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“The first draft is the child's draft,” writes Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird. The first draft, she continues, is “where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place . . . You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page.”

The writing that results is raw, uncooked and unprocessed. And it’s from these raw ingredients that the most delicious and fabulous final drafts are made.

“So many of us think we should be able to sit down and write perfectly crafted sentences, paragraphs and stories without writing those raw first drafts,” says instructor Elaine Beale. “But the fact is that our ‘raw writing’ is not only necessary, it’s actually a lot of fun. It allows us to take mystery trips through our unconscious. It’s exciting and exhilarating. We come across things that we could never have anticipated with our conscious minds. All writers need to play, discover, experiment. Like Anne Lamott says, we need to let our writing romp.”

So, if you plan to come to this class, leave your perfectionist at the door! Because you’ll be focusing on the playful joy of writing, on launching yourself without inhibition onto the page. You’ll be helped by visualization and relaxation techniques, timed writing exercises, and other creative techniques.

“This will be a playful, nonjudgmental class,” says Elaine. “We’ll pile on the inspiration and we won’t worry about getting it ‘right.’ It’s true that much of the writing process involves revision and rewriting, but without the ingredients of imagination, experimentation and play, you have nothing to work with at all. All writers—new and experienced—need to generate raw writing to remain inspired.”



    Elaine Beale has published two novels, the most recent of which, Another Life Altogether, was featured in Oprah Magazine and received praise from the Boston GlobeLambda Literary, and Publishers Weekly, among others. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her latest book is Write for Wellness, a guide to using expressive writing to promote emotional and physical health.

  1. Monday, February 17, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  2. Monday, February 24, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  3. Monday, March 02, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  4. Monday, March 09, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  5. Monday, March 16, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  • I am a big fan of Elaine's classes. She immediately puts the novice at ease and her enthusiastic love of the craft is contagious.

    Rick Kelley
  • Elaine knows her stuff, obviously, and articulates her insights in an inspiring style. She respects how challenging writing is and accentuates that by constantly providing positive support. She is warm, honest, and helpful for fledgling fiction writers!

    Karolina Garrett


Tuesday, February 18, 2020 @ 3:00 am PST
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 @ 4:30 am PST
Event Category:


2121 Bonar St, Studio D, 2nd Fl
Berkeley, CA United States
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

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