Spiritual writing is not necessarily religious writing, but it can be as evidenced by some of the best spiritual writers: Henri J.M. Nouwen, Kathleen Norris, Donagh O’Shea, and a long list of others. Spiritual writing can also be fictionalized as is exhibited by Paul Coelho, Jane Roberts, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many others. Writing about a painful episode that leads to healing is spiritual writing; to write grief from the heart can also be healing.
So can writing joy.
Spiritual writing is, in brief, finding the voice that speaks from within and connects us to our true self. Writing as a spiritual practice means “using the first and most primary human art form – language – to explore deep questions and express important experience or imagining,” as Pat Schneider so lyrically expressed. Each week, participants will write a short essay around one topic and end by submitting a longer piece for content editing.
I hope you can join me.
Janet incorporates more than twenty years of writing, questing, liturgical practice, and spiritual mentoring in a practical and clear manner to help students find their gateway to spirit through writing.
Four weeks on Monday evenings, October 16 to November 6, 2017, 6:30 pm Central Time. See below link to register.
Comments from Past Participants:
As an instructor, you were engaging and direct, providing structured guidance and feedback while also encouraging my unique writing to emerge.
Most inspiring for me was how you emphasized the power of our personal stories: valuing, articulating, and writing our truths to share with others.
Week One: We’ll discuss some thoughts on spiritual writing and how the search manifests in learning ourselves at a deeper level. We’ll look at how physical experiences, our culture or self-identification may shape our approach. I’ll suggest some spiritual writers who might guide your path to discovery. I’ll explain how free writing can allow you to access an interior voice you may or may not recognize, and I’ll offer some prompts that may help you begin.
Participants will write a short, 50 to 150 word piece which may give you an inkling of the topic of your final piece. All writing shared with the class is voluntary, but remember, we’re on a journey of discovery together, and feedback always helps. Especially kind and understanding feedback.
Week Two: How Faith Defines the I: Often we shy away from talking about religion because it could lead to disagreements. How can we talk about faith, whether religious faith, or an inner knowing through dreams, without alienating our reader? How do we speak in a voice that compels without demanding conversion? How do we examine without preaching? We’ll consider how form, voice, or narrative can frame issues in creative ways.
In preparation for the longer Week Four assignment, participants will write a short piece of 100 to 200 words.
Week Three: People, Places, and Things: Who are the supporting players in your spiritual quest? How do you define them? How did they help or hinder? What are the details of place in your narrative? How did place contribute to your journey? How do spiritual icons, altars, candles, books, incense, dreams, voices, contribute to a spiritual atmosphere?
Participants will write a 200 to 250 word piece describing the items, people, places which contributed, as support or challenge, to your journey and share it with the class. Remember to add the details of the senses, touch, see, smell, hear, taste, in order to give depth for your reader.
Week Four: Building the Structure: What’s the beginning, middle, and end of your essay? Where are the conflicts? Is there a major conflict that has to be resolved? How do you define your wandering journey so that the reader wanders with you, sees what you see, smells what you smell, hears what you hear, feels what you feel as you walked your path? We’ll talk about the difference between editing and revisions and how to find the courage to delete those parts that do not add measurably to the whole.
You may have a full-length memoir in mind, but for the final essay, participants will submit an essay of 1,500 to 2,000 words to me via email for content editing which I will return, suggesting ideas or changes.
I’ll also offer links to journals which publish spiritual memoir if you wish to publish.
Live, online class, utilizing Zoon, a free, easy, and accessible platform. Each week, you’ll receive reminders to sign in and participate. Zoon also provides drop down menu to ask questions.
Four Weeks: October 16 to November 6, 2017; Monday evenings,
6:30 P.M. Central Time