About Laura Davis

Welcome and thanks for visiting my site and The Writer’s Journey. I’d like to use this page to introduce myself.

I am the author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, The Courage to Heal Workbook, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We‘d Never Speak Again. My groundbreaking books have been translated into 11 languages and sold more than 1.8 million copies. In the course of my career as a communicator, I have also worked as a columnist, talk show host, radio reporter, radio producer, blogger, editor, and speaker. Words have always been at the core of my work and my self-expression.

15 Things That Shaped Me Into the Person I Am Today:

  • I was born premature, 2 pounds, 12 ounces. My identical twin sister died when I was one day old and I spent the first six weeks of my life in a glass isolette, never touched by human hands.
  • I grew up in a home with mother who was an actress and a father who was a music teacher. In the corner of my living room, there was a baby grand piano with dozens of instruments underneath: trumpets, saxophones, flutes, accordions and clarinets. I never learned to play any of them, but I do love to sing.
  • When I was three years old, my grandfather reached under my pajamas when he tucked me in and changed my life forever.
  • The sixties roared through my New Jersey suburban household and changed all of us forever. My father dropped out and moved to San Francisco to take acid and start an urban commune and my brother quit college and flew off to India, following his 14-year-old guru.
  • When I was 15, I skipped 10th grade and snuck out to receive the divine Knowledge of my brother’s guru. Three years later, I moved into an ashram in downtown San Antonio called the City of Love and Light with a couple of hundred other lost, searching young people. I stayed in this safe container until I was 21 when I burst out to re-enter the “real world.”
  • After a few lost and lonely years, wandering from place to place, and never feeling at home, I moved to Santa Cruz and discovered a) that I loved communications and b) being on the radio, c) that I was a damn good writer, d) and that I had a rightful place in the world.
  • I moved to Alaska without knowing a soul and lived on an island where it rained 13 feet a year, all for a job as a news reporter and talk show host for Alaska Public Radio. I learned to troll for salmon and bottom fish for halibut and couldn’t wait to move back to California.
  • My life exploded at 27 when I remembered the incest with my grandfather. I did 5+ years of kick ass therapy and devoted myself to healing and reclaiming my life. During this time, I confronted my family and lost most of them. I felt truly and utterly alone.
  • When I was 31, Ellen Bass and I published The Courage to Heal: A Sourcebook for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and the book became a runaway bestseller, way beyond anything I ever could have imagined. I was catapulted into the public spotlight, and for several years, I became the public face of incest survivors, traveling around the country spreading hope and inspiration and being a voice for those who’d been silenced.
  • I quit being on the road as a “public survivor” so I could move on in own life. I met my life partner and gained an 11-year-old stepson.
  • I wrote six more books and fell in love with the power of words and the humbling responsibility of being an author who writes book that change people’s lives.
  • When I gave birth to my son Eli, I learned that my heart had far more capacity for love and connection than I ever thought possible. Three years later, his sister, Lizzy, cracked my heart open again. As a parent, I have been willing to challenge myself and grow and stretch beyond what I thought myself capable of for my children—in ways I never did for myself, my partner or anyone else.
  • I had breast cancer when my youngest was ten and it brought me to my knees, leaving me with a deep appreciation of what really matters. I am comfortable around birth and death and understand what it means to live in the underworld of illness. I am grateful everyday that I am alive.
  • My current life is full of family: At one end of the spectrum, my brand new granddaughter and at the other, my 86-year-old mother, in assisted living right down the road. After a lifetime of struggle, I am “her person,” deeply committed to her for the rest of her life. Being stretched to love at both ends of the life cycle  gives my life breadth and meaning.
  • My youngest daughter will be heading off to college soon and I am entering (yet another) cycle of change, discomfort, uncertainty and reinvention as I work to discover who I am after 24 years of nurturing children in my home.

What I Love to Do

Since The Courage to Heal was published 25 years ago, I have been mentoring and supporting other writers. It is truly the work of my heart: “I love teaching. I love watching my students find their natural voice and their rhythm. I love it when they find their true stories and discover the courage to put them on the page. I feel like a midwife as my students birth their stories, and I feel honored to witness their bursts of creativity and pure life energy pouring out on the page. Our writing circles are safe places where skills are honed, tears and laughter are welcome, and each writer is seen, heard and deeply known.”

When I began working with Laura Davis, I’d carried hundreds of stories around in my head for five and a half decades. Laura helped me breathe life into the words that had waited so long to hear their voices spoken aloud. Her steady guidance and open-hearted engagement with the writer in me was the form of nourishment I needed to begin my long journey as a writer.  I am so grateful to Laura for the gift she is.

