Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring


What’s coming up from Inkslingers

What’s in this Post:


Write Around the World

May is the month when Amherst Writers reaches out to writers everywhere by holding Write Around the World (WAW). This is their yearly fundraiser—Workshop leaders volunteer their time to lead AWA Method workshops. The sessions are offered on a donation basis because we want to make it accessible so people who have never experienced the method get a chance to try it out.

I will be donating my time to lead 3 WAW workshops and James will be leading one about poetry with Kate Marshall Flaherty.

Please go here to read more: Write Around the World with Inkslingers


Spirit of the Hills – Word on the Hills – Sue’s interview

I was delighted when Word on the Hills, hosted by Gwynn Scheltema and Chris Cameron, asked to interview me a few weeks ago. The show is airing on Sunday May 2, at 1:00 pm on 89.7 FM, streamed at northumberland897.ca. If you can’t listen to it at that time, it will be archived by May 4, 2021 at wordonthehills.com.



Registration is open for our Autumn Workshops:

Autumn Sanctuaries posted – Writing with Sue, Poetry with James

Dates and registration are up HERE for our Sanctuaries. This fall, while vaccination in Canada is still uncertain, sanctuaries will all still happen online. James is offering some Poetry-focussed Sanctuaries again at last now called “Write and Learn Poetry”.

We’ve also announced the dates of our year long workshops starting in September and registration is open for:

In January of 2022 we’ll also be doing an online version of our 8 week intensive “Navigating the Publishing Marketplace with Confidence”.

Looking forward to mentoring your words and your pages!


Report from the Pyjama Front

“Though we live in a world that dreams
of ending that always seems about to give in,
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.”
~ Brendan Kennelly
(from his poem “Begin”)

In the Aesop’s fable about the hare and the tortoise, I always felt sorry for the hare. That silken runner had everything necessary to win that race. The fable says that he was so sure that he had a winning head start on the tortoise that he thought he’d lie down and take a nap.

If the fable took place today, he’d have stopped to check his emails, or gone onto Facebook, and gotten fatally distracted.

When it comes to my writing I’ve always been a binger, never managing to fit it in steadily. I would hare away on a writing retreat and produce 70 pages in 12 days. And then nothing for months, as I returned to my paying work, my livelihood, my overcommitted life.

Thanks to Pyjama Writing, I have much more admiration for the tortoise. The steady accretion of pages on my big projects, one hour at a time, four steady hours a week, feels like a miracle. The putting first of my own artistic practice—at least for those four hours—is a revelation.

In the last month, as pressure with work has geared up, I have also used those dedicated hours to produce other writing that I would have delayed starting on. It’s not just my artistic projects that fill me with anxiety—any kind of commitment around writing that will be read and evaluated by others can trip the procrastination switch. So recently I’ve also allowed myself to use the pyjama writing time to force myself to sit still and put words on the page. Messy first draft words, clay that can be shaped into something more elegant.

In fact I’m doing it right now with this blog post. The version of it you are reading (now for you, in the future for me), is nothing like the messy version I am typing right now. At least I’m hoping it isn’t/won’t be. 🙂

And many people who have come to Pyjama Writing over the last few months (and who are still coming) are also startled to find out how these hours of communal silence can add up to a significant word count. You can read their TESTIMONIALS here.

So this is a reminder and an invitation. I continued Pyjama Writing through April and will continue at least until the end of May. (That’s as far as I can see right now).

Except for May 10 (a Hakomi training event – the last one of the season and I’m getting very close to certification!) and May 31, when I will be leading an evening session for AWA’s Write Around the World on memoir with Stephanie Curry (which you’re invited to!) Click here to read when I am leading these sessions.

As Brendan Kennelly’s poem invites us, begin again. If you were coming before and have dropped away and if your dedication to your writing has suffered because of it, feel free to come back when and if it suits you. If you haven’t tried it yet, feel free to drop into a session and see if the quiet, dedicated companionship of other writers helps you keep your butt in the chair and your fingers on your pen or the keyboard.

As always, the sessions continue to be offered at no cost. All you have to do is register. (Although, if you want to make a donation to Amherst Writers social justice programs, all donations of any size are gratefully received. This year, in addition to building their program of writing workshops for Veterans and their families, they are offering scholarships to BIPOC and other individuals to make sure the AWA method reaches the populations whose unheard voices need to be in the world.)

You can see all the dates for the upcoming Pyjama Sessions till the end of May at this link.

Looking forward to writing with you soon in the way of the tortoise – slow and steady builds the manuscript!



