The Writer's Journey: Weekly & 1-Day Workshops for New and Established Writers
I have met many [people] who think they can’t be writers because their lives aren’t interesting enough to write about. This is simply untrue. Everyone’s life is mysterious, beautiful, stunning magic. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived in the same town your whole life or traveled around the world seven times. What matters is your ability to open up to the breathtaking and spectacular adventure that happens to be your life. Your job is to experience it, see it, feel it, live it, and write it down.
New Student Special for Santa Cruz Life Readers
WRITING PRACTICE, WEDNESDAYS, 9:30-12:30
NEW SESSION STARTS SEPTEMBER 7th
Readers of Santa Cruz Life and first-time students can join the Wednesday morning writing practice class at a special rate: $125 for four consecutive classes
Classes are held at the Garden, off Soquel Drive, in Santa Cruz.
In-depth description of this class below. You can download a registration form further down this page.
NOTE: Although I prefer people to start on the first day of the fall session; rolling admissions are possible, depending on space.
If you're already engrossed in a memoir, novel or other project and are looking for a feedback/critique group, read the description below and email Laura.
Many of us hold a deep dream of wanting to write. We want to write so we can understand ourselves more deeply and so that we can be seen. We sense that there are stories living inside of us that need to be told, but in our busy lives, we have not been able to create the time, space or circumstances in which to do so.
The Writer’s Journey will give you that time. In our safe, supportive circle, you will find the permission, encouragement, and skills you need to explore the voices in your heart and tell the truth about your life.
The Writer’s Journey is not a critique group in which we polish finished pieces. Rather, it is a workshop in which we use class time to create new material. We alternate periods of writing with learning to listen to each other—not from a place of judgment or analysis—but from a place of focused attention and deep acceptance.
The Writer’s Journey is rooted in writing practice, as developed by Natalie Goldberg in her classic books, Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, and is enhanced by my sixteen years as a successful author, book doctor, group facilitator, and writing coach.
When I first met Laura Davis, I was still a fledgling writer. I knew how to tell a story, but I had a difficult time connecting with my work emotionally. After a week of writing practice with Laura and Natalie Goldberg, my work deepened far beyond anything I ever expected. Since that time, I’ve continued to work with Laura. Her teaching style is open and inspirational. She’s been instrumental in helping me bring my characters to life. I highly recommend her to anyone looking to improve their writing and deepen their emotional connection with their work.
--Larry Snow, currently completing a novel, A Nearling’s Story
The Writer’s Journey can help you:
- Discover the deep essence of writing
- Explore the unique nature of your own voice
- Develop a writing practice that frees your creativity and connects you to your wild mind
- Use original detail and first thoughts to make your writing come alive
- Take greater risks in your writing
- Overcome writer’s block and the fear that you don’t have what it takes to write
- Use the transformative power of writing to move through life’s challenges
- Become part of a supportive community of peers that is committed to writing and listening together
During our weekly sessions, we'll write together and share our writing. I bring writing suggestions, prompts, excerpts from great literature, guided meditations and other exercises designed to keep the channel from your heart to your head to your pen open. If I give a suggestion and it doesn’t resonate with you, you are free to ignore it and write about whatever you choose. And it’s also fine to attend if you have subject matter you’re already exploring.
The Writer’s Journey is appropriate for people who write to know themselves better, who have stories they want to tell, or who want to use writing as a daily discipline or practice. Both aspiring and published writers benefit from the honesty and intimacy of our meetings. Many choose to continue well beyond their first session.
What is most compelling to me about Laura’s work is the wonderful balance she conveys, both in person and in her writing, between being both a teacher and an active, ongoing learner. She is completely credible as she shares both her own and others’ stories for the benefit of mutual learning. This is a relief from the more ‘expert’ point of view, which has a way of making me feel small and disengaged.
