Writing Classes & Conferences

This is an entirely subjective selection of classes taught either by me or by writers and teachers I respect. I also include writing conferences that I am participating in, or that I think are well worth your time and money. All are listed (more or less) in chronological order, unless one item is especially newsy.

Writing As Refuge

A retreat for writers interested in social and ecological change

With Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale

March 7 – 8, 2015

The Mesa Refuge, Point Reyes Station, California


Are you writing about social justice? Racial inequality? Environmental change? Or, do you want to deepen a personal story by tying it to a larger societal issue? In a setting of unparalleled beauty and calm, this unusual writers workshop offers a small group of writers a literal and psychic “refuge” where you can pause, consider your work from a new perspective, and enjoy the fellowship of other committed writers.

Authors Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale will coach you on how to approach difficult topics with verve and humanity. Readings from a variety of genres will inspire you to explore a more intentional literary style. Guided writing exercises will spark fresh ideas. You will have the opportunity to share your writing and be critiqued by the group in a supportive, thoughtful manner.

For more details, as well as information on how to register, please see the Writing As Refuge page.

Tri-Valley Writers Conference

April 18, 2015

Pleasanton, CA

The Tri-Valley Writers Conference is a one-day event that features three tracks of speakers and events on the craft and business of writing. In an afternoon workshop, Constance Hale will lead you through a series of readings, exercises, puzzles, and games that will let you stretch new muscles, kick bad habits, and duke it out in a war of words. She’ll also talk about how to cultivate that most elusive of literary elements: the writer’s voice.

For details and registration, visit the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch web site.

Fundamentals of Freelancing

UC Berkeley Extension

April 25 ~ 9 am to 5 pm

San Francisco, California

Are you interested in learning about a freelance writing and editing career? Constance Hale leads this one-day seminar to help you examine the changing media landscape and develop strategies to survive and thrive. Deepen your understanding of what magazines, newspapers, books and websites look for, and discuss how social media and blogging fit in. You will also consider how to support dream projects with good work that pays the bills—whether it’s tech writing, teaching, ghostwriting or corporate editing. Guests share their unvarnished experiences, and innovative course materials help you define your goals, sharpen your skills and develop a personal strategy. The presentations are rich in wisdom, the exercises rigorous but fun. $150. Go here for information and registration.

Mokule‘ia Writers Retreat:

Nā Wahi Ho‘oulu

(Places That Inspire Us)

May 3 – 8, 2015

On Oahu’s North Shore

After its first successful writers retreat in April 2013, Camp Mokule‘ia will host another gathering of artists interested in exploring the notion of place in their work. Directed by Constance Hale, the 2015 will include top writers and editors from the islands and the mainland, as well as Hawaiian musicians and cultural icons. Writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoir to are invited to spend five amazing days and nights on O‘ahu’s North Shore.

With the mountains at our back and the open ocean at our front, we will learn from the masters, write in the shade of ironwoods, wander along the beach, salute the sun in morning yoga, and come to understand the essence of Hawaii through evening programs led by island composers, dancers, and musicians. The program includes daily workshops, private writing time, and one-on-one meetings with faculty. Optional activities—available to family and companions staying at the camp—include yoga, snorkeling, beachcombing, and even skydiving. Other highlights include hike to sacred spots in this remote part of the islands .

Information, updates, and registration will be posted here.