“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Teresa of Avilla

What does it mean to devote yourself to something, an act? What happens to us, and our writing when we devote ourselves to it? The focus of this workshop is to begin to cultivate a daily writing practice which leads to an experience of creative connection and abundance. There is no such thing as writer’s block, but sometimes we just need to find ways to begin. This workshop provides tools to break the silence of the blank page. In class exercises will give you the confidence and energy to begin writing, and playfully manipulating the images ‘imprisoned within’ as Rilke says. Furthermore, this workshop brings an awareness of how our creative energies are supported by the world around us, which is always willing to assist our dreaming, once we allow it to.

Instructor: Justen Ahren

Justin Ahren | Devotion to writing workshop | Noepe Centre | Martha's Vineyard

Justen Ahren is West Tisbury Emeritus Poet Laureate, and author of . His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including, most recently, Cafe Review, Comstock Review and BorderSenses. A graduate of Emerson College with an MFA in Creative Writing, Justen teaches writing in Italy, Mexico, and Martha’s Vineyard, where he lives with his family. He is the founder and Director of Noepe Martha’s Vineyard Center for Literary Arts, and Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency.


14 writing spaces available
9 spaces in accommodation

Devotion to Writing: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice and Creative Abundance
July 9, 2016 to July 14th, 2017
All Genres
All Levels
$1595 with accommodations
$595 without accommodations
fees do not include travel to and from Noepe or meals.

Course description

Each day we will begin by discussing a different principle found in monastic practices, including devotion, gratitude, surrender, and doubt. Following discussion, we will write using prompts that illuminate the actions of these principles.
Inspiration, it is said, finds us working. So, in this workshop we will write. A lot! Through the act of writing, with attention and intention, we will begin to explore and to experience how cultivating a daily practice leads inevitably to creative abundance through the accumulation of work with which we can ‘play’.

Justen Ahren has taught this approach for several years at Noepe, as well as in Orvieto, and Labro, Italy. His goal in leading the workshop is to help writers access the deep source of creative language and imagery within them, and draw on it as material which supports them in their life as a writer.

We will meet as a group for 3 hours each day (10-1). Afternoons are free to explore the beautiful and inspiring island of Martha’s Vineyard. There will be an evening reading by participants at the end of the week, as well as an opportunity to take in local literary events.

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