Category Archives: women writing

Write + Hike + Birding in March!



(photo credit Craig O’Neal)

Our annual Write + Hike adds birdwatching!

We’re so excited about this year’s Hike + Write! In addition to writing and hiking in the woods, we will be bird-watching with a professional photographer and guide.

We’ll be meeting at Guana River Wildlife Management Area in Ponte Vedra early in the morning so we can get the best bird viewings. We’ll be led on our hike by intrepid photographer and bird-watcher (and newspaper columnist) Craig O’Neal. Bring your journal and your camera, and get ready to have some outdoor fun!

During our hike, we hope to see egrets, hawks, herons, eagles, scoreboard, pelicans, migratory birds like paroles and maybe even a tanager!

When: Saturday, March 18, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Where: Guana Tolomato Mantanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
GPS Address: 505 Guana River Rd, St. Augustine, FL (edit map)

Parking: Park entrance just north of the Gate service station on A1A. Meet at the the trail head and pavilion, about 200 yards beyond the dam.
Price: $25.00 /per person
Register: Join our Meetup page and register in one click!  Just a few spots available.

Afterwards, we’ll gather for a writing circle to journal about what we saw and learn new techniques for documenting your outdoor adventures in nature.

Bring a bag lunch and stay afterwards for some extended hiking and perhaps a kayak journey along the river!

A professional photographer, Craig also writes an article for the Times-Union Beaches Edition each week called “in focus,” so he’s a big fan of birds and words. We can’t beat that combination!

(And did you see the cool photos he took of our group for a story in First Coast Magazine?

So come on out for a fantastic adventure at our annual Hike + Write event. Men and women and kids invited to attend. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Preserve.

Note:  Be sure to wear appropriate gear and use bug spray.  Bring snacks and water (please avoid single use bottles and limit your “trash.”)  Important: Bring along a chair for sitting in our circle afterwards.  Thank you for being kind to our environment.

Finding Your Poetic Voice


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!


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.

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

See you at JaxByJax today!


Come join us at the JaxByJax literary festival today, from 3-6 p.m., in Riverside.  We will be supporting our Jacksonville writing community, handing out flyers, and writing a CommUNITY group poem!  We will be stationed on Park and King near Riverside Liquors.   To register for this and any of our upcoming classes, sign up on our Meetup page.


A Summer of Writing



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!

Writing + Everything = Good


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.


We’ve All Got a Story to Tell


“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.


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.