• Putting the Pieces Together

    By Lindsey Goldstein

    I stood in the shower, warm water cascading over my shoulders and relaxing me enough to cause my eyes to close. My husband and daughter had left the day before to go skiing, leaving me with my toddler son and dog. Suddenly, my eyes snapped open. What if I have a brain aneurysm in the middle of the night and die? What will my son do? He can’t dial a phone to seek help or even get something to eat without assistance. He’d be stuck in this house with a dead mother and a dog. I shook my head. No, no, no. I took a deep breath and refocused.

    A few weeks prior, my therapist, whom I will call T, and I spent an entire session discussing my tendency to worry. I told her I can relate to a Shel Silverstein poem I’d read as a child about the “what if’s” crawling into my ear. When the news bombarded me with reminders that this year’s flu epidemic was something to fear, I’d begun the worry discussion with T, telling her I had become compulsive about hand washing, scouring my children’s hands when they walked into the house from school or foregoing play dates if a parent mentioned his/her kid had a sniffle. She listened, then leaned in.

    “What would be the worst thing that could happen if one of your children got the flu?” she asked.

    “Well, one of them could die,” I’d practically whispered not wanting to tempt fate. She nodded.

    “But the chance of that happening is very slim, right?” I had to admit that was true.

    Therapy isn’t something I’d ever thought I needed, but several months ago, I told my husband I had decided I wanted to try it. His initial reaction was concern, assuming something was terribly wrong. I assured him that no, there was nothing I could pinpoint, but in general, I just felt an overarching feeling of dissatisfaction. He was hurt to hear this, but I encouraged him to listen and try to understand.

    I told him, “It’s not that I hate my life. Not at all. I just feel like my days and weeks blur together, that I do whatever I need to do to get through my days rather than actually enjoy them.” As much as I didn’t want to sound like a cliché, I explained that I felt out of balance, felt a lack of presence in whatever I was doing, and my biggest concern was that I’d wake up one day a very old woman with a million regrets about how I chose to spend my time.

    I was reminded of a quandary a friend posed to me: What would you do if someone said you only had ten minutes left to live? I remembered searching for an answer but feeling lost and desperate to come up with anything.

    My first session of therapy started awkwardly. I squirmed, unsure of how to begin. So, I just started talking, nervously at first and later with more assertion.

    “I just feel as though I’m unsatisfied. That maybe I do a lot of things with my day, but that none of them get enough of my attention. I worry that one day, I will lie on my deathbed and be regretful that I didn’t accomplish anything.” She nodded but didn’t say anything. I kept talking. I told her about my marriage in a nutshell, about my two kids, about my job as a physical therapist, and about my writing hobby. I watched as the minutes ticked by on the clock, very aware that the express train of an hour was whooshing by in what seemed like a minute. She didn’t say much, but the sympathetic expression on her face told me she’d been in my shoes before, that the dissatisfied ground upon which I tread had been traversed by others.

    Since the birth of my second child, I’ve opted to treat patients who are not able to leave their homes. The vast majority of my patients are in the final moments of their lives. My favorite part of my job is to hear each patient’s life story, to hear what made them happy, to hear what still makes them happy, and to understand what each person would like to continue to do so long as they have breath in their body.

    I wish I could say I’ve met people without regret, but sadly, I haven’t. The overwhelming response I get from these people is to enjoy my youth, my children, my husband, and my body.

    Though I’ve thought about their recommendations before, I’ve never dwelled on the fact that everyday obligations and routines sometimes get in the way of what’s really important. Or that sometimes these same obligations get in the way of even thinking about what’s important.

    During my second visit, my therapist clearly had been listening because she asked me how I feel when I’m writing. I don’t normally discuss feelings. I tell stories, I make dry jokes, but to actually say how something makes me feel isn’t within my comfort zone.

    “When I’m writing, two hours passes by in what seems like two minutes,” I said. It was the best I could muster. She smiled.

