This Thursday I’m taking an emotional and financial risk, but it feels right & I’m excited!
After winning a scholarship for the Catamaran Writing Conference, I participated in a creative nonfiction workshop in August. The twelve-hour-long class was taught by Frances Lefkowitz, author of the acclaimed memoir To Have Not. As helpful as the class was, it wasn’t enough!
I wanted more…I craved more of the teacher’s wisdom, I wanted more feedback from her and from my classmates.
I learned that listening to others’ feedback they received from our teacher and the class was valuable unto itself.
So to sum up, I wanted the ongoing guidance and the encouragement of a master teacher, and feedback from a group of likeminded writers, but I didn’t think it could happen in my hometown.
Then I got a sign from the Universe!
The sign occurred at Coffee 9, one of my favorite places. Coffee 9 is where I’ve imbibed countless extra-chocolate, triple shot mochas and gotten to know some colorful locals like “Writing Matt”.
A few weeks ago while stumbling, uncaffeinated, into Coffee 9 I spotted local bestselling author Laura Davis’ writing class flyer on their bulletin board.
Almost a decade ago, I bought Laura’s bestselling book Becoming the Parent You Want to Be (co-authored with Janis Keyser) back when my little girls couldn’t talk back to me. Ah, those were the days.
Little did I know I’d be speaking with this famous author years later after I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder – and it wasn’t a meet n’ greet at one of her packed book signings but about singing up for her writing course.
During the two decades I’ve lived in this area, I’ve noticed Laura’s flyers posted at different coffee shops. (As you probably know by now, I love supporting local business if caffeine and chocolate are involved!) Sometimes I looked at her flyer wistfully, but deep down I never thought a writing class was for me for various reasons.
I didn’t think I was “worth” the money necessary to join such an extravagant-sounding class, even though my freelance articles had been published regionally and nationally, and I had landed my first book deal.
In any case, I believed that I needed to tough it out by writing alone.
I resigned myself to continue feeling mediocre about my writing, and that constantly bugged me.
Although I suspected I had the potential to be a better writer, I didn’t think I was worth the investment. Now that I have a deadline for my second book deal (and I don’t want it to go south like the first one did), I think I’m worth the investment.
After speaking with Laura, I liked what she said and how she said it. (As the daughter of a speech pathologist, voices are especially significant to me.) I was also impressed and moved with what Laura had to say on the YouTube clip I include here. I also listened to Laura’s free, one-hour-long writing teleseminar (you can sign up for it on her website) and I found it helpful and inspiring.
Laura Davis’ Statement #1
My first class is tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how it goes!! As Laura asks all attendees to respect the confidentiality of group members & their writing, I’ll only write about my own experience…I’d never want to break that rule!
Have a great weekend & I’ll see you next Thursday.
p.s. some tidbits
Dyane’s Class Description: Feedback Class on Writing Projects of Your Choice
(It’s not too late to join me!)
These ongoing classes, designed for students who are already deeply grounded in writing practice, gives writers a chance to make progress on a focused project of their choice. Each week, the writers in Laura’s feedback classes sign up to get the suggestions and support from the group, whose role is to respond to the writing with editing and encouragement, to hold “each other’s feet to the fire,” and to help everyone in the group reach their personal writing goals. Some group members are working on articles, others on memoirs, novels, short stories, or non-fiction books.
Ira Progroff calls writing, “this solitary work we cannot do alone.” These classes provide the support necessary to persevere in creative work.
Students wanting to move into one of these classes must have a personal consultation with Laura to discuss their writing goals. Prior writing practice experience required. Admission to these classes occurs whenever there is an opening; admissions are on a rolling basis. Contact Laura to ask about openings and to agree on a start date.
If you can’t join me here in Santa Cruz for Laura’s class, she has a free, weekly writing prompt you can sign up for – please visit:
Follow Laura Davis on Twitter: @
Other groundbreaking Laura Davis books include:
Dyane’s book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma of Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.