Finding Your Tribe

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Find Your Tribe in Our Community this Fall

Not long ago, a friend lamented that she had not yet really found her tribe, and longed for one. I so wanted to “fix” her by suggesting she join Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville. However, I must remember to MYOB (as Ann Landers used to say), and that WWf(a)C might not be for everyone.

However, if YOU are looking for a tribe, and you are OPEN to suggestions … perhaps you might care to join us? Here’s how to know if this community is right (a.k.a., “write”) for you:

  • You have a lot to say, and you need a healthy outlet for saying it
  • You’d like to be heard, without judgement
  • You enjoy writing, but don’t have much of a practice
  • You write all the time, but you don’t have a regular way to get feedback (other than “likes” in your FB feed)
  • You’d enjoy being anchored in a circle of supportive women
  • You’re in transition, and exploring new creative outlets
  • You’re an experienced writer who’d like to be stimulated by new techniques, ideas, resources, and people
  • You’d like to use writing to help you create a more “conscious” life for yourself

Actually, there are hundreds of reason you might enjoy being part of this tribe. So, I cordially invite you to give us a try this fall. We’ve got lots of ways to participate.

For starters, you can “take us for a test drive” during our Sampler class at Unity Plaza on Aug. 31. Or, take the plunge now and sign up for our Fall Series, starting Sept. 7, where we will be focusing on the theme of fiction (and non-fiction) writing techniques. Register here. Seating is limited, so register soon!

Or, if you’ve been through a big transition lately, and live near the beach, you may want to sign up for our 6-week Writing Through Transitions series in Ponte Vedra starting Oct. 13, focusing on using your journal to help you walk through this challenging time. You can register here if you want us to to hold your spot.

Plus, there’s our Art + Soul Retreat on Nov. 5, a one-day workshop where we will write, collage, share our work, and eat — with food catered by Tres Leches. Activities include writing, mixed-media collage, SoulCollage®, and art journal-making. Register here.

Finally, we’re planning a Women’s Open Mic on Nov. 2, a “Write + Hike + Birdwatching” at Guana River State Park, and hopefully a new monthly series at the Downtown Library (more details soon). Plus, save the date of Nov. 12 for the Jax by Jax Literary Festival. We will be actively supporting the Jacksonville writing community again this year.

No matter where you are on your life journey, or what kind of writer you are, we’ve got a place for you in this tribe—if you want one. Our mission is:

  • “To nurture and celebrate the individual voice by facilitating supportive writing circles and by encouraging people to craft more conscious lives through the art of writing and the practices of community.”

We do hope you’ll join us.
—Jennifer Wolfe, owner
Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville

WWF(a)C, Jax, is one of six affiliate sites of the women-led, national organization Women Writing for (a) Change, founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year.

A Summer of Writing

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IMG_0881.PNGI’ve been doing a lot of writing this summer.

In the spaciousness of summer, with longer days and star-filled nights, it seems like there’s more opportunity to be creative, whether you’re journaling about your exciting summer adventures, or making up stories while lying in a hammock with pen in hand, or creating art journals while sitting on a plane (here are some great tips about that from the brilliant Creative Life Spark!).`

Remember that essay we were all assigned in school: What did you do on your summer vacation?  Jeez.  How to wreck a good thing!  Turning vacation into a homework assignment!

That’s why I love the way we do things at Women Writing for (a) Change.  We make writing fun, the way it should be.

What if we had a writing circle just on the subject of, What I did for my summer vacation?  That would be fun!  I’ll think about that.

Meanwhile, I’m quite excited about the two events I already have on the calendar: Our Fall Sampler, on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and the Fall Series, starting a week later.  We’re going to “Focus On Fiction” this semester—fiction of all types, whether pure fiction or fictionalized memoir.  You can REGISTER HERE, right now.

Let’s turn your summer vacation into material for some great stories, whether fact or fiction!  Only you will know!

We Gathered: Journal Conference 2016

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IMG_5990Just back from a rich and deep experience at the 2016 Journal Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, where we celebrated 30 years of journal therapy through the pioneering work of Kay Adams and The Center for Journal Therapy. We also launched the next 30 years of work in this field. The big vision: To make journaling as integral to our health and our community healing as yoga is today.  And we are definitely on our way there.

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Natasha Trethewey

It was a time to meet and celebrate some of the pioneers of this work, including Kay Adams, Peggy Heller of the National Association of Poetry Therapy, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea of PeerSpirit and The Circle Way, Richard Gold of Pongo Teen Writing, memoir specialist Linda Joy Myers and author Judy Reeves, as well as Pulitzer-Prize winning Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

Beyond that, we experienced fabulous workshops; to name just a few: Writing and Transitions with Leia Francisco; Writing and Neuroplasticity with Deborah Ross and Kay Adams; the new Positive Psychology Strengths Assessment with Edwina Cowdery and Nancy Scherlong, plus sessions on poetry, sacred song-writing, memoir writing, and others. A highlight was a workshop on writing a non-fiction books using journaling techniques to structure your approach, with editor/coach Nancy Evans. Other master journalers presenting were Linda Barnes,  Susan De Wardt,  and Anne-Marie Jobin of Journal Creatif…and many, many more.

People are doing incredible work with journaling around the world, and more is yet to come.  Journaling can jumpstart any writing effort, and can launch anyone’s writing career. Journal therapy also can be used by many professionals to enhance their healing in this world.  Find out more by becoming a member of The Journalverse or taking classes with the TWI Institute.

It’s a community that is changing the world, one journal entry at a time.

Writing + Everything = Good

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IMG_5870We’ve had so much fun this spring celebrating this beautiful time of year with writing combined with most everything else (collage, poetry, hiking) to create powerful experiences for women (and a few men) writers.

