Birth Your Truest Story by Nurturing Your Most Tender Voice
A monthly creative workshop and support group
led by Jennifer Browdy and Audrey Kalman
Writing a book has been compared to giving birth. With both writing and birthing, you are bringing something new and beautiful into the world, and to do this well requires a tremendous amount of creative energy, along with self-awareness about the fears that might hold you back, and the need for helpers and allies in the quest for success.
This monthly workshop explores the resonances between birthing and writing. Pregnant families have long recognized the value of “pregnancy circles” to create a safe space for the shared experience of bringing something new into the world.
In our monthly sessions, we’ll introduce the tools you need to “birth” your next creative work and to sustain yourself for future projects. We will explore how you can develop a powerful internal ally to walk with you on your writing journey. You’ll discover the tender truths seeking to come through you, and consider whether memoir or fiction is a more suitable genre for your story. We’ll look at how community can be a source of nourishment for even the most solitary writer, and how we can support each other and ourselves in finding the courage to step into the unknown.
The intent of this workshop, offered by memoirist and writing teacher Jennifer Browdy and writer and birth doula Audrey Kalman, is to serve as a non-judgmental space where you will feel safe to discover your most tender voice, so that your truest stories can take root and blossom.
In this small and supportive group environment, you will:
- Discover how to apply concepts from the birthing world—such as surrender, facing fears, and working with a doula (coach)—to your writing practice
- Learn how to move beyond the fears that impede your writing journey
- Produce new work during generative writing sessions
- Receive monthly feedback during class from the group and from two seasoned writing teachers
- Find community in a small, supportive group of fellow writers
- Find accountability to the group—and to yourself
Discover how to apply concepts from the birthing world—such as surrender, facing fears, and working with a doula (coach)—to your writing practiceTweet
When you finish the workshop, you will come away with:
- Deeper knowledge of yourself and your writing process
- A reliable toolkit for tackling fear and uncertainty
- Several thousand words of draft material
- Confidence in your ability to serve as your own writing ally
- A writing community to cheer you on
Session dates and topics
All sessions meet on Sundays from 1 – 3 pm EDT, (10 a.m. – noon PDT) live online via Zoom.
FIRST TRIMESTER – Gestating
Jennifer and I discuss this segment of the workshop in this short video.
September 13: Conception – What is the story asking to be born? What’s your story’s form: fiction, nonfiction? Length? Genre?
October 11: Focus on characters, including narrator, point of view, voice; relationship of plot and characters.
November 8: Nourishing the work – Gathering allies, developing support systems; exploring tools for generative writing, setting up your writing practice, using freewriting as a way in.
SECOND TRIMESTER – Developing the Story
Jennifer and I discuss what to expect in the second trimester.
Bring in 1,000 to 1,200 (4-5 pages) words to workshop during each session.
December 6: Focus on character
January 17: Focus on narrative arc
February 21: Focus on writing style
THIRD TRIMESTER – Laboring and Delivering
Here’s a short video where we talk about the final trimester.
March 21: Audience and purpose – Envisioning a connection to your audience, leaning in to the urgency of your message, surrendering to the process of creation.
April 18: Revision – Living with discomfort, trusting your most tender voice, integrating feedback.
May 23: Keeping the momentum going – Next steps for your draft.
Class recordings will be available for anyone who has to miss a class.
Fee, Registration, and Payment
Cost: $149/month includes the monthly 2-hour workshop sessions, along with twice-monthly office hours led by either Audrey or Jennifer, where you can drop in for guidance, conversation and camaraderie as you go through the process of birthing your truest story.
Space is limited
REGISTER NOW to reserve a spot!
Q: Is this class only for women or mothers?
A: Not at all. We are using birth as a metaphor. You need not have direct experience with giving birth to benefit from this class.
Q: Do I have to attend every session?
A: We hope you’ll be able to attend our live sessions to participate in the community, especially during the “second trimester,” when we’ll be sharing our work and giving feedback. However, if you need to miss a class, you will have access to a recording so you can catch up.
Q: What if I’m not a writer but I would like to be?
A: This class is intended for anyone with a story inside (which we believe is everyone!) that wants to be told. There are no prerequisites. And we will cultivate a welcoming atmosphere of non-judgment that will help everyone feel safe bringing their most vulnerable selves and stories to the class.
More questions? Contact me.
This class is intended for anyone with a story inside (which we believe is everyone!) that wants to be told. There are no prerequisites. And we will cultivate a welcoming atmosphere of non-judgment that will help everyone feel safe bringing their most vulnerable selves and stories to the class.Tweet
About the Workshop Leaders
Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D., has taught literature, writing and media arts at the college level for more than 30 years. Her memoir was a finalist for the 2018 International Book Awards; her writer’s guide, The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir, won a 2017 Nautilus Silver Award. She provides coaching and manuscript review for authors in fiction and nonfiction, and offers memoir workshops nationally and internationally. Find out more at JenniferBrowdy.com.
Audrey Kalman writes fiction with a dark edge about what goes awry when human connection is missing from our lives. Her most recent book, the collection Tiny Shoes Dancing and Other Stories, was shortlisted for the 2019 Rubery Book Award. She is the author of two novels, and more than a dozen online and print journals have published her fiction and poetry. In early 2020, she was selected as one of 21 literary residents at the newly formed Shuffle Collective. A member of the San Francisco Peninsula Branch of the California Writers Club since 2011, she currently serves as branch president. She offers editing services for both fiction and non-fiction, as well as coaching. Find out more at audreykalman.com.