"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
"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"
FAQs for the in-person workshop. For more information on the online workshop, click here.
When do we meet?
The in-person workshop will meet on Fridays from 10am-12pm, for eight weeks: 1/11/19- 3/8/19, with a break on 2/22.
Where do we meet?
We meet in my home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which is set up both to facilitate writing and discussion and attend to the needs of pre-mobile babies.
Can I bring my child to the workshop?
Yes! You have two options for this:
Babies are welcome to join us in the workshop room. (For reasons of safety, I ask that only pre-mobile children join us in the room). The babies will interrupt. They'll need to eat, they'll have blowouts, they'll spit-up, they'll have gas and cry. All this is normal and welcome. We'll support each other in working through it.
For older children, we will have a wonderful, experienced assistant provide childcare in another room of the apartment. For reasons of safety, we can take on a maximum of four children in childcare per workshop session. Please indicate your interest in childcare on your application. There is no additional cost for childcare.
The big kids tend to wander back and forth a bit during workshops—that's fine and nothing to stress about.
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. I read applications with an eye towards forming a group who will learn from and support one another.
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 100 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 weekly readings.
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, 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 the $450 workshop fee via PayPal or Venmo to secure your spot.
What if I can't make every session/apply by the deadline/quite swing $450 right now?
Talk to me! 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.
Will you offer the course online?
Yes! It's launching January 2019. You can learn more at One Lit Place.
Will you offer additional workshops in the future, or ones that meet at night or on weekends?
Almost certainly. Drop me a note if you’d be interested—it will help me plan, and I’ll be sure to contact you if a workshop with a focus or structure you've requested develops.