Wild Writers Seminars

Experience with hundreds of developing and mature writers — and my own practice — have convinced me that writing must be grounded in a discipline of receptiveness that connects to every part of one’s life: physical, spiritual, social, environmental. Wildness pours into your writing when the way is opened!

Thus with writing (as with any kind of creativity) a large part of the process is just getting out of your own way. Yet another large part is discipline and mastery of craft. That’s the paradox of control and wild abandon that makes writing so difficult and so exhilarating.

The Wild Writers Seminar meets once or twice a year in a private setting to encourage writers on this paradoxical path. People with active writing projects or those looking to get going, beginners and old hands, all find these gatherings a vital way to gain insight and encouragement.

Where and When

Once or twice a year (depending on my writing schedule) the Wild Writers Seminar meets for a 12-week session: 10 meetings with two extra weeks built in for longer spans of writing and reflection. I’ve found it’s good to syncopate the rhythm a bit. We meet once a week for three to four hours in a large, beautiful home set in a spacious urban garden. The atmosphere is private and personal, yet professional. We will have fun and work very hard.

What We Do

Groups are limited to from 6 to 12 participants. Our goals are to inspire, support, and challenge each other. I assume that every one of us (myself included) has something particular to learn during this time. It’s our job to discover what that something is. Here’s how:

We will, of course, be reading our work to each other, offering commentary, learning what works through the crucial vehicle of trying it out on an audience. I believe in an honest but constructive process: No ganging up. No group-think. No prima donnas.

I’ll also bring something from nature to think about: something for the senses, something for the mind. Microbiology, ecology, a recent hike – the material varies. It often suggests a process for us to consider: some way natural wildness expresses itself. Descent with modification. Layering. Forgetting. Ramifying. Self-reflecting. These are ways nature itself can show us a dimension of creative process. As a former back-country guide and climbing instructor, and a life-long lover of the wide world, I’ll find ways to connect us to the life outside our meeting room.

Writing arises from reading. So I also contribute brief, suggestive selections each week, a miscellany to trigger and puzzle and delight. I may start with something from Walt Whitman, and range from there all over the known universe of writers. (In time, you may find yourself bringing in your own to share…
Salmon Creek Trail

In addition, each week I offer a practice or discipline that students may try out during the week to come. These are designed to create possibilities of openness in body and spirit: The Judgment Fast. The Media Fast. The Palimpsest. Think of them as creative etudes — spiritual studies, explorations of craft, and play (all at once!). The key words are: “Try this.” Whatever happens is bound to be interesting — and may nudge or jolt us out of our habits, into newer and rawer (perhaps wilder) perceptions, words, sentences.

In every case, of course, the student chooses what to try or not try. My role is coach, fellow-writer, co-explorer. We find things together.

The natural world provides stunning models of creative process. The Wild Writers approach is to tap into that native creativity — a process that applies to any kind of project, from “nature writing” to romance novels; fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

To Sign Up or Inquire about Current Schedule:

Contact me for information on participation cost (sliding scale from $200-295) for the 12-week seminar. Private time working with longer manuscripts can be arranged.