Sue Reynolds

Turning your Life into Story… and into publication

Facilitated by Sue Reynolds

Place: OSHAWA – Trent University in Oshawa, Room 105
Times: 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
Dates: Monday nights, January 30 – March 27 (please note – there is no class on Feb. 20)
Registration: $220 (WCDR members 10% discount – $198.00)

This 8 week course shows participants how to find the germs of story in personal experience (their own or those of their family and friends) and transform them into short fiction.
Through the study of existing short stories and learning writer’s craft techniques, authors will experiment with their own tales.

Homework can be submitted privately for individual feedback each week.
By the end of the course writers will produce one or two polished stories and, if they choose, “put a stamp on it” – i.e., identify a contest or journal they think is an ideal market for their story and send the piece off.

January 30 — Defining and Exploring the Idea of Short Story
February 6th — Going where there’s a knot
February 13th — the Locus of the Story
PLEASE NOTE – no class on February 20th
February 27th — There comes a moment – Transformation… or not
March 6th — Tied up in a bow or untied shoelaces?
March 13th — Objective Correlative – supportive metaphor and imagery
March 20th — Editing and Refining
March 27th — Put a Stamp on it

Susan Lynn Reynolds is a writer, teacher and psychotherapist. She teaches writing through workshops in the community, in college continuing education programs, and in social services settings. She writes and has won awards for her YA novel, short stories, poems and non-fiction.
She has been leading writing groups since 1998 and has been certified to lead workshops in the Amherst Writers method since 2002. She is licensed to work with groups doing expressive writing for wellness as well.

She has been leading writing workshops for female inmates at Central East Correctional Centre for 12 years, a program for which she received the June Callwood Award for Outstanding Volunteerism.


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    Registration for Non Members

    $220.00 + HST

    Registration for Writers’ Community Members

    $198.00 +HST


    Writing Workshop in Barrie Ontario – “Show Don’t Tell” – November 27, 2016

    Whether you’re writing fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetry, you hear the maxim “show don’t tell” over and over again. But what exactly does that mean? And are you doing it?

    Join Inkslingers for a full day workshop into this most essential skill.

    The day will cover “showing” rather than “telling” in several different forms:

    • dialogue
    • description
    • plotting
    • subtext

    as well as identifying those opportunities in your writing when telling is actually more appropriate than showing.
    Workshop participants will be working with samples from their own work to see where they are already using this skill and to find out where they employ it more powerfully. This hands on, interactive workshop will make sure each participant fully integrates this essential element of the craft of writing.
    Location: BARRIE Ontario Travel Information Centre – Meeting Room
    21 Mapleview Dr E
    Barrie, ON L4N 9A9
    (Hwy 400 at Mapleview Dr (formerly Molson Park Dr), SE corner of intersection * accessible from 400 northbound and southbound * accessible from Costco parking lot)

    Click HERE for Google Maps.

    Time: 10:00 to 4:00

    Cost: $95 + HST
    ($75 + HST for WCDR, WCSC, WCYR, WEN, WHEN, PWAC members)

    Click HERE to Register.

    Having Trouble Finding Time to Work on Your Writing?

    writing workshopMark your calendar for the evening of Monday, December 7th for INKSLINGERS once-a-month, NoCost poetry workshop evening at C’est What? in Toronto.

    For December 2015 we’re revisiting our old model:  1 hour of creating poems through writing on the spot to prompts offered by an AWA certified facilitator (Sue Reynolds in December), 1 hour of workshopping pieces brought to the evening (please bring 15 to 20 copies – we have room for 8 pieces), and a final hour of workshopping your performance of your work “on stage”.

    (We’re in the Library Room at the back of the pub!)

    This event is designed to inspire poets at every skill level to develop their craft through writing, revising, and performing.


    cest what sign


    MONDAY December 7th, 2015

    NEW START TIME: 7:30 p.m.

    NEW LOCATION: C’EST WHAT? (67 Front Street East)

    PLEASE NOTE THAT C’EST WHAT? SERVES FOOD AND BEVERAGES in the performance lounge starting at 6:00 p.m. (and throughout the evening).

    We are very grateful for the patronage of our hosts at C’est What? All participants in the evening’s workshop are encouraged to come early and share repast with Sue & James and the Guest Facilitator prior to the evening’s event.

    Inkslingers’ new home is C’est What, 67 Front Street East, downstairs. C’est What is located in the cellar of a historic 19th century building in the St. Lawrence Market area. Casual, warm, and inviting, with great craft beers and a diverse and delicious menu. An easy 3 minute walk from Union Station.

    Location: C’est What? 67 Front Street (at Church Street).

    From Union Station: 5 minute walk or take the 72A Pape bus to Church Street and walk one block north.
    From King Subway Station: 5 minute walk or take the 504 King streetcar east to Church Street and walk one block south.

