Memoir Writing: Understanding your life through story.

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.  ~Norbet Platt

Introduction to Creative Journaling


We believe journaling is vital to feeling balanced and whole, so we try to offer this 3 hour workshop as often as possible. There is no fee to attend, but donations are welcome (suggested donations for those who are able: $15 to support our complimentary tea center and ongoing writing programs.)

This 3 hour workshop introduces the power of journaling for emotional balance and self growth, offering techniques and tools to expand our relationship with the written word as a path to healing and discovering who we are and what we believe. The class will cover a broad overview of key principals of journaling, including addressing issues such as privacy, how to write authentically, and how and why we should explore our honest feelings on the page without fear or feeling censored by others. Creativity, playful discovery, and how to mine nuggets of wisdom that are already within are primary themes, as well as how to keep up the discipline of writing daily and make it a joy to journal.  Great for writers seeking more honesty in their work, or anyone who is interested in finding deeper truths in the story of their lives.

Upcoming free workshop:
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 6:00pm - 9:00 pm
Thursday, March 1, 12:00 pm -3:00 pm
Friday, April 6, 1:00 pm -4:00 pm 
Sunday, May 20, 1:00-4:00
Friday, July 13, 1:00 pm-4:00 pm


Light snacks provided, so if you need more, eat before the session!


Instructor: Ginny East Shaddock: MFA in Creative writing, E-RYT-500 

Recommended reading: The New Diary by Tristine Rainer.

Jan. 22 - March 26
​Mondays 10:30-1:00  

We each have a story to tell and the act of writing about our lives helps us make sense of our  experiences with loved ones, family, careers, community, personal struggles, and most importantly, our inner emotional life. Memoir writing is an act of probing the deeper recesses of our heart and mind to find connections and meaning in the choices we've made and the direction our paths have taken as life unfolds. Whether you want to write memoir for a more poignant understanding of a particular period of your life, to gain deeper awareness of self, to leave reflective stories behind for future generations, or you want to hone your craft to make your story publication-worthy, this course will teach memoir writing from a technical standpoint as well as writing memoir as an act of celebrating life, creativity, and self discovery. Each session will include inspirational exercises and writing prompts to complete after your meeting at Heartwood, but also will include a critique session and feedback for works in progress and/or other writing that students may be doing on their own. Please bring up to 5 pages of any work in process if you would like feedback, or visit our muse page for writing prompts to spur inspiration. You don't need to bring writing but this class format makes the teaching an organic process determined by the work shared and explored as a group.

Suggested donation: $15.00 each session. This class is ongoing, so you may join at any time, but we do work progressively, so consistent attendance will help you progress as a writer.
Recommended reading: ~
Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir by  Elizabeth J Andrew
The Magic of Memoir: Inspiration for the writing journey. Edited by  Linda Joy Meyers.


Ongoing Writing Classes


Creative Writer’s Weekend Retreat

Sat. & Sunday, Jan.  27 & 28  10 am - 6 pm

If you love to write, have a book burning within that you are ready to unleash on the world, or just want to experiment with the written word to hone your gift for personal expression, the Creative Writer’s Weekend retreat at Heartwood will fuel you inspiration while expanding your awareness. This weekend includes creative writing instruction, opportunity to workshop your material, time to write and tons of inspiration to help you dive into writing as a path to know and be known. At lunch, stand at the open mic and read your work to practice delivering to an audience. Restorative yoga, meditation, handmade journaling projects, as well as other creative activities are available to relax and bring you closer to your inner author.  Whether you write poetry, memoir, fiction or creative non-fiction, this weekend will explore what makes a powerful story, how to capture a strong writer’s voice and techniques for crafting a more poignant story. Write, relax, learn, and join other writers to share inspiration and ideas.  

Lead teacher: Ginny Shaddock is a seasoned writing teacher with an MFA (Fiction) from Lesley University.

Retreat fee - $150.00 All materials included. Lunch provided each day.
Creative Awakening Art & Yoga Retreat
Date changed - new date TBA

Join us for a day of personal expression and creativity in a retreat that is part educational and part luscious relaxation! This retreat introduces a variety of spiritual crafts to reconnect us to our best selves and to unleash our creative juices. Learn about creativity and how personal expression fuels our hearts and minds to increase our quality of life. Consider new methods of promoting more creativity in your life. Enjoy restorative yoga to unleash your creativity. This retreat provides us with time and the materials to explore several craft mediums, and plenty of opportunity to relax as you dabble, experiment and create something special to take home.

Retreat Fee : $65.00 - includes lunch, a full day of instruction and inspiration, and unlimited use of a variety of art materials. Each attendee will take home one or more hand designed art projects. 

“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.” ~Anaïs Nin


Recommended Reading

Upcoming Workshops & Retreats

“The ablest writer is only a gardener first, and then a cook:  his tasks are, carefully to select and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts; and when they are ripe, to dress them, wholesomely, and yet so that they may have a relish.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer.  But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.  ~Colette, Casual Chance, 1964