Writing Workshops

ONE DAY WRITING WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN! Stay tuned for our next class announcement.

This is a workshop designed to do a lot in a small amount of time, a kind of boot camp for writing fiction or non-fiction, limited to ten women, published or not. You could very well come away come away with a finished piece–essay, short story, travel piece, etc.– or with ideas for doing something longer; you will surely come away with a passion for writing more. These workshops are a lot of fun but are also quite spiritual, and they often tap into very deep places. They serve not only as a workshop but as a refuge, and as a gift to oftentimes neglected (but very important!) parts inside. They are announced on my website, on Facebook and on brownpapertickets.com.

The workshop consists of a morning meeting with me from 9-10 a.m. for orientation, and a brief lecture on character, place, and dialogue. We may also do and share a few impromptu writing exercises. From 10-12, the class is sent out for two hours to look in a new way at people and places and at dialogue, based on what they learned at the morning lecture. These observations will serve to provide rich detail to their writing. From 12-1, participants meet again for lunch and to share the details each person observed, and we talk about how some of those details could be used to shape and enliven writing. From 1-5pm, participants go to the library or wherever they choose to write their piece.  From 5-9 we meet for dinner and to listen to up to ten double-spaced pages from each member of the group. These pages will be honestly but kindly critiqued by me and the other workshop members. (Please note that I cannot read any work done outside of my workshop.)

This workshop will take place in a private home in Oak Park, Illinois, home of the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio. There are wonderful restaurants and stores here, and it’s a highly walkable town. For out of town participants, I recommend the Write Inn, which is walking distance to the workshop.

Also recommended is The Carlton of Oak Park, not quite as close but still walkable. There are also B&Bs and VRBOs available that you can research online.

The cost is $300, and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Elizabeth Berg, the facilitator, is an award winning, New York Times best selling writer. She has published twenty-four novels, 2 collections of short stories, 4 works of nonfiction, and has adapted her novel THE PULL OF THE MOON into a play which enjoyed sold out performances.


Thanks so much for the informative, inspiring, productive, and fun day. I’ve carried home several new ways to think about and invigorate my writing. I also came away with at least three new stories: the one I wrote, the one I had been noodling over on my way over this morning, and the one I am planning to make out of my sentence that can both begin and end a story. That’s a lot!

But there’s more (as K-Tel used to shout out). The cooking lessons and the fantastic meal. And the chance to get to know the stories of and connect with a group of people who started out mostly as strangers. By the end of the evening, we were mostly friends. For a shy, INFP guy like me, that’s always especially gratifying.

Ross D.

I’ve been reading Elizabeth’s books for twenty years, she’s a master of capturing the human condition in a way few other authors are able to. I’ve been a writer most of my life but the opportunity to learn from someone who has master the art is invaluable. I’ve taken several workshops and classes over the years, but the workshop with Elizabeth was a transcendent experience. Not only was she so open and knowledgeable, she created a safe and nurturing environment. She made each of us feel that we were capable of creating great work and was open to answering our slew of technical questions. Not only was I impressed with how much she gave to each of us, but I walked away impressed with myself and my ability to create a piece of work I was proud of in just one day. 

Kathleen D.

I knew the workshop would be a great experience, and it was what I hoped it would be in terms of the writer within me just waiting to get out! But – I was pleasantly surprised at the depth and meaning that I walked away with.

Jamie A

Elizabeth’s authenticity, genuineness and openness set the tone for a soul-enriching writing workshop. Her gentle expertise and advice set the table for every aspiring writer to learn and grow.  Her workshop is a day filled with self-challenges and risks. However, if you open your heart to your page, magic will happen.

Bonnie A.

I am writing to thank you for your wonderful workshop. I was stuck before I came. Starting things, then stopping. Self-editing, self-doubting, and making excuses to avoid sitting and writing. But the format of the workshop–the afternoon assigned to write–was such a gift. Sitting in that library, something shifted in me and it’s aa if my creativity is unlocked or soemthing. I cannot thank you enough. Opening your home, feeding us, encouraging us. It truly was one of the most wondeful days of my life. Thank you for helping me feel good about my writing again! 

Julie S.

Nurtured, empowere, inspired and validated. That’s how I felt when I left your writing workshop. Thatnk you for sharing your writing expertise. Most importantly, thank you for opening your writer’s heart, so that we may better recognize our own. 

Kelly F.

Thannk you for hosting the workshop. I will be forever indebted. Life changes on a dime, so they say, and mine absolutely did that day. 

Andy L.

Thank you for sharing your wisdeom at the wonderful writing workshop. It was a truly inspirational day, and I can’t thank you enough for your generosity. I’ve been writing with renewed energy and a more observant mind. 

Ann W.

Attending the workshop was a top 10 moment in my life–I kid you not. [From the exercise you assigned] a memoir was born. You have touched my life in ways you’ll never know. 

Shelly G.

I learned such valuable lessons about the writing process. Your kindness and hospitality gave the workshop such a personal touch, and I loved getting to know the group. 

Mollie F.

Your work has inspired me since I was a teenager and you not only inpsired me to write a short story I’m proud of, but left me with a renewed desire to keep going. 