    “That is an amazing feeling. To be so engrossed by something that you lose track of time.” I agreed. She wondered how I could incorporate more of that into my routine. And so we dissected my inability to say no to work that actually pays (my patients) and commit more time to something that I love. I explained to her that that seemed frivolous, almost irresponsible. That I should be as productive with my time as I can be in order to help support my family. Then I decided to stop arguing and remember why I’d sought her help in the first place.

    When I was much younger, I shied away from anything I feared. Following dreams or passions wasn’t in my nature, but rather practical choices were. Then I turned forty.

    Friends who were younger asked me what that was like. Some wondered if forty was terrifying. I wasn’t scared but suddenly was very aware of how fleeting my time is. I looked back at the years behind me and the details of so many experiences, of so many relationships with people, of loves and hurt and joy. It was as though they had been placed in a food processor and blended together to make a blurry collage of snapshots of my life.

    There is no slowing time down, but by going to therapy week after week, I realized I had gotten into a habit of being half-present in my life, of multi-tasking so I can get everything done in favor of committing myself fully to each moment of my life.

    At the last visit I had with T, she probed further into my relationship with my seven-year-old daughter. She and I have very different personalities, but I want to understand her and also have a healthy relationship with her. Her greatest need since we had our son is for me to be affectionate with her. She sees me carry him places or hug him and though I try to give her the same level of affection, she has voiced her feelings that it isn’t enough.

    “Mommy, will you lie in bed with me and cuddle?” she has asked on numerous occasions. Normally I put my son to bed, read with my daughter and then try to get her to bed in an effort to preserve one hour of alone time before I too need to go to bed. I told T how many times I’ve used the fact that it’s late and my daughter needs to go to sleep in lieu of cuddling with me. Or if I do sit with her on her bed, my mind goes to everything I still have left to get done in the paltry number of minutes I have before bedtime.

    “Do you think you could forego any of the things you have to do at night in order to lie with her and cuddle for five minutes?” T asked me. And then of course, I blushed because I felt like a selfish and terrible mother. “What would happen, for example, if you didn’t get the dishes done at night?” she asked.

    “Nothing,” I’d mumbled. Then I’d looked T in the eye and made a heart-wrenching confession. “The real issue is . . . I don’t like to cuddle. With anyone.” I explained how it had been a problem with my husband when we first dated because he enjoyed cuddling, while it made me feel suffocated. I compromised with him a bit, but I know it’s not what he really wanted. I explained to T that as awful as it sounded, I just wanted to be transparently honest. She applauded my honesty. We discussed ways in which I could meet my daughter halfway, to give her what she needs without compromising my comfort. And I believe these suggestions have helped.

    As I understand it, there isn’t a finish line in therapy. I won’t cross a line and be handed a medal. But I feel myself unfolding.

    Most importantly, I feel myself allowing truths to emerge. I have nothing to hide or lose by telling all to T. And only by admitting the deepest, ugliest, most wounded aspects of myself can I take myself apart and put myself back together.


    Lindsey Goldstein lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids and dog. In addition to writing, she works part-time as a physical therapist. She has published essays in the The New York Times, Modern Love column, in Kveller, and in Parent.co. Lindsey is currently working on her first novel.



    The founders and editors of The HerStories Project — a writing community for Gen-X women and publisher of four previous anthologies for women — are seeking submissions for a new essay collection.

    A Fury of Her Own: Midlife Women on Embracing Anger and Changing the World will examine the reasons for women’s anger at this current moment and celebrate the ways (big and small) they are using their rage to create lasting change.

    See full submission details and guidelines here.


    Our new writing community, HerStories Writers, features ongoing mini-courses, live chats and co-writing sessions, weekly writing prompts, and more! Come interact and find support, learn about topics that interest you (personal essay writing, building a platform, balancing writing and life), and get feedback on your work in a community outside of Facebook! Learn more here.

