We are living in unprecedented times.
The news doesn't have to tell us that.
We feel it in our bones.
We want to express how we're feeling, dig deeper into our views and values.
Yet it's hard to find an outlet for this kind of connection and expression.
Since early spring, and the start of the pandemic, we've been leading small writing groups very different than the writing classes we usually teach.
We called these groups Small Steps in Uncertain Times.
We posted writing prompts and exercises as opportunities to write and open up. To try out a new writing strategy. To respond to a reading or a prompt. To explore a memory. To make sense of what you're feeling right then, in this new world.
Something incredible happened. Each group formed its own tight-knit community of women learning and growing with each other.
We hope you can join our next Small Steps group.
Our ten writing exercises will push you to explore your own values as a writer, as a midlife woman, and as a citizen. You'll have an opportunity to reflect on your hopes, fears, and perspective about this moment in our country.
Off of Facebook
In our experience, Facebook as a platform doesn't allow for the deep and meaningful exchange of ideas we want in our writing groups. We have our own private platform, with its own app, for posting questions, readings, and writing.
For each response, you'll get feedback and encouragement from your peers and the instructors. This is a safe, private space for you to take risks, to open up, and to explore new ideas.
"Being accountable to a supportive group of writers got me out of my own way. With regular 'deadlines' and a limited time commitment, I was forced to put my perfectionist tendencies aside and just explore some different things happening in my life in a creative way. Each writer’s take on the same prompt was unique, and reassured me that every writer has something important to say. Even if it never leaves the privacy of this uniquely honest and encouraging group."
Former Small Steps in Uncertain Times student
You want to connect.
But you end up scrolling on social media and feeling angry and empty.
You want to explore how you're feeling and why.
But you can't find a forum for that type of writing.
You want a community of other women who write.
And you're not sure how to find it.
Write with us.
Here's how it works:
- On Mondays and Thursdays, you'll get a new writing prompt.
- You'll post your own writing in the private group (off of Facebook) and then respond to others' writing.
- Commit to 15 minutes a day. We promise it's worth it.
"Small Steps from HerStories is the perfect writing group for a writer like me - someone who craves writing but doesn't always have the time and/or discipline to sit and work. The group participants are warm, welcoming, encouraging and completely free of judgement. The prompts are accessible and inspirational, and Jessica encourages inclusivity and kindness - to each other and especially to ourselves!"
"I absolutely loved being in an actively engaged writing community. Prompts were stimulating. Timing was perfect. Editors were on top of things all the way. What a fantastic way to get back to my writing, a reason to write, an audience for sharing, and a safe space to be honest and vulnerable."
"Imagine, ten random women being thrown into an opportunity to write, splay themselves raw with words and thoughts, and not think twice about doing so. How easily a group of like minded creatives can come together with the right leadership, and a safe place. What a timely and important experience this has been for me."
The HerStories Project
We are a writing and publishing community for women, co-founded by Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger. We have published four successful anthologies, including MY OTHER EX: WOMEN'S TRUE STORIES OF LEAVING AND LOSING FRIENDS. In addition, we publish personal essays from midlife women on our website. Since 2014, we have taught personal essay writing and blogging to hundreds of writers through our online and in-person workshops.