When I signed up for your writing workshop, I had no idea that I would be tapping into years of pent-up excitement. I learned that I can write, that I have something to say, and that my life experiences (both past and those that are yet to be) are so, so rich. Thank you for introducing me to the power of observation and using that observation to fuel a very wild imagination. I will never forget your kindness or this phenomenal experience. thank you so much!

Stephanie H.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for unknowingly convincing me to try another “first ” . You are a beautiful woman and extremely caring. Your work expressed that about you before we even met. I loved every second of it including Homer and Gabby. Thank you again for adding another vein to my map of life.

Gayla S.

Thank you for an incredible experience! Every minute of the day was a treasure and a memory I’ll carry always! It was an honor to be with such a great group of women! You created such a warm, cozy atmosphere and Homer and Gabby just added to that. I felt at home and comfortable immediately. This morning, I wonder, did I dream all that or did I really spend the day hanging out with Elizabeth Berg? Thank you so much!

Diane K.

Thank you very much for the amazing workshop. You are generous with your wisdom and your time and you are very kind and genuine. I felt so welcome in your lovely home and I (think) I have broken through my fear so that I can keep writing my story…and, just see where it takes me.

Wendy C.

I actually wept on the way back to my hotel. The day was inspirational, a house full of brave and fabulous women. Thank you, Elizabeth.

Christie M.

I could spend hours trying to think of something original and clever to say. Instead, I’ll just say thank you! It was a magical wonderful day. May we do it all again today please?

Diana B.

Elizabeth, thank you so very much for yesterday. You are a beautifully gracious hostess and the way you were so open to seeing all of us a writers, sharing your knowledge, and encouraging us to follow our paths was such a gift. I will never forget the experience. Thank you!! 

Michelle B.

Although over two months have passed since the writer’s workshop, the knowledge I gained, the encouragement I received and the enthusiasm I felt, continues. The day I spent with you and the other women will always be a day set apart in my mind as a surreal experience.

I came that day very unsure of myself as I hadn’t written in twenty years. I knew it was something I wanted to explore and what I took away that day was the courage to try, and be willing to face rejection but to at least try! Since that day I have been hired to write a weekly blog and a monthly article focusing on single parenting and step families. I also made the corrections that you advised on my blog, posted it, received many views and comments and am now in discussion with a publishing company to transform the story into a non-fiction book for young adults.

The most amusing result of your workshop was my introuduction into poetry. Until I heard you read Gate C-22, I was never a fan of poetry. I was so moved by the vision those words created that I went back to my room at the Write Inn and immediately wrote my one and only poem. I entered it in a city-wide creative writing contest and won honorable mention. Pretty funny!

Without the opportunity to attend your workshop I never would have had the nerve to submit anything. Thank you so much for providing us with a one-in-a-lifetime experience!

Diane M.

I attended your writing workshop back in September and recently your Writing Matters event with Elizabeth Crane.  I wanted to thank you for showing me how much joy writing can bring.  Attending your events has inspired me to write freely – to write true – and it’s been liberating.  

I’ve always wanted to write, but never let it be a priority for me as everything else in life always took precedence.  I pushed aside anything that brought me joy because it usually brought feelings of guilt along with it.  My role has always been to do for others and, at first, writing was difficult because I would allow myself to become immersed.  When I let got of the guilt, I found myself feeling, well, a little giddy about the whole process.

The short story that I wrote during your workshop was liberating.  It was a mess because everything rushed forward at once.  I had trouble sorting my characters out because they were coming to me so quickly.  The story took way too many turns because I had such a rush of ideas.  The characters were actually speaking to me(!) and dialogue, which I always thought was my weak point in writing, came with ease.

So thank you.  For inspiring me, for bringing me joy.  I have been a writing fiend. Writing true has felt amazing.

Wendy H.

Thank you so much for opening your home and welcoming us with such care and compassion for our art, and for creating such a strong sense of safety, so that we could explore our fears and vulnerabilities. It was a powerful day of learning, quieting my mind, artistic experimentation, pushing emotional limits (so grateful for your gentle nudge) and growth. I received the opportunity to laugh and cry with an awesome group of women.  

Patty J.

I left home describing myself as someone with an interest in writing. My return trip, I was a writer….I feel I have returned home with tools I lacked….Thank you for pampering us with delicious food and the beautifully set table with the delicate flower arrangements. You seemed to  have thought of everything. Gabby and Homer were wonderful ambassadors.  

Sarah C.

  The day with you was a gift I gave myself and I didn’t realize how transformative it would be. Thank you again for facilitating a powerful workshop. Thank you for making it a personal experience I’ll never forget. Thank you for your support and kindness. Thank you for serving us breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Joann B.

It’s amazing how you managed to create an egoless, safe space for all of us in such a short time. You lead in the most exquisite way.

When we were together I tried to put it into words, but it became even more true after the day ended. You—the whole day—exceeded my expectations.

Cressey J.

You have ignited a fire in me that I can’t get out of my head.

In other words, your workshops are powerful. They change people in new and exciting ways. You showed us how to better organize our thoughts and take notice!  I have a full heart and mind to continue my journey in writing and take it seriously. You (and the other women) gave me confidence and insight like I’ve never had before. I’m encouraged to start or form a writer’s group, keep up and cheer on my fellow workshop gals, and feel affirmed that you are indeed my favorite author for a reason. Please keep encouraging others, through your writings and workshops. You’ve changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to see where it leads!

Kristen D.