Tag Archives: online writing group

Announce: Our Fall’18 Schedule!

Once again, we’ve got a full group schedule coming up this fall:

  • Write Whole: Survivors Write – open to all women survivors of sexual trauma
  • Meridian Writers – a morning writing group open to all writers
  • Writing the Flood – our monthly writing meet-up!
  • Day-long Meridian Writing Retreat – Give yourself a day to fall into your words
  • Online: Embodied Writing – honoring the stories of our bodies
  • Dive Deep – a manuscript working group

More information about each group is below. Contact me if you have questions about any of our offerings, or if you’d like to register!


Write Whole: Survivors Write
For women survivors of sexual trauma
Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:00
November 7 – December 19 (7 week session)
Fee: $375
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

Many of us who are survivors of trauma feel fragmented or disjointed and have come to believe we must always live our lives this way.
In Write Whole groups, we learn that we can live and feel whole in our experiences and desires — we create new art through writing, transforming our pains and fears into power and love. Transforming and expanding our language has the effect of changing who we know ourselves to be. In a Write Whole writing group, you’ll write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing, engaging with such subjects as: body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more. Though we come together as survivors, we are never required to write any particular version of “our abuse story.” In this space, you have the opportunity to write as you feel called to write, no matter what the subject. Although the setting is a supportive one, this workshop is different from a “support group,” as the focus of the workshop itself is on each person’s writing. We create beauty out of the sometimes extraordinarily difficult stuff of our lives. (Each writer will also meet with Jen for a one-hour private consultation.)


Meridian Writers:
Find your center & write your story.
Wednesday mornings, 9:30am-12 pm
November 7 – December 19 (7 week session)
Fee: $425
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

Are you ready to release the stories at your core? Meridian Writers is seeking writers who prefer a fun, generous and supportive atmosphere in which to write together and celebrate one another’s creative efforts.

All genres and all experience levels are welcome — give yourself the structure you need to let your writing flow. Writers at this workshop create work in many different genres: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, science fiction, and more. Whether you are working on a longer project or ready to let a new voice emerge, you are invited to join this community of writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. Find a strong new creative community, and create a beautiful body of new writing. (Each writer will also meet with Jen for a one-hour private consultation.)


Writing the Flood
General-topic monthly writing workshop
Fee for this workshop is $50 (with a sliding scale)
Meets the third Saturday of each month, 1:00-4:30 pm (except when otherwise noted!)
Fall groups: October 13, November 17, December 15
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

For anyone looking to prime the writing pump or learn more about the Writing Ourselves Whole writing group format: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we write in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, so that you can get onto the page the stories that have been stuck inside for too long.

Continue working on an ongoing project, or get started on something that’s been percolating for awhile. We have time for three different writing exercises, so you’ll leave with fresh material. No previous writing experience required — open to folks of all writing abilities!


Dive Deep – A manuscript working group
Next cohort opens January 2019
Where: Writing Ourselves Whole workshop space, 1 block from 12th St./City Center BART station in Oakland

This workgroup is designed for those who have delved into (or are ready to commit to) the deep dive of a large* writing project:

  • a novel;
  • poetry, story or essay collection;
  • play or screenplay;
  • daily blogging;
  • preparing work for publication;
  • or any other long-term writing project.

Though writing is a solitary pursuit, no writer has ever completed a long work alone!

Divers meet three times per month for writing exercises, project check-in and accountability, manuscript feedback, coaching and peer support. This group can help you meet your writing goal, and provides community and encouragement as you go deep into your writing projects. This is necessary work you’re doing: give yourself all the tools and support you need.

* “large” is relative — whatever your writing project is, if you want support and accountability and regular connection around that work, we would love to have you!

Workshop fees: This is an ongoing group; the fee is $250/month, with a three-month initial commitment required; the group will remain closed for three-month cycles, then will open at the end of those cycles for the possible addition of new members. Dive Deep is limited to 6 members per cohort.


Meridian Retreat
a haven for your words
Saturday, November 3, 10:30am-5:30pm.
Fee: The fee for day-long retreats is $200; a $100 non-refundable deposit will secure your registration.
Where: Private home in the East Bay

Open to all writers, regardless of writing experience or previous participation in Meridian Writers.

Treat yourself to a day of good writing, good food, and good community! For this day-long writing retreat, we gather for coffee or tea and some home-baked breakfast, and then write through the rest of the morning. After a break for lunch (provided), we dive back into our work through the afternoon, and we close by 5:30pm.

You’ll leave the retreat with: a rich body of new creative writing; feedback about what’s already strong and powerful in your new writing; and inspiration to keep on writing.

Give yourself a day to write in a beautiful, quiet space with views overlooking the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.


