Category Archives: journal

Finding Your Poetic Voice

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IMG_4312.PNGPlease join us for our Spring Series as we help you Find Your Poetic Voice here at Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville.

In this series, we’ll explore how poetry and poetic techniques can enrich your writing, infusing it with new ideas and themes…whether you write actual poems or just get more poetic in your daily writing practice. We’ll look at a selection of rich, juicy poems and see how they might inspire our creative process.

Our guest poet (from afar) will be Alexa Mergen, poet, journalist, teacher, and yoga practitioner. You’ll have a chance to meet her when she visits Jacksonville April 21-23, all the way from Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. She will consult with us on our curriculum.

The Spring Series meets weekly on Wednesday nights for 12 weeks, from January 25 through April 12, 2017.

WHEN: starting January 25, 2016, 6:30-9 p.m., through April 12.
WHERE: Riverside (1610 Osceola Street, 32204)
CLASS SIZE: Limited to 10 spaces.
FEE: $300 for the series (non-refundable unless cancelled two weeks before class); deposit of $75, balance due by first class.
REGISTER:  You can register right here!  Spaces are limited.

Curious but want a closer look first?  Please attend our Sampler on January 18 at 6 p.m. It’s a great way to find out what we’re all about!  Just register right here.  We’d love to have you.

You don’t have to be a professional writer to join in. Come by and learn more about the amazing process used by thousands of women across the country to express their authentic selves through writing and community-building. We’ll use prompts, poetry and prose to practice many different writing techniques.

“A circle of women may be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, Dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love great. You will be changed. The very fabric of your Being will be altered by this. If you allow it. Please, allow it.” — Unknown

Join Us for Our Public ReadAround!

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img_3075It’s stories women need. Stories give us hope, a little guidance,
and a lot of bravery.
Sue Monk Kidd

Public ReadAround

Please join us as we broaden our circle to include our women friends, colleagues, and family  members. Once each semester, class members of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville,  believing that “writing is not a performance, but a generosity” invite you to hear what we’ve been writing. Come enjoy an afternoon of delectable stories, poems, music, and refreshments.

What: Public ReadAround
When: Sunday, Dec. 4, from 2-4 p.m.
Where: Unity Plaza Community Room, 220 Riverside Avenue
Register: Register here

“Story creates an atmosphere in which truth becomes discernible as pattern.
When truth is told through the imaginative patterns of stories and poems,
we have a chance to be caught up and rewoven
into truth’s own designs.”
—Parker Palmer

Next Sampler Class

What: Finding Your Poetic Voice
When: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Unity Plaza Community Room, 220 Riverside Avenue
Register: Register here

Come spend a Wednesday evening in the company of interesting women in a relaxed and safe atmosphere. All are welcome. No writing experience necessary.

Read our Latest Newsletter

You can find out more about what we’re doing right here!

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.

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.

Register Now for Fall Classes!

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Register Now for Fall Classes in Riverside!

Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, announces new fall classes, featuring the source book The Artist’s Way and a new partnership with Unity Plaza.

Women Writing for (a) Change members gather over the summer in Riverside.

Women Writing for (a) Change members gather over the summer in Riverside.

FALL SAMPLER: Register now for the Fall Sampler, on Wednesday, August 26, from 7-9 p.m. “Test drive” The Artist’s Way and our style of writing in community and find out if it’s a good fit for you. $25 tuition

FALL SERIES: The Fall Series begins Wednesday, September 2, from 7-9:15 p.m., and continues for 12 weeks.
 We’ll use The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, as our source book. Early Bird tuition $300; $325 after Aug. 27.

ART + SOUL SERIES: Starting on Saturday, September 5, from 2-4:30, for 6 weeks. This class is for those who enjoy art-making as much as writing. Using The Artist’s Way, we’ll mix writing plus collage and other media. (p.s.  We are also teaming up with Hope at Hand to offer a Soul Collage series…watch for more details soon!) Early Bird tuition $175; $185 after Aug. 27.

FOURTH FRIDAY: New this fall, we are teaming up with Unity Plaza to offer a free workshop on the Fourth Friday of every month in the Community Room at 220 Riverside. The drop-in class starts Friday, Aug. 28, from 12-1, and features a new theme each month, based on the current Unity Plaza theme. Additional classes will be held Sept. 25, Oct. 23, Nov. 20, and Dec. 18 (adjusted for the holidays).  We’ll also be adding a SECOND FRIDAY class soon; more details to come.

WOMEN OF WONDER: Wwf(a)C, Jax, will offer programs as part of the “Women Of Wonder” programs at Unity Plaza. Watch Unity Plaza’s calendar of events for more details soon!

NEW LOCATION: Women Writing for (a) Change has moved to Riverside!  Our new address is 1610 Osceola Street, Jacksonville, near Five Points. For more information, call 904-307-3047, or visit WomenWritingJacksonville.com, or find us through Meetup.com.

With Spring Classes Underway, New Flowers are Blooming

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IMG_3620I’m so excited about my Carolina jasmine!  It’s quite beautiful, flowering and spreading all over my backyard pergola.

I’ve waited a long time for this.

The garden adage for growing vines is, first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap.  Or, for all plants: first year SLOW, second year GROW, and third year SHOW. Which is exactly what’s happening out there!

The first year of my new backyard garden, the vines barely rose up the side of one post.  The next year, they reached further, but they didn’t cover overhead.  The third year, they finally started to cover the pergola.

Today, the vines hold a very generous sprinkling of yellow flowers, which I just love.  It’s a reminder to me of spirit, of sunshine, and of warmth.  What’s extra nice is that the Carolina jasmine is native to this area, so I know it’s in its rightful place.

Which is how I’m starting to feel about Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville.

I think I’ve been through the “slow” stage, as I gathered my certifications and gained clarity about what I really wanted to do with my life. Last year, which was the first year we were open for business, I tried to focus on one thing at a time, do that well, and not get too far ahead of myself!  (“Sloooow down,” my mentor Diane likes to say. “Sloooooow down!”)

600_433138024Now that we’re in the second year, I can take some of the lessons learned and add them, like fertilizer, to the roots of my business, working toward “deep and concentrated” rather than “wide and shallow.”  It’s not easy, actually.  In my eagerness, my passion, my enthusiasm, I want to go here, there, and everywhere, holding circles and “spreading the joy.” I have vision, and I have fire, as another mentor, Beth, likes to say.

But I am also guided by what we at WWf(a)C like to call the Conscious Feminine, a leadership style that takes a long view, and cautions against unlimited growth and reckless speed.

Enough is enough.
When I go slow, I go fast.
Easy does it.

These are all adages that keep my entrepreneurial garden healthy. I have other garden wisdom to guide me, such as, “Plant it and it shall grow.”

So let me sprinkle a few more seeds, soon to blossom into full-blown events (UNF Hike, or Open Mic Night) that will create new gardens of words, of wonder, of consciousness, right here in Jacksonville.  These gardens will give life to the stories, and talent, that are native to our region.

open mic flyer 3 VI’m not trying to plant too much.

Just enough.

Because this much I know is true: Women’s stories are valuable. Women’s wisdom is needed. Conscious women’s leadership is part of a cure for what ails this world.

That’s what we’re cultivating.

Here.
In the garden called, “Women Writing for (a) Change.”