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  • Hearing the Wake-Up Call of Your Creative Life

    by Jennifer L. Hollis

    When my friend Kris suggested we take ourselves on a do-it-yourself writer’s retreat, I told her she was a genius. We are both writers in our forties and, like so many people in midlife, everything in our lives is growing: careers, children, those piles of unread library books on the nightstand. She’s a fundraising consultant who has shifted most of her professional work to writing. I’m a writer and music-thanatologist, which means I play harp and sing for people who are dying.

    I’ve been around end-of-life care long enough to know that the best place to find happiness is in the here and now, making time for the things, and people, you love. While writing makes me happy in a way that little else does, it is difficult carve out that creative space. As poet Mary Oliver writes, “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

    It’s easy to promise ourselves we’ll get to our writing later, when the children are in bed or the taxes are done, only to find our to-do lists have no end, and never did.

    When Kris and I decided to commit to a weekend writing retreat, I suggested that we go to Martha’s Vineyard, where my husband and I have a house that we use in the summer but is mostly empty in the winter. We talked about dates, and backup dates, and also backups for the backup dates. Once our retreat was on the calendar, we anxiously waited for weather or illness or spouse calendars to force us to cancel. Nothing did, not even my worries about being away from my young son for two nights. My husband planned an exciting weekend complete with a movie and a boat show, and my son hardly noticed as I packed my bag to leave.

    I first met Kris in 2001, when we shared an upstairs apartment in an old two-family house just outside Cambridge, Massachusetts. I was a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School and she worked for a large nonprofit in downtown Boston. One night I woke up to hear her running up the stairs to my attic bedroom. “Wake up, Jen!” she yelled, “I think the house is on fire!” Panicking, I wondered if I should carry the harp outside with me. What about my boxes of photographs and journals? By the time I pulled on jeans and a sweater none of it seemed important. I ran out empty-handed.

    We stood on the sidewalk and watched as smoke billowed out of the downstairs neighbor’s locked screen door. They did not respond to the doorbell and when the fire department arrived we discovered that they had fallen asleep with food on the stove. There was no fire, just a ruined pot. For weeks, the smell of smoke lingered in our apartment, a frightening reminder to us both. There was no fire escape or hanging ladder on the third floor where I slept; if the fire had been real, Kris’s wake-up call would have saved my life.

    A few days before our trip, Kris and I met for coffee to map out an agenda of solo writing time, craft discussions, goal-setting and readings. We were both a little too excited about the poster-sized post-in notes I brought along for brainstorming. On Friday morning, we sped down the highway toward the ferry terminal at Woods Hole, and I told her about an idea I’d heard on the “Happier in Hollywood” podcast, advice that movie producer Robert Evans had received. “You learn from success, kid – not failure. If you’ve only touched it once, a term paper, a temp job, hitting a homer, dissect it. Was it timing, focus, homework? Get to the core. Find the whys, the hows. That’s the key.”

    As writers, Kris and I had plenty of practice worrying over the steps to failure. But success seemed random and uncontrollable. What would happen if we analyzed the steps we had taken to various successful publications? What would we learn about doing it again?

    We arrived on the Vineyard around lunchtime, drove straight to my favorite diner and ordered avocado salsa, eggs, French Toast, and lots of coffee. At the house, I lit a fire in the wood stove and we made a brief timeline for the rest of the afternoon. After a few hours of solo writing, we took a cold walk on the beach at twilight and then came back to the house to make a simple dinner.

    For the rest of the weekend, we found an easy rhythm of writing balanced with conversations about craft and goals. I worked for several hours to shrink an unwieldy essay and Kris helped me smooth out the final transitions. She was researching an article about mushrooms, so we stomped around the damp woods behind the house, searching out local specimens. We both thought that we could channel the shared humor and writing advice of our MFA of Two into a podcast, so we signed up for an online class to learn the basics and Kris wrote an introductory bio for show’s future website.

    On the morning of our last day, we made a third trip to the diner, just before we had to return to the ferry. The server laughed to find out we were leaving; he thought we were regulars who lived on the island. But we had a life someplace else, and it was time to go back to kindergarten pick-up, lacrosse practice, and our never-ending email inboxes.

