story. We won’t get finished with a complete biography in 12 sessions, but we will have created a method to get it finished and workshopped parts of that biography. Students will need to have read some excerpts before class begins (via PDFs through email) and there will be some reading to do during this month long course. (Class cap at 16-20; minimum 8)
Saturday Day Courses:
Sacred Objects Writing Workshop:
Often on a Saturday (one 3 hour session)
As humans, we can’t help but collect objects as we go through life. The significance and power of an object grows over time, and can say a lot about our spiritual lives, our relationships, and our life turning points. The sacredness that we impart to objects in our lives is part of the map of our spiritual journey. This workshop will explore your spiritual journey through objects. Participants will bring seven-10 objects that have spiritual significance for them and will use them to write about their lives. This is a deeply satisfying workshop for those who want to explore themselves, and others, through sacred objects and through writing. You will learn not only your spiritual journey through sacred objects, but the journeys of others. (Class size cap 25; minimum 8)
Sacred Places Writing Workshop
Often on a Saturday (one 3 hour session)
Some places offer more to enrich our hearts and souls than others do—and when they do, they become a sacred place to us. Not all places, though, become sacred to all people. We will explore your spiritual journey through your sacred places, both talking about what makes a sacred place, reading from authors who talk about their sacred places, and talking about how landscapes and architecture become imbued with spirituality. This course asks students to do a bit of advanced reading (three or four writings on PDFs sent to your email in advance) and some pre-writing (brainstorming about your sacred places). You will learn the connection that your spirit has with place, and how to write about places that stir your soul. You will also learn about how others map their soul’s places. (Class size cap 25; minimum 8)
The whole kit and kaboodle: Writing Faith Workshop (or Writing About Your Faith Workshop). It’s designed to teach people more about writing about faith topics, which are often hard to write about because they either involve indescribable feelings, concepts, theories, hard-to-believe events, beliefs (things we take “on faith”). We explore memoir, fiction, and nonfiction through the use of games, exercises, fun projects, and, of course, the modern writing workshop model to help newer writers gain more confidence and skill in their writing.
- 13-16 week course, once a week (don’t worry, you won’t be lost if you miss a few. They’re module based.)
- 3 hours each night
- a potluck meal to create communion
- 16-20 participants
- games, exercises, selected readings from the best in faith writing
- second half of workshop is critique based on your own work
- workshops take place early in the evening so you can still attend other later events
- two types of workshops: Christian-based, Multi-Faith based*
- lasting effect: a bonded, trusting group of writers and emerging voices for your church
The first seven workshops are based more on reading selections, games and exercises to create written work, and the last six are based more on reading the longer works of writers in the course so they can advance either longer works, or longer projects.
All the workshops have games and writing exercises designed for adults, tested with churches and with those who are writing about their faith. Students write in class and share with each other. Later, when students are ready to put their longer work up for workshopping, they have already shared their short exercises, feel comfortable sharing their longer works, and are ready for critiques.
The workshop is designed for writers at any level of writing. If you’ve never been to a writing workshop, this course also serves as an introduction to the Writing Workshop–so you will come out of this course with training on how to effectively critique your own and others’ work. Participants are people who want to write about their faith for their family, for their church, or for a wider audience.
Typically, workshops happen once a week, with about 16 participants. I have often offered this course from 5-8pm to incorporate a potluck meal every week. I find the meal aspect of the workshop actually bonds us as a group, and I suggest it to every church I work with.
Besides, it’s an incredible way to work together–with great food! (We get hooked on the food as much as the writing!)
(cost sometimes varies depending on number of sessions, etc.)