Workshops for aspiring writers who struggle with
depression or other mental illness.
author, editor, speaker
Jessica Kantrowitz is the author of three books, The Long Night: Readings and Stories to Help You through Depression, 365 Days of Peace, and Blessings for the Long Night: Poems and Meditations to Help You through Depression. She writes about her own struggles in a way that creates space for others to feel seen, and safe to tell their own story.
She has a BA from Tufts University and an MDiv from Gordon-Cornwell Seminary, and many years of experience as an editor helping people convey their thoughts clearly and concisely.
Her writing has appeared in Sojourners Magazine, The Good Men Project, and the Madeleine L’Engle blog, and she has worked as a storyteller for Together Rising. She has also worked as a campus minister, youth minister, ESL teacher, and small-group facilitator.
You can read more at jessicakantrowitz.com.
The Finding Your Voice Writing Workshops
are for aspiring writers who struggle with depression or other mental illness. You will receive affirmation and encouragement, as well as an overview of different genres of writing.
FYV 101 explores how poetry and fiction offer techniques and skills that carry over into our nonfiction writing. FYV 102 (coming soon!) explores the crafts of essay writing and creative nonfiction.
Through four writing assignments you will have the opportunity to try out different ways of writing, to receive feedback on your work from me and the other participants, and to offer feedback to others.
By the end of each workshop, you will have pieces of writing to build on, and a community of other writers to support and encourage you in your work.
FYV 102 (coming soon!)
Finding the Value of your voice
Finding your voice through poetry
Finding your voice through fiction
Finding your voice your way
To begin, we will discuss the particular challenges of writing with mental illness and chronic illness in general, and why your story is important.
I will give an overview of the course and the genres we will be working in, and give you your first writing assignment, as well as instructions for sharing your work and giving and receiving feedback.
This week we will explore the power of poetry, as well as the fears and hesitations we often have about writing it. I will read some of my favorite poetry, giving you lots of different styles and options, and with much encouragement and reassurance give you your second writing assignment.
This week we will explore the power of fiction as a way to tell a story through metaphor, myth, and allegory. I will read a few short stories and assign others, and give you your third writing assignment.
This week we will have a short review of the genres we have covered, and I will give you some more tools and resources to move forward in your writing and pursuing publishing, including tips on building a platform, writing pitches, using social media well, and creating community with other writers. I will give you your last writing assignment.
Weekly schedule: Each week you will receive the lecture and assignment on a Friday. You will post your assignment by Monday night / Tuesday morning, and then offer and receive guided feedback Tuesday through Friday. You will be asked to give feedback on at least three of your teammate's pieces, and will receive feedback from at least three people.
"The Long Night will bring hope to the hurting and comfort to the weary. It's a book I'll keep by my bedside forever."
~Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Untamed and Love Warrior; founder of Together Rising
"Please read this book. It will help you heal wounds and remind you that you aren't alone. Jessica Kantrowitz has given us a very precious gift--may we accept the invitation to receive it."
~Kaitlin Curtice, Author of Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places and Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
"Highly recommended for readers seeking spiritual, mindful approaches to depression, with clear, simple coping strategies."
"To me, the only thing more ridiculous than tragedy is when someone offers a suffering soul a book to pacify their pain. But now I will be that someone. Because Kantrowitz isn't offering a book here. She is offering herself."
~Matt Bays, Author of Finding God in the Ruins and Leather and Lace
"Jessica is a poet who writes little benedictions for the end of the day and now they are published, so you can buy them for a whole year! I'm someone who doesn't currently like prayer and never liked platitudes, and who most of the time is just really f**king enraged at the unfairness in the world - and yet I like these. Jessica doesn't piss about. Nor does she wallow. Recommended, particularly if you're perpetually pissed off and would like to burn things down. They remind me what hope is like."
~Alex Booer, Co-Author of Ineffable Love: Exploring Christian Themes in Good Omens
"No part of life - no experience, no pang, no sensation, no rhythm - escapes Jessica's gaze. Through her lens, the hard and the heavy narratives of life soften and bend. Her words are sutures, gently pulling my frayed and throbbing edges together at the end of day; the benedictions my child-soul ever asked for and never received. Let her gently stitch you up too."
~River Paasch, Author of Millenneagram: The Enneagram Guide for Discovering Your Truest, Baddest Self
"In a world that's just this side of madness most days, this book serves as a respite. 365 Days of Peace: Benedictions to End Your Day in Gentleness and Hope is such a gift, as is its author. Jessica's voice is a balm. Unerringly kind and unflinchingly honest, her nightly musings on Twitter became such a source of comfort for so many of us. Give yourself the gift of this soft place to fall at the end of the day."
~Laura Parrott Perry, Co-founder of Say it Survivor and author of She Wrote it Down: How a Secret-Keeper Became a Storyteller and Homeward