    Kris had not exactly rescued me from a burning building this time, but she called my attention to something vital to us both: our writing lives and how we are going to live them to their fullest. After all, how do you know if your creative life is on fire unless someone wakes you up and invites you to look at it once in a while? Her idea for a do-it-yourself writer’s retreat cleared out the smoke of my every day routines and helped me set real goals for the coming months. Those three days of giving “time and power” to our creative lives made us both so happy that we have decided to build on our success, and we just put another retreat on the calendar.


    Jennifer L. Hollis is a writer, music-thanatologist and the author of Music at the End of Life: Easing the Pain and Preparing the PassageHer articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Progressive, the Christian Century and other publications. She is at work on a book about what she has learned (and refuses to learn) from her work in end-of-life care. Jen has a master of divinity from Harvard Divinity School, where she previously served as an assistant director of admissions. She lives in Somerville, MA with her family. 


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  • Something That’s Mine

    By Heather Jones
    heather jones

    “Why do you need a laptop?” asked my husband.

    “Because I write a lot,” I answered. It was true. I do write a lot, and the days of quills and carrier pigeons are over. I do need a device with which to write and email.

    “Yes, but what’s wrong with the tablet and keyboard you’ve been writing with for years?” he pushed.

    It was a valid question. I’ve been using a tablet and wireless keyboard since I began writing professionally. But I told him I wanted the keyboard attached to the monitor. My ever-helpful husband pointed out the many contraptions offered by Best Buy to fulfil this wish. There were full-sized keyboards so I didn’t have to fiddle with the tiny portable one. There were docking-station-things to allow the tablet to sit right inside the keyboard. Voila, problem solved.

    And it’s true, that would solve the problem of the detached tablet. And that combo wouldn’t be much smaller than the Chromebook I had my eye on, which also ran all the same aps as the tablet. And those contraptions were about $30, versus the several hundred I would need for my laptop.

    But the problem was, that wasn’t actually the problem. I didn’t want a laptop because it was better, or because I disliked what I had been using.

    I wanted a laptop because it would be mine. And only mine.

    When I turned on the tablet, it opened to the family account and I would have to switch to my side. When I wasn’t writing, the kids nabbed it for playing games. It worked perfectly, but it wasn’t mine.

    Spending several hundred dollars on something simply so I didn’t have to share it seemed foolish to my husband, and honestly, if he had said the same to me, I would have told him there were better ways to spend the money too. So I didn’t push it. Christmas passed, so did Valentine’s Day, and unable to justify such a big purchase for myself without occasion, I figured the laptop was a pipe dream.

    Then I opened my birthday present. There it was. A little white Chromebook: simple, basic, nothing inherently special. But it was mine, and no one else’s. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I treated this laptop like a new baby, sending proud pictures to friends, and browsing for items with which to spoil it. I immediately ordered a personalized skin to put on it, further establishing it as my own personal possession that no one else is allowed to touch. I dug out our old laptop bag and ordered some enamel pins to reflect my personality. There is no question of who it belongs to, and I get a small thrill whenever I take it out.

    If you think this is weird for an almost 40-year-old, you’re probably right. I fully acknowledge that I am acting like a 16-year-old who just got her first car.

    The thing is, it’s the first thing in a long time that I can truly call mine. The kids have their prized possessions, my husband has his, but nearly all of my stuff is communal. I can’t even buy a box of cereal without it being raided.

    If I find some extra change in my wallet, I inevitably use it on something for my children. It brings me joy to get them something every now and then, and their stuff is way cooler than anything I want. I’m not fancy. I don’t wear make-up, or use a purse, or enjoy manicures. I’m pretty low-key, so it’s easy to get excited over something for them. And it’s hard to justify impulse purchases for myself.

    But one day, I looked around and realized that in a house full of stuff, nothing belonged to me.

    And it gave me a bit of an existential crisis. Not having any belongings made me feel a little bit like I didn’t have an identity. Sharing all of my possessions became a metaphor for giving away all the parts of me, holding back nothing for myself.

