A Scary Leap: Writing Group with Bestselling Author Laura Davis


Laura Davis

This Thursday I’m taking an emotional and financial risk, but it feels right & I’m excited!

(And scared.)

After winning a scholarship for the Catamaran Writing Conference, I participated in a creative nonfiction workshop in August. The twelve-hour-long class was taught by Frances Lefkowitz, author of the acclaimed memoir To Have Not. As helpful as the class was, it wasn’t enough!

I wanted more…I craved more of the teacher’s wisdom, I wanted more feedback from her and from my classmates.

I learned that listening to others’ feedback they received from our teacher and the class was valuable unto itself.

So to sum up, I wanted the ongoing guidance and the encouragement of a master teacher, and feedback from a group of likeminded writers, but I didn’t think it could happen in my hometown.

Then I got a sign from the Universe!


The sign occurred at Coffee 9, one of my favorite places. Coffee 9 is where I’ve imbibed countless extra-chocolate, triple shot mochas and gotten to know some colorful locals like “Writing Matt”. 

A few weeks ago while stumbling, uncaffeinated, into Coffee 9 I spotted local bestselling author Laura Davis’ writing class flyer on their bulletin board.

Almost a decade ago, I bought Laura’s bestselling book Becoming the Parent You Want to Be (co-authored with Janis Keyser) back when my little girls couldn’t talk back to me. Ah, those were the days.

Little did I know I’d be speaking with this famous author years later after I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder  – and it wasn’t a meet n’ greet at one of her packed book signings  but about singing up for her writing course.


During the two decades I’ve lived in this area, I’ve noticed Laura’s flyers posted at different coffee shops. (As you probably know by now, I love supporting local business if caffeine and chocolate are involved!) Sometimes I looked at her flyer wistfully, but deep down I never thought a writing class was for me for various reasons.


Bipolar depression.

I didn’t think I was “worth” the money necessary to join such an extravagant-sounding class, even though my freelance articles had been published regionally and nationally, and I had landed my first book deal.

In any case, I believed that I needed to tough it out by writing alone.

I resigned myself to continue feeling mediocre about my writing, and that constantly bugged me.


Although I suspected I had the potential to be a better writer, I didn’t think I was worth the investment. Now that I have a deadline for my second book deal (and I don’t want it to go south like the first one did), I think I’m worth the investment.

After speaking with Laura, I liked what she said and how she said it. (As the daughter of a speech pathologist, voices are especially significant to me.) I was also impressed and moved with what Laura had to say on the YouTube clip I include here. I also listened to Laura’s free, one-hour-long writing teleseminar (you can sign up for it on her website) and I found it helpful and inspiring.

Laura Davis’ Statement #1


My first class is tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how it goes!!  As Laura asks all attendees to respect the confidentiality of group members & their writing, I’ll only write about my own experience…I’d never want to break that rule!

Have a great weekend & I’ll see you next Thursday.

XoXO Dyane

p.s. some tidbits

Dyane’s Class Description: Feedback Class on Writing Projects of Your Choice

(It’s not too late to join me!)

These ongoing classes, designed for students who are already deeply grounded in writing practice, gives writers a chance to make progress on a focused project of their choice. Each week, the writers in Laura’s feedback classes sign up to get the suggestions and support from the group, whose role is to respond to the writing with editing and encouragement, to hold “each other’s feet to the fire,” and to help everyone in the group reach their personal writing goals. Some group members are working on articles, others on memoirs, novels, short stories, or non-fiction books.

Ira Progroff calls writing, “this solitary work we cannot do alone.” These classes provide the support necessary to persevere in creative work.

Students wanting to move into one of these classes must have a personal consultation with Laura to discuss their writing goals. Prior writing practice experience required. Admission to these classes occurs whenever there is an opening; admissions are on a rolling basis. Contact Laura to ask about openings and to agree on a start date.  



If you can’t join me here in Santa Cruz for Laura’s class, she has a free, weekly writing prompt you can sign up for – please visit:



Follow Laura Davis on Twitter: @laurasaridavis

Other groundbreaking Laura Davis books include:


Dyane’s  book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder  with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma of Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press next year.