Online writing group:

Embodied Writing:
Honoring our bodies’ stories
November 11 – December 22, 2018
Fee: $250

For those not in the Bay Area and therefore unable to attend in-person workshops, or for those uncomfortable with joining us in person.

Participation in the writing groups is both in-person and asynchronous: join us for weekly writing sessions and access exercises and readings, write and post your writing, and respond to others’ writing as works best for your schedule.

No special software required–just a web browser, Internet connection, and desire to write into your deepest stories.


Visit our Groups page to learn more about our writing groups, and contact Jen with questions or to register!

Winter ’18 Workshop Schedule: We’re Back!

Companer@, I know that you are hurting but you are still alive you will survive and together we will dismantle the systems that broke our heartsHello writers & writers-to-be!

I am delighted to announce that we’ll be offering a full workshop schedule beginning next year! While it’s been good to have a break from the work of running a business while I was in school, I have very much missed the energy and power of the groups — and given all that’s happening in the world these days, there’s just about no place I’d rather be than in a room full of powerhouse writers laying claim to their own voices and words.

As we move into this time of fertile dark and reflection, you may find yourself seeking a space that can hold the fullness and complexity of your deepest stories. At Writing Ourselves Whole, we believe in the power of story, the joy of writing, and the breadth of human creative resilience. We believe that community can hold, witness and celebrate the stories that we have been told are unspeakable.

Here are the writing opportunities we have coming up this beginning next year at Writing Ourselves Whole:

~Write Whole: Survivors Write
Open to women sexual trauma survivors
8 Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:00pm, beginning January 10

o In the *Write Whole: Survivors Write* workshop, you’ll gather with other trauma survivors to create new art and new beauty out of life’s difficult and complicated realities. Learn to trust the flow of your own writing, and receive immediate feedback about the power of your words! Remember: we’re open to all women, and ‘survivor’ is self-defined! Fee is $375; partial scholarships are available for all trauma-centered writing groups. 

~Meridian Writers
A general-topic group open to all writers!
8 Wednesday mornings, 9:30am-12:00pm, beginning January 10

o *Meridian Writers* invites you to join a community of writers who are connecting more deeply with their writing practice. Find your center and write your story. Coffee and/or tea will be provided, as well as light snacks (sometimes even including homemade bread). At the end of our eight weeks together, you will have a new creative community, and a strong body of new writing. Spaces are limited to 9 writers per workshop session. Fee: $425. Fees from this workshop support scholarships for Writing Ourselves Whole’s workshops for trauma survivors.

~Writing the Flood
Drop in and write!
Third Saturday of every month, 1-4:30pm
Upcoming groups meet on November 18, December 16, and January 20

o *Writing the Flood* is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long. This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice. Fee for this workshop is $25-50, sliding scale.

~ Dive Deep
An advanced, manuscript-centered workgroup
First 2018 cohort opens to new members on Thursday, January 4

o The *Dive Deep* workgroup is for those who have delved into (or are ready to commit to) the deep dive of a large writing project, such as a novel, memoir, or poetry collection. Though writing is a solitary pursuit, no writer has ever completed a long work alone: Divers meet three times per month for writing, project check-in and accountability, feedback, coaching and peer support. This group can help you meet your writing goal, and provide community and encouragement as you go deep into a writing project. The fee is $225/month, with a three-month commitment required; the group will remain closed for those three months, in order to give Divers the opportunity to set long-term goals in an established and supportive community.

~ Write Whole Online
Open to all sexual trauma survivors
6-week online writing group begins on Sunday, January 7

o *Online Writing Groups* are designed for those unable to attend in-person workshops, or for those uncomfortable with or less inclined toward joining us in person. Participation in the writing groups is all asynchronous: you access exercises and readings, write and post your responses, and offer feedback on others’ writings as works best for your schedule. No special software required–just a web browser, Internet connection, and desire to write into your deepest stories. Fee: $250 (sliding scale).

Join us!

No previous writing experience necessary! All groups meet near BART station and other public transportation options. Spaces are still available, though limited, and pre-registration is required! 

Questions or concerns? Write to me at jennifer(at)writingourselveswhole.org.

Jen’s ten rules for writers (for today)

Sometimes things conspire to keep the body from pulling itself out of bed at 4:50am. Sometimes the dog has been awake at irregular intervals all night, snapping off sharp, surprising barks at the neighbors who had the audacity to have a gathering on their summer-vacation Monday night and into Tuesday morning. Sometimes she’s up at 1:48am, shaking and scratching and agitating so that her collar rings like poorly-tuned chimes, needing to go outside. Sometimes the body stands at the back door, falling back asleep while upright, waiting for the dog to finish exploring the night yard and ask to be let back in. Sometimes the work went late into the night and rest didn’t come early enough. Sometimes the leg spasms, dancing all by itself, and the rest of the body doesn’t want to stretch it — that road leads directly to charlie horse.

