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WOW! Women On Writing Workshops & Classes

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Featured Online Journaling Workshop

Sheila Bender


START DATE: This class is currently closed.


DURATION:  6 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Journaling is a valuable tool for writers as it keeps us writing even when we are unsure what it is we have to write about. But how to sustain our interest in journaling and best use the journaling time to mine our experiences, old and new, for discovery and insight? By borrowing strategies from published writing and playing with them as prompts for new writing!

Each week students will receive a sample strategy and seven journaling ideas inspired from the sample of which they may choose three to write from and submit to the class during the week. Freewrite responses are encouraged. The instructor will respond with detailed ideas about where each journal-entry type freewrite might be leading should the writer wish to continue shaping them.


To help writers
  • train themselves to find time to write and keep writing.
  • learn just how lucrative their journal entries can be for shaping future writing.
  • borrow strategies for writing that foster originality.
  • find insight and discovery in their writing.

I have taken several online courses with relatively famous women writers, and you have been the most giving and involved with genuine feedback and follow-through. I thank you for that. I have learned from reading your remarks to others and the assignments have been thought-provoking and challenging—just the right mix for an aspiring writer. ~ Lori Talarico

Sheila, I will take every possible class you teach that I can get to. Your insight, knowledge, and incredible warmth and encouragement made our class the highlight of all those I’ve ever taken. Can’t thank you enough. ~ Shirley Clukey

. . . this has been a very productive class for me. I’ve learned a lot and feel like I have grown a lot in the process. ~ Margaret Riordon

First, I just want to say thank you for this course. I began focusing my time on writing last fall, but found that I needed some guidance. I was looking for a new perspective, a container that would help to create a form for what I was trying to capture. You have introduced some new authors that will help me to move in new directions. ~ Debra Gilbreath

This has been the most wonderful and challenging workshop I’ve ever taken. You introduced me to authors, techniques and mind-blowing assignments. Before this workshop, I would have never thought of writing a memoir in an essay format. You taught me a very powerful lesson of how writing to myself through a historical figure (very mysterious) can heal the spirit within, softly approaching life’s most heart wrenching problems on paper. I can’t wait to sign up for another one of your thought provoking workshops online. ~ Cheryl Kesling

What I am particularly struck by with Sheila is that she presents a great comforting wisdom from her background and experience; yet she also has an enthusiasm for the craft of writing that feels like she just got started yesterday. The enthusiasm is contagious and really inspired me to open up and let my inner critic take a break... it is a great skill and talent to mix nurturing support with honest critical comments. I feel Sheila possesses that type of talent and finesse. ~ Wendy A. Johnson


Week One:  Hire Your Inner Journal Keeper—Writing Exercises to Build Commitment
As writers seeking “discipline,” we can use forms we are familiar with to encourage ourselves. In line with this thought, the exercises this week will be about employing ourselves to write.

Assignment: Participants will create a written job description for their inner journal keeper and an account of their interview with the winning candidate.

Week Two: Writing Exercises to Diffuse the Power of Critical Voices
One thing that keeps us from writing and developing our writing is the power critical voices have over us, voices from the past and the preset. The exercises for this week are aimed at helping our writer selves become free of the judging voices that bring writing to a halt.

Assignment: Participants will write from prompts with these titles: “Words ‘They’ Taught Me,” “Using Interruptions for Inspiration,” and “Imitating the Columnists.”

Week Three: There Ought to be a Word for This
Sometimes we don’t think we know enough to write about what is interesting. This week’s exercises are invented to help the writer prove that isn’t true.

Assignment: Participants will write from prompts on the theme, “Write as Experts Write,” developing persona writing based on personal experience to explore new perceptions.

Week Four: Private Moments
Another thing that keeps us from writing is the discomfort of revealing secrets and idiosyncratic thoughts. This week’s exercises are playful ones that help ease that discomfort..

Assignment: Participants will write about their hopes and goals by “pretending” to be their opposite using this prompt: “Write Your Perfect Opposite in Three Writing Exercises.”

Week Five: The Objects in One’s Life
Coming at the truth slant we find more to say than we ever realized possible. This week’s exercises based on objects in our lives helps in the process of finding and communicating what they hadn’t known how to say.

Assignment: Participants will use writing exercises that help them focus on objects in their past and their present as a way to find fresh topics and ways to come at truths slant.

Week Six: Self Reflection
What we write when we are freewriting and journaling becomes a gold mine for future writing.

Assignment: Participants will use a special exercise to review their five weeks of writing and make new discoveries about what their content wants to become in longer range writing projects.

Materials Needed:   The materials needed are a Gmail address for gaining membership to our private Google Group and, of course, a computer or access to one to post writing and responses to your classmate’s writing.

The instructor will post each of the 6 weeks’ lessons with exercises and models at the opening of each week so students can work on generating that writing on their own time, at their own speed during the week. She will respond to posted work within 24 - 48 hours so the writer can get started on revising. Revisions can be posted at any time during our six weeks together.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:  Sheila Bender, founder of, is the author of many books on writing, including the popular Writing Personal Essays: Shaping and Sharing Your Life Experience and Creative Writing DeMystified. Her memoir is entitled A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief. Her book of poems is Behind Us the Way Grows Wider. She has been updating previously published books. Two of them are now available in print and digitally on Amazon and through bookstores: Writing in a Convertible with the Top Down, co-authored with Christi Killien Glover, and Sorrow’s Words: Writing Exercises to Heal Grief. As a writer, teacher and editor, she believes that writing so others understand our hearts and minds helps us understand ourselves, heal grief and sadness and grow. She is a frequent presenter at conferences and writers’ centers such as Centrum Foundation’s summer Port Townsend Writer’s Conference, the Whidbey Island’s writer’s conference workshops, the Writer’s Workshoppe in Port Townsend, WA, and Writing It Real’s annual conferences, also in the Northwest.

COST:  $180, which includes weekly assignments and positive feedback on your writing. The class will use a Google Groups format for class discussion, to which the instructor will provide access and help learning the ropes.

BUY NOW:  Days in a Life: Journaling for Self Discovery, by Sheila Bender (6 weeks, starting 2/21/2018) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

For Class Session Starting 2/21/2018


Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor.

Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:

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