"There was a time, when I first found out I was pregnant with twins, that I saw only a state of conflict. When I looked at theater and parenthood, I saw only war, competing loyalties, and I thought my writing life was over....
"I found that life intruding on writing was in fact, life. And that, tempting as it may be for a writer who is also a parent, one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing, and much to do with life. And life, by definition, is not an intrusion."
Sarah Ruhl, 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write
"She wrote when she could—usually after the children went to sleep. And since she was the sole support for her children, she couldn’t sacrifice the real world for her art. “I stole time to write,” she said.
Hilton Als profile of Toni Morrison,
The New Yorker
"More than in any human relationship, overwhelmingly more, motherhood means being instantly interruptible, responsive, responsible. . . .
It is distraction, not meditation, that becomes habitual; interruption, not continuity; spasmodic, not constant toil."
Tillie Olsen, "Silences"
Why a writing workshop just for mothers?
More seriously, I've hit my stride as a writer since giving birth to my children. As I've spoken to and worked with other writers who are mothers over the years, I've discovered that there are strong patterns in the challenges writers encounter in early motherhood, and in how those who find their footing again adjust their practices in response to those challenges. I've learned, too, that a significant set of challenges for nearly everyone is loneliness, artistic isolation, and not yet knowing that these struggles are universal and at the same time temporary and surmountable. Unfortunately, the structure and focus of most writing workshops—where writers often seek community—don't typically respond to or accommodate the needs of writers in early parenthood. So I created one that does.
Who do you mean by “mother”?
If you think of yourself as a mother, you are welcome.
How will participants be selected?
You can apply here. It's a very low-key application; I read with an eye towards forming groups who will learn from and support one another, and not to evaluate whether writing is "good enough." BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ participants are warmly and particularly encouraged to apply.
What work will be expected between meetings?
You’ll be expected to make progress on your weekly writing goals—goals that you set, that make sense for you, your life, and your work. That might mean writing 50 words a day, or 500. It might mean taking down three story ideas. It might mean blocking out time to write for 20 minutes three days a week. It might mean revising one page of your novel, or five, or a chapter. Everyone's goals will be different. There will also be short occasional readings and invitations to join online literary events.
Unlike many workshops, the cycle of preparing submissions and reading and commenting on the work of others will not be a component of this workshop. There will be opportunities to share work in-session, but no pressure to create full pieces on deadlines or to provide written feedback to others.
What kind of writing is welcome? Will the focus be only on writing about parenting?
Any kind of writing you're working on is welcome, whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, academic writing, children's writing, or anything else. While writing about parenting is completely welcome, it's by no means expected.
How does payment work?
After you are accepted to the workshop, you'll be asked to send payment of theworkshop fee via Venmo, PayPal or Zelle to secure your spot.
What if I can't make every session/apply by the deadline/quite swing $250 right now?
Talk to me! Scholarships are available, and running a workshop for mothers means being flexible.
What if I need to change plans?
You're asked to fully commit to attending the majority of workshop meetings before sending your payment. That said, cancellation requests received in writing up to seven days before the start of the workshop will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be issued after this point.