So sleep, such as it is, blows right through the 4:50 alarm, through the many snoozes, and continues on until almost 7. Sometimes the sweetheart’s arms are just too sweet to slip away from, and so it’s a whole lot better to cuddle back in under the covers after every snooze. And those precious early morning writing hours are spent in dreams. But the dreams will make their way into some character’s head, someday. That’s the hope.

~~ ~~ ~~

Today is a self-care day: body work, therapy, CoDA — not in that order. There’s much work to do — we have a beautiful group gathered for our summer online write whole session, and folks have already begun to share strong and gorgeous work there; our fundraising campaign for Sex Still Spoken Here (the Erotic Reading Circle anthology) is in the homestretch and needs a lot of attention in order to make our $5000 goal; Dive Deep‘s SummerFall 2014 Cohort is underway and manuscripts are arriving for response; Write Whole‘s in-person session begins next week, and I’ve got to prepare our syllabus and get the word out to any last-minute registrants — I’ve also got a syllabus to prepare for a master class for the National Poetry Slam at the beginning of next month and start getting the word out to local colleges about our 2014-2015 workshop offerings… so today’s practice will be to relax during the self-care time, and trust that the work will get done as it needs to get done. Whew.

~~ ~~ ~~

Last Thursday, In the first meeting of our Dive Deep SummerFall cohort, I asked us to write (in 10 minutes) our 10 rules for writers (I got the idea from Advice to Writers, which shares various writers’ lists of 10 rules now and again…). We got some great lists, and some interesting overlap among many of our lists. What would get included on your list of 10 “rules” for writers? What would you leave off your list of “rules”?

Here’s what my list looked like:

1) Start now.

2) Open a notebook. Get a fast-moving pen. Sit down at a corner table in a bustling cafe, next to a window, wearing headphones connected to a tape player blaring music you’ve listened to often enough that the sound simply permeates your brain, creating a barrier between the loud voices around you, the even louder and more hostile voices within you, and the words you can barely even allow yourself to know you want to write. Put the pen to the page. Write one word, then another, as fast as you can, faster than the eyes of your inner editors and censors can read. Keep going for 20 minutes, take a breath, then keep going for another 20 years.

3) Understand that anyone’s rules for writing are useless to you.

4) Move your body in ways that feel excellent to you and make you sweat at least as often as, and for as long as, you write.

5) Be around animals — they being you into the present moment better than anything else.

6) Read books you love. Read books you don’t love. Read in and out of the genre you want to write.

7) Write what you love — not what you think you ought to write. Forgive yourself for not always loving what you “ought” to write.

8) Remember that writing needs room to breathe — loafing, wandering, and lazing aimlessly are often deeply creative acts.

9) Take paid work that has nothing to do with writing, leaves you energy to write, and provides material for your writing.

10). Be easy with you. And keep going.

What’s coming up at Writing Ourselves Whole

Do you have some writing to do this summer? Let us provide the support, structure, and community that you deserve; come and join us at one of our many writing groups and workshops. Here’s what’s the summer schedule looks like around Writing Ourselves Whole!

Write Whole-Survivors Write. Open to all survivors of trauma
8 Monday evenings beginning July 28, 2014.
Fee: $365 (ask about scholarship/payment plan, if needed)
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Gather with other trauma survivors and write in response to exercises chosen to elicit deep-heart writing around such subjects as body image, family/community, sexuality, dreams, love, faith, and more.

Dive Deep: An advanced manuscript/project workgroup
Our SummerFall 2014 Cohort is full. The next series begins January 2015
Fee: $200/month (6-month commitment)
Limited to 6 members per group
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Designed for those working on (or committing to) a larger project, such as a novel or memoir. Divers meet three times per month for writing, project check-in/accountability, feedback, coaching and peer support.

Write Whole Online writing group
6-week summer sessions begins July 20, 2014
If you are not able or comfortable joining an in-person group, we offer online groups as well. This summer, our Write Whole: Survivors Write online is open to all women survivors of sexual trauma. No special software required — just a computer, an internet connection, and the desire to write in supportive community. Fee is $225.

Writing the Flood. A monthly writing workshop open to all
Meets the third Saturday of every month
Limited to 12. Fee is $50 (with a sliding scale)
Meets in private workshop space in Oakland, near Lake Merritt
Write in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories that have been too long stuck inside
Next Flood Write meets Saturday, July 19. (And mark your calendars now for the rest of the summer: August 16, September 20.)

Create the space in your summer for the power of your good words! All workshops facilitated by Jen Cross. Email me with any questions, or visit our contact page to register!