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


Every few months we offer this 3 hour workshop. 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, Nov. 1,  11:00am - 2:00pm
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 6:00pm - 9:00 pm
Monday, Feb. 26, 11:00am -2:00pm 
Sunday, May 20, 1:00-4:00



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.

​Fridays 1:00-3:30  from Oct. 6 till Dec. 8



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


Recommended Reading

Upcoming Workshops & Retreats

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

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

Creative Writing Evening Series
Each season we host an 3 week creative writing series in the evening, covering different writing subjects to expand a writers skill-set and to fuel the creative juices. Classes include instruction, theme exercises, reading and critique, and opportunities to share and learn from fellow writers. Snacks and lots of inspiration provided. Each 3 week session is $35.00, or you can drop in for $15.00 a session. Space is limited, so preregistration is recommended.


Summer: Nature Writing - Tapping into nature's rhythms.
Wednesday Nights July 19, 26 and August 2 from 6:30 - 8:30.
As the seasons change, so does our physiology, mood, and the way we interact with the natural world. Season's are powerful for setting a scene and building characterization with texture in any story, as well as being a dynamic metaphor. This session will focus on capturing nature's nuances and unique details to heighten our description skills, while also exploring how changes in weather and life's rhythm, as well as the shifting energy of the moon, plants and animals can impact our creativity and be a remarkable element to add to our stories. Capturing the spirit of each season on the page not only makes us stronger writers, but helps ground us and enhances our own connection to the world, activating our awareness and creativity.    



Fall: Putting your Book Project Together
Tuesday Nights, Oct. 10, 17, 24 from 6:30-8:30
Many people have a book idea, or a story growing inside that they feel compelled to write, however sitting down to "write a book" is huge and can be intimidating. It is easier to talk about writing a book than actually writing one, so sometimes we just need support, a little organization and the belief that it is indeed possible not just to start, but to finish. Whether you have loads of writing piled up in files that you now hope to organize into a book, or are just starting out with a blank page and an idea, this 3 class series will discuss methods and creative approaches to mapping out a book. Timelines, outlines, and defining themes will give shape and substance to your story, preparing you to set forth on the journey of manifesting the book only you can write. This class will work on powerful openings, characterization, and plot development. 

Winter: Family Stories & Legacy Wills
Tuesday Nights, Dec 5, 12, 19 6:30 pm -8:30 pm
The longer we live, the more we realize that the greatest thing we have to leave behind for our loved ones is not our money or material things, but the wisdom gained from our life experience. The gift of inviting your family members to better know who you are, mind body and soul, becomes deeply poignant and cherished writing, because knowing one's heritage and family history helps a person feel a part of the ongoing thread of their lives . This 3 part class series will concentrate on composing documents, letters and stories to leave behind for those we love, exploring how to best tell our stories so they are penned as a blessing and document of wisdom. (This is a perfect course to set you up for a new year with the goal of capturing stories for family, or to create a beautiful work to give to a loved one as a gift this holiday season.)


Spring: Developing and Expanding your Writer's Voice
Tuesday Nights 6:30-8:30, March 13, 20, 27
Are you a sentimental writer?  Someone who keeps humor at the forefront of every story? Do you only write memoir? Fiction? Sometimes the best way to flex our creative muscles is to write something very different from what we normally write. This series will explore a variety of writing styles, setting forth creative challenges to remind us there are infinite ways to tell a story and we can work to be master of them all! This series will put the "creative" back in creative writing and help us define and develop our original voice.

  

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.

“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