If you've never written creatively before, this course include supplements to orient you to the basics. If you're an experienced creative writer, this course will show you how to deepen your writing by infusing it with transformative personal experience.
There is power in telling our stories, either in memoir, or fiction, or even writing them onto a piece of paper that we burn up immediately after.
Here's something they don't cover in driver's ed: what do you do when you find yourself on a lonely country road with a live wild bird magically trapped in an inaccessible part of your vehicle?
"If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people." –Virginia Woolf
In his book, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, expressive therapy pioneer Dr. James Pennebaker devotes several chapters to the history and power of personal honesty. Per his extensive studies, all humans have inappropriate thoughts, fears, and uncomfortable memories. The best way to move past them is to travel through them.
In other words, you must confess.
Writing is one of the most amazing things out there. Where else can you watch a free movie in your head? Writing has also put me in touch with forgotten emotions and healing insights. Honestly, I'm not sure why this free therapy isn't hyped more often—writing is so cathartic.
I imagine that I'll wrestle with Shame at the beginning of every new project I write (he loses his seat at the table around page 100, dunno why), and I'll have to fight myself back to this place each time. Steven Pressfield does a great job naming this crisis of confidence in The War of Art. Anne Lamott offers an antidote in “Shitty First Drafts”--her whole book is a must-read. But here’s what *I* know, and what I forget with each book I write: there is only one cure for the shame, and it is this: word count.
It takes a village to raise a writer, which is why I’m passing on the two best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever heard, one from Carolyn Hart and the other from Elizabeth Gilbert.
To reach and fix the foundation, you must start from the outside and work your way in.
Let’s me tell you about our retreats in my own words…
Reading like a writer requires you to figure out what in a piece of fiction moves you and what turns you off. I'm calling that self-awareness your narrative detective—its job is to solve the mystery of the narrative, looking at the ways it is and isn't succeeding—and I'm going to encourage you to feed it PIE every time you read anything: a menu, a short story, the interpretive plaque next to the world's biggest redwood tree, a book.