23 thoughts on “A Scary Leap: Writing Group with Bestselling Author Laura Davis

  1. You are so worth the investment! You are worth every investment. I am so excited for you! This is wonderful and I want all the details. YAY DY!


    • Thanks so much – if you lived here, I’d bring you with me, Geneviève, to participate! :))) I’m a scaredy cat….I wish I could buy a cup of courage along with my coffee @ Coffee 9 , but thanks for your lovely encouragement as always…..hope you and your beautiful family are well!

  2. Perfect, not just because Laura teaches a project-focused class for experienced writers (which you are), but because she has experience with psychological subject matter & has compassion for others. Perfecto!

    • You hit the nail on the head, Kitt, about why Laura Davis will be a great fit. I really couldn’t ask for a more wonderful teacher, and it’s extra-nice that she loves this area as much as I do.

      I must admit I had a crazy nightmare last night about the class. Well, let me back up – at 3AM poor Rilla rolled off her lower bunk bed and SLAMMED onto the floor. The poor thing – that has never happened before. I wish Lucy had been snoozing beneath that spot (she sometimes does) to break Rilla’s fall, but as Avonlea wisely pointed out this morning, Lucy could have easily bit Rilla with the sudden commotion and being pounced upon. Anyway, Rilla is okay, thank God. I “slept” with her in her tiny bed and kept her from rolling off, and I gave her comfort, which is what she wanted more than anything.

      I proceeded to have my writing group nightmare – “disturbingmare” is a better word for there were no ghouls or zombies. The group was at a beautiful, enormous mansion up in the hills, and at least 25 or 30 people were there. Way too many – I know our group will be much less than that.

      Marilla came with me (!!!) although she did behave well. But I was totally distracted by everything and I didn’t even see our teacher there, ha ha ha. It was one of those really weird, looping, disturbing dreams. I was glad to wake up from that one.

      Thanks for your sweet comment and I’m thinking of you with all my heart! Xo

      • Poor sweetie! Glad she wasn’t hurt. No doubt you are experiencing a bit of anxiety about the class and working through it at night through your dreams. You belong at that mansion with those people, even though we know the setting will not be nearly so elegant and the class will be small and intimate.

  3. Ahhh yeahhh. I feel like one of those proud moms where their kids are achieving and getting all they deserve after hard work. Even this, a great opportunity, means a lot to you. So I, my friend, are super glad for you. Revel in it hunny. It’s all coming together really quickly I know, but lap it all up. Grab onto everything you can learn. Immerse yourself into this- it is due to you.



    • The rough draft is begging for someone named Blahpolar to edit it, or preferably scrap the whole freakin’ thing and ghostwrite it.

      :0 Boo!

      (S. or Lucy could probably do almost as fine a job as Blahpolar could.) 😉 Will keep you posted. Thanks for asking , my friend. At least I haven’t gotten so dejected that I called the local $cientology hotline on Craigslist. (actual copy from one of their many ads reads:

      “Do you have too much stress? Do you have something in life that is stressing you or worrying you? Do you find it hard to concentrate or achieve your goals? Are you concerned about where your relationship is going?

      Call us up for some help. We are a non-profit organization, and we care. We don’t use medications in our approaches, so if you don’t believe in taking pills to for emotional issues, you’ll love us.

      Do you want to talk someone about your situation in a free one-on-one consultation? We’ll help you regain the happiness and peace of mind you once had.”

      Uh, ya think? I think not, suckers!

      As long as I keep away from those gouls,there’s hope.

      • Reading your words helped me – yes, I’ll keep the schnozz to the old grindstone – just knowing you’re out there & have been on my side (Gawd, it feels like more than a year to me!) has been truly awesome.

      • You’re absolutely correct about this – it’s the golden rule! I need to get all the warts down on the Word doc and save editing for later….

      • I will – I made the big mistake of downloading a free version of Grammarly and it made me want to scream & throw the laptop at the wall even though it wasn’t the poor laptop’s fault – it was evil Grammarly’s creator’s fault- I uninstalled it, and felt heaps better.

    • Thanks for your wonderful support – you always come through for me when it matters the most, and it’s a blessing, it really is! :))))

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