The Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops are designed to reach underserved populations for whom the opportunity to develop their capacity for self-expression through the written word will have a powerful impact.
Since 2008, our writing workshops have given veterans, disabled veterans, active duty military, and caregivers of permanently wounded soldiers, an opportunity to explore storytelling in all its forms with guidance and support from professional novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, and television writers. A “brief history” of our work with Wounded Warrior Project is here.
Recently, we have expanded our workshops to include exonerees from the Witness to Innocence Project, members of United We Dream, inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Center and people living with disabilities at The Profile Theater. We’ve also opened these workshops to military medical personnel and survivors of Superstorm Sandy.
These workshops have proven to be a valuable tool for those who participate, giving them space for honest and cathartic expression and an exciting collaborative journey between the participants and mentors.
We asked playwright and board member Rick Dresser what a workshop participant might expect. Here’s his answer:
Life and success is about showing up. So when you make a commitment to the WGI writing workshops, you have already taken the most important step in becoming a writer; you’ve shown up to do the work.
Your weekend will begin with meeting the other participants and the professional writers who will be your mentors.
Following brief introductions, you will be placed in a small group of participants (usually between 3 and 6) along with two mentors. Over the course of the weekend, the mentors will guide you through a series of writing exercises which lead to whatever writing project you wish to pursue: memoirs, stories, novels, television and movie scripts, poetry, and graphic novels.
Each group takes on a life of its own as participants write, then read their work and the group responds. It is a supportive hands-on approach that inspires risk taking, as there is truly no way to fail. You will find that writing can offer a fresh perspective on whatever you are dealing with in your life. We will map out strategies to help you continue writing when the weekend is over.
No previous experience is required, just a desire to spend a few days in a safe, friendly environment where you will be encouraged to challenge yourself and go as far as you can go.
The goal is simple: to work hard, have fun, and help you find your voice as a writer.