• You must register in advance (pay in full) online. We need to know: 1) if we have enough people (at least 6) to hold the class, and 2) that we have not gone over our maximum enrollment number of 14.
  • Each class description has an “Add to Cart” button. Add your class to the cart, and follow the checkout instructions. We accept Visa, MasterCard and PayPal. Our site is secure.
  • Shortly after you register, you will receive two automated emails: a course confirmation and a receipt.
  • Registration for a class continues until the class is full or, if not full, until just prior to the second class.
  • If a class is full, you will see SOLD OUT at the top of the class description.
  • If a class is full, you can ask to be put on a waiting list. Send your request to Include your phone number.


Can I pay in installments?

No. But please check out PayPal’s “Bill Me Later” option. It’s a good deal!

Can I sit in on the first class before deciding if I want to take it?

Nope, sorry but not workable. However you are welcome to call or email if you have questions that aren’t answered in the course description. Jane (the owner) will answer them, or she will put you in direct touch with the teacher.

Do you pro-rate the cost if we are unable to attend every class? 

Sorry, but no again.  Our teachers are happy, however, to give you any handouts or assignments from the class you missed.

Do you offer a sliding scale payment option? Or any scholarships or financial aid?

We’d love to, but this is a small, “labor of love” business that survives on a shoestring budget. But if you compare our prices to other local, privately run classes, they are crazy low!

How do I become a member?

The Writing Salon is not offering new memberships at this time. Those who already have a membership will still be able to sign up for classes at the member price. We plan to develop a new membership program starting in 2017. Thanks for your patience!

About Us

We are a private business offering a wide array of classes taught by a wide variety of instructors. We welcome writers (and aspiring writers) at all levels of experience. If you’re a beginner, we’ll help you unlock pent-up creativity and get started. If you’ve got experience, we’ll help you to keep going and improving. If you’re rusty, we’ll bring out the oil cans. If you’re blocked, we’ll help you to overcome obstacles and fears.

We teach the nuts and bolts of craft. We also give tips and advice on how to rev up motivation, discipline and commitment.

We want to help you enjoy the process of writing, as well as the satisfaction of completing your projects (if that’s your goal; some students are very product-oriented, others are more process-oriented). Our courses are hands-on. You will write, not just think about writing. You will also engage in lively discussions and helpful interactions with your teachers and peers.

We invite you to come learn new skills and improve (or revive) old ones. We also encourage you to use the Writing Salon as a resource for making connections, finding support and building community with other writers — to see it as a place where you can go to strengthen not only your writing but your writing life.

Here’s an article about Writing Salon founder Jane Underwood, in the October 2014 issue of The Monthly.

You can follow us on FACEBOOK and  TWITTER.

On Storytelling: A Great Little “Pep Talk”

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Poets Snacking


















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Jay Ridler: Writing from the Heart: Uncover Your Most Powerful Themes

Jay Ridler5 Sundays, May 15 – June 19, 7-9:30pm   Berkeley    
Skip May 29
$215 members/$245 others  Cancellation/Refund Policy  
Testimonials for Jay

To write our best, we must write from the heart. But finding what subjects mean the most to us can be difficult. Each week, Jay Ridler will lead you through a series of fun, engaging, and effective exercises to help you discover and explore the deep and most compelling themes in your  life. “And each week we’ll spend time exploring those themes in story and other forms, all the while giving and getting feedback to each other,” says Jay. “We’ll explore the people and things we love (or hate) and consider why we need to embrace them in our work. We’ll examine our fears and discuss how to face them, then how to shape them into art. In short, we’ll explore how to dig deeper into matters of the heart — joyful or terrible, mad or sad — and learn to see them as powerful story catalysts.”

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Jay Ridler: Write Fast, Write Furious! & Writing from the Heart

Dear Jane,

Jason’s class, “Writing from the Heart,” far exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was inspiring, and helped me to overcome fears and connect with my emotions in an uninhibited way.

I particularly enjoyed Jason’s personality and his clear devotion to teaching and writing. His passion and his willingness to be vulnerable and humorous helped me and all of us to feel uninhibited and free to take risks.

His enthusiasm was contagious. I felt that it gave my writing and desires to write a real boost. Although the other writers were focused on fiction, I felt that my non-fiction work was honored. I would love to work with Jason again.

Justin Hecht


I always appreciate when people deep into their writing journey are generous with sharing what they’ve learned. Jay is exactly that kind of teacher.  He’s funny, wise, and kind, eager to help his students move through the more sticky aspects of the practice (and business) of writing.

This class gave me fresh ways of dropping in and looking at material that had previously felt too raw, boring, or disjointed. Through the in-class exercises and take-home assignments, I was amazed to find that there really was a richness that I hadn’t been tapping into before.  I felt like Jay gave us free reign to write about what in essence had been moving us to write all along. It was an exciting discovery process, and my classmates and I formed close connections watching each others’ stories unfold as a result.

By the end of the class, I had a much better sense of where I’d like to go with my work in the future. The whole thing was like an exercise in not ‘shoulding’ on yourself– which I think most writers would be so grateful to learn! Jay doesn’t promise that writing is an easy road, but he’s very real about sharing some practical wisdom that can increase your longevity and love of the craft along the way.  I seriously can’t say enough great things about this class! Jay is really onto something here, and it’s deep.

– Joanna


Hi Jane- “Writing from the Heart” was definitely the most intense Writing Salon class I have taken. Be prepared to mine the deepest depths of all your emotional traumas! Jay had razor sharp insights into everyone’s writing and was very prepared with all kinds of supplemental sources.

thanks so much, Andrea


Jay is an inspiring teacher. Quick thinker and supportive teacher. I like his wit and honesty. Highly recommended.

C.J. Singh


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