University of Iowa

The Why and How of Reflective Writing

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

Ideas, stories, characters, and scenes emerge from our memory, from our imagination, from dreams, lived experiences, history, family and friends. Normally, we begin a writing journey by sorting through these myriad sources. But we have another source deep within and often unknown to us—a place where our inner self, our soul, the essence of who we are resides. Possibilities for writing wait there, too, though they’re not always apparent. So we begin by spending time reflecting—quietly, patiently, alone—until the words come to us, rather than from us. Then, it’s time to write. Reflection then writing, in contrast to thinking then writing. There’s a difference.


Reflective writing is a learned technique that connects us to a place deep within. Author Pat Schneider says, “May you hear in your own writing—the strangeness, the surprise of mysteries—the presence of ancestors, spirits—buried in the cells of your body.” In this weekend, we’ll explore this approach to writing. We’ll spend time reflecting, writing and sharing. If you wish, please send me a sample of your writing (200 words maximum) before we meet in Iowa City.