–Paula Mahoney, Santa Cruz

Laura is a gifted writing teacher. Working with her has changed my relationship to writing, making my words more natural and spontaneous. I have begun to remember events from my past more completely and vividly than before. That has been a great gift for me.

–Linda Wright, Santa Cruz

Working with Laura Davis, I found the perfect combination of direction, inspiration, permission, and community. With Laura’s guidance, I was able to discover and develop the writer inside of me who had been waiting in darkness my whole life for the support and safety to emerge.

–Terresa Lauer, Portland

Writing without Laura is a long, lonely, bleak road; writing from her daily prompts is a joyous adventure. She takes me places I never knew I wanted to go.”

–Enid Brock, Santa Cruz

I facilitate weekly writing classes in Santa Cruz, California, teach every year at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in San Miguel Allende, and lead a rich variety of retreats in northern California, Bali, and other international locations. I love group dynamics and building community. My goal as a teacher is to create a safe place where people can have breakthroughs in their writing—and in their lives.

This was more than a retreat. It was a pivotal moment in my life.

–Julie Anderson, San Francisco

It has been over a week since I have returned from your retreat, and I am still turning over memories in my mind, savoring them as I would a delectable meal.  The safety, sorority, serenity, growth…..and oh yes, the writing!!  Everything served as nourishment for both body and spirit.  I have never experienced anything like it. I cannot thank you enough for the profound experience that I just underwent under your gentle and wise ministration.  I have begun a transformative journey on so many levels, and will be forever grateful for your help in setting me on this path.

–Emily Bitton, West Orange, New Jersey

This is my third retreat with Laura. They get better and deeper and more adventurous each time, as I return to experience writing in another beautiful place with inspired people that become friends. Each return, I come not knowing what will happen, grateful that I did, and leave transformed.

–Marie Hansen, Reno, Nevada

And whenever I travel, I love sharing The Virtual Vacation: a vivid, entertaining travel blog for the armchair traveler:

Laura Davis is an amazing writer. Combining her storytelling with her travel adventures makes me feel like I am right there with her. She paints a complete story of the land, the people, the food, the history, and the culture. Then she adds some humor, adventure mishaps and person feelings that grabs the reader, and I can’t wait to read the next post.

–Nancy Moon, Santa Cruz, CA

I am also the founder and moderator of The Writer’s Journey Roadmap, a free online community where writers post writing in response to the evocative thought-provoking prompts I send out via email every Tuesday.

If you are looking for a wonderful, warm, affirming, positive, ACTIVE community of writers — from beginners to published — and weekly prompts that are fun, thought-provoking and manage to mine the goodies that are so often buried, then this is your place.

–Cathy Krizik , Santa Cruz, CA

Laura’s weekly prompts, The Writer’s Journey Roadmap, and her blog that have made my life as a writing coach and workshop leader more successful.  To explore raw material for their projects, I regularly direct my writing clients and students to the weekly prompts on the website; these are brilliantly conceived and presented and the harvest is always rich.  A great many of these responses are integrated into my students’ work that has gone on to be published.  For any writer today, Laura’s blog is also a must.  She is clear, innovative, and inspiring in her suggestions and insights.

–Susan S. Brown, PhD, writing coach, personal editor, and workshop leader

P.S. Let me share one last little secret about me. I love my students. I love watching them grow. And what I care about—my real work—is building communities of support and helping people transform. Being a catalyst for change and transformation is more important to me than words on the page. Though I love their power and beauty, too!

Things I’m The Most Proud Of

There are certain writing classes I teach again and again as a teacher. One of my favorites is helping people identify and name, in the most precise language possible, the five things in their lives they are most proud of.

Every year I rewrite my own list. Here’s my current version:

  • At 28, I faced the incest with my grandfather, stood up to my family, committed to the rigors of the healing process, and ultimately used my anguish, pain and courage to inspire others to heal.
  • After decades of war, mistrust and estrangement, I learned to accept, forgive and enjoy my mother for who she is, exactly who she is, so much so that I was able to sit across from her on the couch a dozen years ago and mean it when I said, “I want you to move to California so I can take care of you when you get old.”
  • I was able to move beyond my own pain and self-absorption to deeply love and commit myself to my children. I learned to nurture them without smothering or controlling them, and I am humbly proud of the profound role I played in creating two happy, capable young people whose core is intact, vital and strong.
  • All my life, I have been an agent of change, someone who inspires others to grow to their fullest potential. I love that I have been able to use my words and the ever-changing expressions of my creativity to inspire change, awaken potential, and build meaningful communities.
  • I am proud that last summer in Bali, I faced my fear of traveling alone and being alone, learned to reach out to strangers, making them friends, and in doing so, rediscovered my life-embracing, risk-taking, adventurous spirit.

P.P.S. Here I am reading my work at the Writer’s Journey Spring Salon:

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