    My family may be the biggest part of me, but I can’t give them everything. I need some of me for – me. I needed something to call my own so that I could feel like it was okay to be selfish sometimes. I can say, “No, that’s mine” and mean it. I need some things that are off-limits, within and without myself. I needed something that belonged only to me so that I could remember that I am more than someone’s mom and someone’s wife.

    It’s a lot of pressure to put on a laptop. It might even be a little unfair to ask a little computer to be the keeper and protector of my identity, but so far, it’s managing the task. And as metaphors go, it’s not surprising it was a laptop I chose to be my one true item. It’s what I write with. Writing: the other thing in my life that is mine alone. My words, my thoughts, my emotions, my talent. The way I share myself with others. It’s the tether between me and the world outside. Of course I was drawn to the laptop.

    I’m sure as I wade further into middle-age, I will push harder to stretch my identity. Maybe one day, I will even feel like a whole person. But for now, having this laptop, this one item that is just mine, will do.

    Heather M. Jones lives with her husband and two children in Toronto. When not writing, she can be found cuddling with her cats, binge-watching Netflix, and replaying every decision she has ever made in her life. 

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  • How To Get Published Online

    If you want to get published online, your work isn’t done when you finish the piece.

    how to get published

    (For more on the qualities of good writing that will impress an editor, read this.)

    I’ve read hundreds of submissions — for our anthologies and for our website — and my best advice is to treat the submission process just as seriously as the writing itself.

    Here are my suggestions and strategies to make you and your writing stand out (in a good way) so that you can get published online:

    Spend time reading the publication before you submit.

    Get a sense of the tone and style of the pieces it typically publishes. Read the site’s most popular pieces and see which types of writing get the most engagement, in comments on the site or on social media. Is the tone of the writing serious, conversational, emotional? Who do you think is the target reader for this publication? At the same time, don’t submit a piece that is too similar to something that was very recently published.

    To get our free guide of publications that are good fit for midlife writers, click here.

    Don’t go over or under the word count.

    If the publication’s submission guidelines state that it publishes 1000-1500 word essays, don’t send a 2500-word or 500-word essay.

    Don’t forget a cover letter.

    Do not just send your piece with an email that says: “Here is my submission.” Cover letters do matter. This is where you succinctly describe your piece and tell the editors a little bit (emphasis on “little”) about you and your background as a writer. Make the editor very interested in reading your piece in a short (2-3 sentence) paragraph.

    Choose relevant clips.

    Many publications ask you to send along links of your publishing credits. Choose writing that is most similar to the style and tone of this particular publication. If you don’t have big name publishing credit, it’s perfectly okay to choose a well-written blog post.

    Use the name of an actual person in your greeting.

    I think you demonstrate professionalism by showing that you’ve taken the extra effort to address your cover to the actual human being who will be reading your submission (instead of writing a generic “Dear Editor”. It’s usually pretty easy to find the name(s) of the editors of any publication on a website.

    Don’t send multiple submissions to the same publication.

    Choose your best piece and wait for a response. If you don’t receive a response — often the publication will give an estimate of how long a response might take — it’s more than okay to follow up in a short, polite email.

    Don’t be afraid to name drop.

    If you have a personal or unique connection to the publication, don’t hesitate to mention this in your cover letter. For instance, maybe you met the editor at a conference. Or maybe a regular columnist for the publication suggested that your piece would be a good fit.

    Follow the directions for how to submit your writing.

    Do the editors want your submission in the body of an email? As an attachment? Or to use a submission manager like Submittable?


    Read your writing aloud or have someone else read it to catch any missed words, typos, or grammar issues.

    Come up with a rejection strategy.

    If your piece is rejected, have a backup publication prepared in advance. Every writer — and I mean, literally every single one — gets rejected. It’s as much of being a writer as using words. Keep trying to get your piece published. If it’s a strong piece of writing, it will get published somewhere. But if the piece gets rejected again and again and again, maybe put it aside for a while and look at it again in a week or two with fresh eyes. Ask a writer friend if there’s something you can do to improve the piece and make it more compelling.

