Ready to make a change? A local organization is helping women and girls find their voices, speak their truths, and tell their stories.
Cincy Chic: What is Women Writing for (a) Change?
Lisa Rocklin, executive director at Women Writing for (a) Change: Women Writing for (a) Change® provides a safe and non-competitive environment for individuals to develop their writing skills, cultivate their creativity, and strengthen their voices. At WWf(a)C, our writers, whether first-timers or the more experienced, find community, connection, and meaningful conversation within our writing circles.
Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Rocklin: Our founding inspiration: to encourage women and girls to find their voices, speak their truths, and tell their stories in a world in which they were often silenced.
Our mission: to nurture and celebrate the individual voice by facilitating supportive writing circles and by encouraging people to craft more conscious lives through the art of writing and the practices of community.
Through the years, WWf(a)C class offerings have grown in response to demand. WWf(a)C has expanded and deepened its reach and offerings while staying true to the original vision and values.
Cincy Chic: When was Women Writing for (a) Change established?
Rocklin: We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2021! Women Writing for (a) Change® was founded in 1991 by Mary Pierce Brosmer, a practicing poet and former English teacher. WWf(a)C is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Cincy Chic: How many writers currently work with Women Writing for (a) Change and their programming?
Rocklin: Great question! In any given week, we have approximately 10 classes serving over 125 students.
Our home is a two-story building at 6906 Plainfield Road in Silverton. Since transitioning to virtual circles in March as a result of COVID-19, we have been successfully holding all of our programming via Zoom. Circle participants have shared very positive feedback on their experience. We are committed to holding virtual-only programming through the end of May 2021. But we can’t wait to have writing circles in person again later in 2021.
We also serve writers in community outreach partnerships throughout Cincinnati. We offer writing circles for young people experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, youth and adult women in residential or correctional facilities, and veterans.
Cincy Chic: How do you emphasize the importance of writing among students?
Rocklin: We encourage writing as a process of self-discovery and self-expression – a celebration of the individual voice. Our classes provide a unique setting in which honoring each other’s words enriches participants’ lives. Although we have many writers who go on to publish their work, our organizational focus is on the transformative power of writing.
Cincy Chic: What types of classes do you currently offer?
Rocklin: We offer writing circles for adult women as well as all gender. Offerings include series classes ranging from 6-14 weeks, as well as one-off specialty classes.
For youth, we offer programming specifically for Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9, and Grades 10-12, including weeklong summer camps and weekend writing circles during the school year. Our current school year writing circles are open to all gender in Grades 4-6 and 7-9 and to young women and TGNC youth in Grades 10-12.
Cincy Chic: What can students expect when participating in a class?
Rocklin: We call it a writing circle because every session is an intentional, co-created space, made and remade with each gathering. Facilitators are uniquely responsible for holding this space, but every writer is a necessary element. A few simple steps at the beginning of each circle provide a comforting repetition that help participants leave the outside world behind and give themselves the gift of time and writing in community.
Every session is inspired by a contemporary opening poem, which is read aloud by the facilitator. Writing prompts are offered in relation to the poem so that writers have a jumping-off point for individual writing time. Participants are always encouraged to follow their muse and write down whatever emerges in any genre they choose.
It’s important to note that participation is always by invitation, not obligation. No one is ever required to share their writing, but everyone is invited to do so at the end of every session. Similarly, each participant is asked to agree to confidentiality. This allows writers the freedom to safely share vulnerable, difficult or personal material.
Cincy Chic: How can readers get involved in Women Writing for (a) Change?
Rocklin: First, stop telling yourself you’re “not a writer.” If you have a story to tell, you ARE a writer. Our process is supportive and affirming.
Second, if writing is something you enjoyed in the past and you miss it, this is an intentional way of bringing writing back into your life on a regular basis. Give yourself that gift.
Visit our website and follow our social media for opportunities to attend free virtual samplers and community events. Several classes are starting in February. Our current Sunday series for youth in Grades 4-12 gives young writers the flexibility to “Come When You Can,” by registering for individual classes. Winter is the perfect time to jump into one of our writing circles! More offerings are available on our website. Scholarships are available to support writers in financial need.