    2015 INKSLINGER Retreat and Workshop Dates

    We’ve just finalized the dates and locations for most of our Retreats and Workshops in 2015.
    Click HERE to go to the registration page!

    Sue Reynoldssept James
    Unless specified, all retreats and workshops are at The Uplands Retreat and are on Saturday or Sunday.

    January 11 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    January 17 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    January 24 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    February 7 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    February 8 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    February 21 – Soul Collage with Sue Reynolds

    February 22 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    March 7 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    March 8 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    March 21 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    March 22 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    April 11th to 21st – Radical restoration Retreat in Umbria Italy
    (That’s right, it was so beautiful and inspirational that we’rre going back to Le Torrace!)
    Visit http://radicalrestoration.ca/for more information.

    May 16th – RHYMES AT THE ROM Toronto workshop (Back by popular demand) (Facilitated by both Sue Reynolds and James Dewar)

    May 17 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    May 23 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    May 24 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    May 30 & 31 – Soul Collage near Parry Sound

    June 14 – Soul Collage with Sue Reynolds

    June 20 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    June 27 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    June 28 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    July 12 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    July 16 to 19 – Residential Retreat at Uplands (Facilitated by both Sue Reynolds and James Dewar)

    July 25 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    August 8 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    August 20 to 23 – Residential Retreat at Uplands (Facilitated by both Sue Reynolds and James Dewar)

    September 19 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    September 20 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    September 26 – Soul Collage with Sue Reynolds

    September 27 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    October 4th – Autumn Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop – at the McMichael Gallery (Facilitated by both Sue Reynolds and James Dewar)

    October 17 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    October 18 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    October 24-25 – Ellen Bass Weekend Workshop in Toronto
    (One of America’s most loved and respected poets brings her exceptional 2 day workshop to Canada)

    November 21 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    November 22 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    November 28 – Poetry Sanctuary with James Dewar

    November 29 – Soul Collage with Sue Reynolds

    December 5 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    December 6 – Sanctuary with Sue Reynolds

    Click HERE to go to the registration page!

    Workshops coming up




    Our year long course to create structure, accountability and instruction so you finish the first draft of your book.

    REGISTRATION OPENED SEPTEMBER 1 2012 for the course in 2013


    Poetry Chapbook Self-Publishing Workshop

    September 22 and November 3, 2012 – Stouffville

    This workshop is presented in two Saturday installments, 6 weeks apart, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. (one hour lunch) Pre-registration is necessary.


    Get Published Poetry Class at Blue Heron Books

    Wednesday Nights from 7 to 9:30, Starts September 26, 2012 – Uxbridge



    Create Your First Website in One Day: WordPress for Beginners

    November 4, 2012 – York Region

    This workshop will teach you all the basic skills you need to create and manage your first blog or website.



    Managing Your Own WordPress-based Website

    November 24 – Durham Region

    This workshop will teach you the skills you need to manage most of your own website.



    A Novel Approach 2014

    begin again in SEPTEMBER, 2014.

    A Novel Approach photo w


    (BOTH of these year-long workshops combine:

      in-class instruction approximately every 2 weeks,
      word count deadlines,
      a private website where the participants post their work and share in the emergence of their stories,
      ongoing feedback from the facilitators and
      written feedback and in-person interview on the first 20,000 words of your manuscript.
      a celebration party when that first draft of your fiction, non-fiction or memoir is written!)

    CLICK HERE for more details at www.anovelapproach.ca



    but now… A NOVEL APPROACH WORKSHOPS are also available ONLINE.

    Writing Stories from Our Lives

    Humans are the Story Species. It’s one of the few characteristics we share across cultures, across genders, across ages — we understand our lives and ourselves through the stories we tell.

    In this set of eight writing workshops we will be practicing how to make our ideas into essays, our memories into memoirs and our lives into literature.

    Each class will cover some aspect of the writing craft – the skills necessary to create strong prose that engages the reader and keeps them turning the page, including strong characterization, sensory description, vivid details, metaphors and accuracy. Continue reading

    Words are Worth 1000 Pictures: Writing your Memoirs

    Facilitator: Sue Reynolds

    The old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words, but that’s only true when everyone recognizes the pictures. How many times have you flipped through an old family photo album and wondered, “Who are those people with Grandma?” “Wonder where that was taken?”

    It’s stories that we are hungry for: stories of our grandparents and great grandparents. Stories of what life was like for our families in “the old days”. Stories of when our parents were young. And it’s stories of us and the events that made us who we are that our children and our children’s children will yearn for. Continue reading