    What are your tips for other writers who want to get published online?


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  • Every Writer Needs An Email List: Here’s Why

    Here’s why every writer needs an email list: An email list is the most powerful way for a writer to connect with her audience.

    email list

    You might be skeptical about that.

    You might be thinking: I connect with potential readers all the time. I post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I write blog posts and pitch my work to publications and get published. Or you might think instead: I’m a writer, not a businessperson. I write because I love writing.  I’m not interested in “marketing,” email or otherwise. 

    Here’s the thing though. Even if getting paid for your writing is not something you care about, an email list can be a powerful tool for you. (If you care about getting published, selling any services or books, or finding an agent, then an email list is even more important.)

    Here’s why every writer should have an email list:

    1. Email is not going away. You own your list of subscribers, forever. Social media is a great thing for writers. You can connect with people in a way that was unimaginable just several years ago. The problem is that you don’t own your social media account. You don’t really control it. Algorithms and the popularity of any social media platform change from month to month, year to year. For example, an average Facebook post is only shown to a tiny fraction of our followers.
    2. Email is personal. You can write an email as if you’re writing a letter to a friend, and it is sent directly to their inbox. It’s a direct connection to a person, rather than a message mediated through a social media algorithm. When someone signs up to get email messages from you, they are making a bigger commitment than if they had liked their page. They are showing that they want to hear from you and connect with you more directly.
    3. Emails gets more engagement than social media posts. A greater percentage of readers see an email and read it.
    4. Email is more effective (higher conversion rates) than any other tool in selling books, products, classes, or services. According to Tim Grahl, a top marketing expert for writers, email is 100 times more effective than social media for authors. (He did his own informal experiment and helps hundreds of writers with book launches.)
    5. If you hope to be published or get an agent, a strong, engaged email list can be a powerful asset. And even if you choose to self-publish a book, your email list is vital to marketing your book.

    It all boils to this: You want more of your writing and your message to your audience to be seen. Email is the most effective way to do that.

    How to Get Started With an Email List

    You should not send mass emails from a free service such as Gmail or Hotmail. To comply with anti-SPAM laws, in order to send out marketing emails, you need to: a) get permission before emailing people b) have a clear way for subscribers to unsubscribe. This is where email subscribers (Mailchimp, Mad Mimi, ConvertKit, etc) come in. At the very least, these providers offer ways for people to subscribe and to unsubscribe to your list.

    1. Choose an email service provider.

    There are so many options. It’s overwhelming. Here are the three that I have used and can recommend: Mailerlite, ConvertKit, and Mailchimp. All three of these services will allow you to send bulk emails, design forms for your website, and create newsletters. In a future blog post, I’ll review these three options in more detail and describe the type of writer each of these services is best for. For right now, I would recommend Mailchimp for those just getting started, for those who want a very simple provider, and for those who don’t see their lists as ever getting any larger than 2,000 subscribers (the point at which Mailchimp is no longer free.) I would recommend Mailerlite for you if you think you might someday want more advanced features (tagging, landing pages, and automations). It’s free up to 1,000 subscribers. ConvertKit — what we use — is by far the most comprehensive, user-friendly, and powerful option. It’s also more expensive. 

    2. Figure out who your ideal reader is and what your goals are for building an email list.

    Your ideal reader should not be “everyone who likes good writing.” Figure out who your target audience is (historical fiction lovers, people looking for help with social media, short story fans). And determine your goals for your email list. Do you want to build a base of fans for your next book? Get blog post readers? Increase your website traffic? Impress a future literary agent? These questions will help you connect with your future email readers.

    3. Make a signup form for your website.

    After you’ve designed it, embed the code on any website page that allows you to put in HTML. Place it on your website and invite readers to sign up. Some good places to put your signup forms: your sidebar (using a widget, the footers of blog posts, and at the top of your homepage.