--Kerry Messer, workshop participant, Oakland, California
The Writer’s Journey is facilitated by Laura Davis. The author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. Laura's groundbreaking books have sold more than 1.8 million copies around the world. Laura writes an ongoing column in Growing Up In Santa Cruz, edits books, and has been mentoring and supporting writers for the past sixteen years. She began studying with Natalie Goldberg in 1990 and she and Natalie have co-taught Making Peace workshops on the topic of writing and reconciliation.
Writing with Laura is a dream come true...she's funny, smart, insightful, and willing to risk putting her own life experience down on the page. Writing practice has proven to be a form of meditation in action for me: it has revealed dark corners of my mind that were begging for illumination, and healed broken pieces of my heart. I have cried, laughed, marveled at the insights a simple thing like writing practice has given me. I have used it in the groups I run with first-time older mothers, and even the women who say they have no skill writing are led into deep and wonderful places inside themselves. This is an experience not to be missed.
--Nancy London MSW, author of "Hot Flashes, Warm Bottles: First-Time Mothers Over Forty"
Being with you: hearing your stories, experiencing your sweet humor, your laughter and your compassion allowed me to open to the changes I was going through. You were instrumental in making the workshop, and its aftermath, a profound life-changing event for me. Bless you.
--Estelle Kattelson, workshop participant
Ongoing Writing Practice Class:
Wednesdays, 9:30 AM-12:30, Santa Cruz location
These ongoing classes are for students who want to use writing as a way to express themselves, explore their deepening creativity, grow as human beings and as writers, and strengthen their relationship with their own unique writing voice. Drop-ins are not allowed because they interfere with the intimacy and trust essential to a successful writing group.
Students make an ongoing commitment to these classes, paying $500.00 for eight weeks of classes. Ongoing writing practice classes meet for three hours per week, with an optional summer session. Students are expected to give a month's notice before leaving the group.
There is a special introductory fee for new students and readers of Santa Cruz Life: $125 for four weeks of class. After your first month, you can decide whether you want to continue the class on an ongoing basis.
Admission to this class occurs whenever there is an opening; admissions are on a rolling basis. Contact Laura to ask about openings and to agree on a start date.
To register for one of the ongoing writing practice classes, download the form, print it out, and mail it to address on the form.
To register, click the button below, print out the form and mail in to Laura:
Feedback on Writing Projects of Your Choice
These ongoing classes, designed for students who are already deeply grounded in writing practice, gives writers a chance to make progress on a focused project of their choice. Each week, the writers in Laura's feedback classes sign up to get the suggestions and support from the group, whose role is to respond to the writing with editing and encouragement, to hold "each other's feet to the fire," and to help everyone in the group reach their personal writing goals. Some group members are working on articles, others on memoirs, novels, short stories, or non-fiction books.
Ira Progroff calls writing, "this solitary work we cannot do alone." These classes provide the support necessary to persevere in creative work.
Students wanting to move into one of these classes must have a personal consultation with Laura to discuss their writing goals. Prior writing practice experience required. Students pay $500.00 for eight weeks of classes at a time.
Admission to these classes occurs whenever there is an opening; admissions are on a rolling basis. Contact Laura to ask about openings and to agree on a start date.
Thursdays, 9:00 AM-noon or 12:30 (weekly)
Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 PM (weekly)
These are two separate classes.
Credit cards are accepted and payment plans are possible under special circumstances. Laura occasionally does trades if you have a skill that would be useful to her. To discuss these options, contact Laura.
To register, click the button below, print out the form and mail in to Laura:
You can also contact Laura directly and she will register you directly over the phone.
Please contact Laura with any questions or concerns.
This is the moment. Write. No matter what. Write. Don’t try to name it in advance, don’t call it play, or journal writing, or poem. Don’t ask it to have a form, or to be spelled correctly, or to appear in sentences. But write in pen so that you can’t erase it, and promise, as a way of showing respect, that it will not be thrown away.
For information on Laura's writing retreats click here.