• WriteByNight Turns 5

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 10 comments

    Sometime in the spring of 2007, when Justine and I shared a writing workshop at Emerson College, as well as a burgeoning friendship, we joked about someday opening a writing center together. The JGDDWC, she wanted to call it. I of course countered with the DDJGWC. My proposed plan, as I recall, was for Justine to run the workshops, do all the paperwork and bookkeeping, run the PR, advertising and marketing departments, and handle all custodial duties, while I would be tasked with helping myself to half (or so) of the profits.

    The conversation eventually died out, but the relationship did not.

    A couple of summers later we had left Boston behind and found ourselves in Stuart, Florida, working unfulfilling odd jobs and melting. I was sidelining as fiction editor at Fringe Magazine and Justine did some freelancing, but it wasn’t enough to scratch our literary itch. One day, during one of those monster late-afternoon summer-in-Florida thunderstorms, we resurrected the idea of the JGDDWC/DDJGWC. For a lark, we scanned the local papers and websites to see what the town and county had to offer in the literary arena. Frankly, there wasn’t much. In fact, we found not one single workshop. There were various critique groups, a few of which we visited, but nothing with that intensive focus a workshop delivers. So suddenly our lark turned serious, and we decided to try and fill that hole.

    Well, an independent writing workshop needs a name. We tossed around some ideas, many of which, in retrospect, are horrifying: Wanderjahr. Composite Monster. Exquisite Corpse. Finally we settled on a name indicative of the kinds of writers we’d be working with, those who had day jobs, who wrote in their free time, who were so dedicated that they’d be willing to give up one night of each week in an effort to improve their work, and to help others improve as well.

    We filed as a business in the state of Florida, and one day—exactly five years ago today—WriteByNight was born.

    In the five years since … man, I don’t know even know how to sum up. After the first WriteByNight workshop in Stuart we began building our signature one-on-one writers services and opened several more workshops in neighboring towns. In Austin we finally opened the JGDDWC, expanded our one-on-one and group offerings, hired the first of our now 15-plus wonderful staff members, and in 2012 WriteByNight was named Best Writers’ Resource in Austin by the Austin Chronicle.

    And now here we are in NYC, doing what we do, and a few days away from our wedding(!).

    We’ve been pleased to watch so many of you accomplish such great things. Marcia Drut-Davis, the very first WriteByNighter, recently received an International Childfree Lifetime Award, in large part a response to her memoir, Confessions of a Childfree Woman—which she began writing in that very first workshop.

    WriteByNighters have published dozens of wonderful books, had their writing appear in many dozens of newspapers, magazines and literary journals. And as much as we love to hear about these public accomplishments, just as important are those quieter, more private accomplishments: finishing a piece of writing for the very first time; making writing a part of one’s everyday life; learning to express oneself through the written word. We’re very pleased to have helped so many people reach such wonderful goals.

    It’s pretty self-congratulatory to write a post about the five-year anniversary of one’s own business, but really, and quite obviously, we wouldn’t have made it this far—or at all—without all of you. It takes guts to share your words with professionals who are also strangers, but when you do summon that courage you have many dozens—hundreds, even—of choices. Thank you for making WriteByNight yours.


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    Congratulations on your anniversary and wedding!

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Thank you, Bonnie!


    Congratulations to both of you. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Many thanks, Teresa. And you’re very welcome!

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    Without your incredible teaching, guidance and love, I never could have reached my dream of publishing my memoir. It’s now reached so many hearts in educating and supporting the childfree-by-choice lifestyle.
    You were the first to say, “You know what? This would make a great book!” It took years of hard work, and understanding that “revise” is not a dirty word. Personally, my heart connection to both of you is the icing on the cake.
    Happy Anniversary. I’m thrilled for you and all the people yet to risk reaching you. It’s so worth it!

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    This comment made our day, Marcia. We’re honored to have played a role in the realization of your dream!

    Merrie Harrington

    Glad to hear you’re around. I might need your help along the way.

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Sure thing, Merrie. We’re here when you need us.

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    DO IT NOW! You’ll never regret that choice.

    […] new. We had been offering creative writing workshops in Florida (you can read our creation story here) and were branching out into the one-on-one services in which we now specialize. This was before […]

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