    4. Give your future subscribers a reason to sign up.

    One possibility is to create an opt-in freebie (a chapter of your book, a series of essays, a list of resources, a checklist). It could be almost anything that feels valuable to your intended audience.

    5. Email your subscribers regularly.

    Try to be predictable without drowning your readers in constant emails. Be entertaining, useful, friendly, helpful — whatever you think your audience is looking for.

    6. Experiment.

    It may take a while to figure what works for your audience and what connects with them. Start out small so you — and your audience — don’t get overwhelmed. Try out different “welcome” emails for subscribers when they first join your list. Promote your list on social media platforms.

    Conclusion: Email lists for writers are more useful than social media.

    An email list is not just for businesses or for bloggers who are promoting their stuff. An email list can be a useful tool for any writer who wants to be read, create a community, and connect with readers on a more personal level.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running.

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  • Announcing Our Newest Writing Class–Create, Connect, Reflect!

    We are so thrilled to share our brand new online writing course! And we are doing something different this time– for the first time, we are offering a writing course that parents can take WITH their kids!

    Create, Connect, Reflect (1)

    This class is a great opportunity to connect with your school-aged/tween child in a creative way, and it’s just in time to help your child brush up on some crucial writing skills in a FUN way before school starts. So many of us want to keep our kids’ skills fresh during the summer months to prevent that dreaded “summer slide” and be back-t0-school ready, but let’s be honest: the break from homework is the BEST, and we don’t want to waste our summer weeks having power struggles and doing boring busywork with our kids.

    Enter Create, Connect, Reflect. The purpose of this course is to help refine your child’s writing skills while also giving YOU some space as a writer (professional author, published freelancer, blogger, or brand-new writer with a notebook full of poetry or short stories, or the mother with a daily/weekly journaling practice) to reflect on your writing journey as well as your parenting experience.

    This self-paced course is great opportunity to connect with your child through writing, give yourself a create outlet and reflect on your writing, and provide your child with some fun and useful exercises to keep their writing skills sharp and polished as summer wraps up. The course is designed for kids approximately ages 8-13, but you can absolutely adapt the exercises for kids who are younger or older. My almost-ten-year-old will be participating as my “assistant,” and there will be some great opportunities for our young writers to connect and interact with each other as well!


    The best part? There is NO schedule at all. Sign up today, later this week, next week, or mid-August. The class is completely self-paced, which means you don’t have to “show up” at any specific time. You can write in your pajamas and give your kids their assignments to do while you’re desperately trying to get some work done or just enjoy an uninterrupted dining room coffee date with your best friend. Make the class work for you!

    Here’s what you can expect:

    • Week One: Why Do You Write?
    • Week Two: Getting Ready to Write and Setting Yourself Up For Success
    • Week Three: Getting Writer’s Block, Feeling Discouraged, and Taking Care of Yourself
    • Week Four: Telling Your Story
    • Week Five: Telling Your Family’s Story
    • BONUS CONTENT: Focus On Your Craft and Polish Your Writing

    Each week’s lesson will have exercises for each of the three components of the course: an opportunity for you as a mother/writer to create, an assignment for your child to complete independently, and an exercise to be completed with your child. You can start ANY TIME and take the class at your own pace.

    This class is for you if: 

    • You love to write
    • You want to share your joy of writing with your child *without* power struggles
    • You want your child to keep his/her writing skills sharp before school starts *without* spending a fortune on summer school or writing camps
    • You’re looking for a way to connect with your child creatively
    • You want to make time to reflect on your own writing life
    • You’d like to improve your own writing craft with revision and editing strategies, tips for more dynamic personal essays, writing prompts, readings, reflection, and connection with other writers.

    The tween years can be a tough time for communication and connection, and this class offers some fun, engaging writing prompts for you to do with your child including collaborative storytelling and journaling. Sometimes it’s easier to express ourselves on paper, and you may be surprised at the connection that comes simply through WRITING with your child!

    You can get full details for the course and sign up here. Remember, the course is now open so you can enroll any time and be immediately added to the class! I am so excited to write with you and your child this summer!

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