Just happened: Our annual Write + Hike, which included a potluck to make this a Write + Hike + Eat at Down to Earth Farm on the westside of Jacksonville.  Eighteen writers gathered on this beautiful organic farm run by Brian Lapinski, where we were treated to a farm tour including turkeys, chickens, pigs, and of course, rows upon rows of beautiful organic vegetables and flowers.

After a fascinating tour, we gathered in the woods for a special circle to learn techniques for writing in nature and on our summer travels, using all our senses.  We began with an edible flower (nasturtium), a Tibetan bell, and a painted rock, and conjured up memories from showering with free-roaming pigs to eating a first oyster.  We finished up with a delicious potluck and were recharged to go out into the world again.  Here’s a short video and a few pictures just to show how delightful it all was.  Thanks to everyone who attended and to Brian for hosting.

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We’ve All Got a Story to Tell

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“There’s a crack in everything.  It’s how the light gets in.” ~Loenard Cohen

We’ve all got a story to tell.  And our stories are worth telling!  But just saying them out loud isn’t enough, because they can be forgotten.  It’s good to get them written down.

So, how do you get started?

  1. Get yourself a journal and a good pen you enjoy writing with.  It could be a beautiful leather journal or a colorful one or a recycled paper one.  Keep it with you all the time! Your journal is a container for all your thoughts and ideas; not just “Dear Diary,” but rather, new business ideas, creative projects, successes and failures, lessons learned.  Writing is a way to process ideas and filter your thoughts, and put them in a safe place, until you decide to pull them out to use them, e.g., for a poem, a new book idea, an email to your ex, a business proposal, or a letter to your sister. (A computer works, too, but it can become too easy…like riding in a car all the time instead of walking.  Writing by hand is more visceral, more real, less polished. You can also type it up later. )
  2. Date your entry.  That’s it.  No other “rules,”  according to Kay Adams at The Center for Journal Therapy and one of my mentors. The space between your entries is just as important as the actual entry, so, you don’t have to write every day or anything.  But it IS helpful to know WHEN you wrote something, so you can put it in context. (Did you write something down on Valentine’s Day? If not, why not? What does that say about you and your life? Just sayin.’)
  3. Go with the FIRST THOUGHT, BEST THOUGHT idea (also Kay’s suggestion).  Just write what pops into your head.  And then just keep writing from there.  It’s great to set a timer, and stop after 5 or 10 or 15 mins, or whatever.  At Women Writing for (a) Change, we call this a “fast write.”  Stay ahead of your inner critic, be honest, and get to the deeper waters.  You can always edit later.
  4. Join a group!  It’s really important for many of us not just to write, but also TO BE HEARD.  We all need to be able to say our stories out loud to let them be appreciated and honored. (Just like visual artists need to be seen to complete their process.)  This also gives you a supportive community to surround yourself with.  It also gives you structure…a deadline, a commitment, a reason to push yourself just a little.  And that’s the edge: That’s where the growth happens.  Plus, it’s just plain fun.

Where can you get started with a writing community? Right here At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, where we offer semester-long classes, specialty workshops, and special community programs.

THIRD THURSDAYS, FOURTH FRIDAYS

In fact, it just so happens that we’ve got a new program coming up at Unity Plaza on the FOURTH FRIDAY of this month called “The Happiness Project: Writing Your Way to Happiness.”  It’s for men and women, and our first workshop “sampler” will be Friday, Feb. 26, from 2-4, in the Community Center.  You’ll always find a Women Writing for (a) Change program on the Fourth Friday of every month at Unity Plaza.

You can also sign up for our FREE writing circles on the THIRD THURSDAY of every month, right at Unity Plaza, during the Women’s Day Out program on Thursdays. Starting on  March 17, we’ll have a writing circle from 1:30-2:30 every Third Thursday.

You can always find out more on this website, by following our Facebook page, or by checking out our Meetup group site, where we post regular offerings.   At Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, we’re open to all levels of writers, from pros to beginners. We’d love to have you in the circle.

New Writing Season Begins!

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“What you seek is seeking you.”
— Rumi

NEW YEAR’S POEM
i am running into a new year

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twenty-six and thirty-six
even forty-six but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

                       —Lucille Clifton

WRITING PROMPT: I am running into a new year and…

Just a few spots left for Spring Classes!

We All Have A Dream
What’s your writing dream? Perhaps our Spring Series will help you realize it. We still have a few spots left for the series starting Wednesday, January 20! And Art + Soul starts Jan. 30!

“I don’t think everyone wants to create the great American novel, but we all have a dream of telling our stories-of realizing what we think, feel, and see before we die. Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.”
― Natalie Goldberg,
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Register here.

 

Public ReadAround Wraps Up the Season!

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11039847_498130363681424_8386609438534008076_nYou are cordially invited to attend our upcoming Public ReadAround, a celebration event to support the latest group of pioneering women writers of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville! We’ve got more wonderful, talented women writers who have been crafting stories and poems and essays since early this fall and will have some special stories to share with you.

We’ve also got our writers/collagers from our Art + Soul class, whose gorgeous collages will be on display. Finally, we will have our Soul Collage class presenting some of their beautiful work.

WHAT: 
Women Writers reading their work (and our collage artists presenting theirs)
WHEN: Dec. 5, 2015
WHERE: Unity Plaza
TIME: 2-4 p.m.
12072643_506149706212823_251420927365327984_nCome join the fun and experience some delightful readings, delicious food, and even a bit of music on the ukulele! See what this courageous and talented group of women is all about.

Hope to see you there. And thanks for the support.

p.s. Sorry guys, women only!