Upcoming Classes

Current workshops and classes: All classes are online in 2020.

Offerings for Fall 2020, starting in September:

  • Six-week course on writing your personal memoir (weekly on Wednesdays, Sept. 16-October 21st -Live with 10 Participants)
  • Introduction to Journaling: Wordcatching 1… beginning and keeping a personal journal (Sept. 22-Live Zoom)
  • Advanced Journaling: Wordcatching 2… deepening your practice through the Write Yourself In method (Sept. 29 -Live Zoom)
  • Journaling for self-care, healing, and wellness (October 6 Live Zoom)
  • What is a Gratitude Journal, and how do I start one? (October 13 Live Zoom)

And… have you taken a class with me but know there’s more to it? Or started awhile or a long time ago, but need a little help picking it back up? Or is there a journal calling your name, but you have no idea how to start- and you KNOW you simply don’t have time to write every day? Then… maybe you’d like a 1-1 journaling coaching session with me!

    • One-to-one journaling coaching/mentoring (several packages available), please contact me with your needs and I can give you a quote on an hourly, weekly, or as-needed basis. Journaling coaching focuses on the tools and techniques to satisfying journal keeping, not on your writing content, using the Write Yourself In method, as well as choosing your personal goals for your Wordcatching journal session (Connect, Reflect, Express, Achieve, Explore, and/or Transform.*)

In addition, I’m available for virtual, and in some cases, live organizational, team, and professional online trainings, workshops, creativity sessions, teen groups, and speaking engagements of any length. Organizations I have previously collaborated with and shared the benefits of transformative writing include: American Greetings, Kathy Davis, Hollins College, Speaking of Women’s Health, DePaul Community Services, Transitional Housing for Women (now called Front Steps), United Way of Southwest Virginia, YWCA CARES, Whitetop Yoga, Washington County Public Library, Smyth County Public Library, Paper Moon Studio, Patti Digh’s Life is Verb Camp, and more. To inquire more, please click the contact tab and send me a personal note with a phone number and organizational information.

But wait, there’s more! 🙂

My 30-day, 1-page, 32-question Journal Jumpstart is always free as a downloadable PDF, and can be requested here. You will be added to my newsletter, too, (unless you tell me not to).

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Transformative Life Story Writing

A 6-week LIVE Personal Memoir Class (Zoom)

A memoir is an account of the writer’s personal experiences, and can be chronological, but doesn’t need to be. Writing from your point-of-view, memoir relates true accounts of actual events, using lots of description and details, about anything that is important to the writer. You don’t have to be “a writer” to join class, but it’s crucial participants participate through writing and reading. 🙂
The class goal is to capture in writing important details of the participants’ lives and share storytelling.
Each class will include a group examination of common threads of life, with weekly themes to write about. Writing prompts will get your creativity flowing.
Each class will have weekly homework assigned, up to two pages of writing, on a topic assigned at the previous week’s meeting. Time for 5 minute sharing out loud and 5 minutes of structured feedback per read is built in to each class for 8 voluntary participants.
Who: maximum 10 participants
Where: Live on Zoom (each class will be recorded, but private only to Memoir class participants, so if you have to miss, you will still get the full content and assignments)
Class Length: 2-hr class weekly, for 6 weeks with a 10-minute break.
Class Time: Wednesdays 6-8 pm, beginning Sept. 16, 23, 30, October 7, 14, 21).
Cost for the 6-week class:$150 Early Bird with a maximum of 10 participants for the 6 weeks. ($175 if you register after Sept. 16)
Supplies: Participants will need an email address, and to be able to send and receive documents.
But what if I can’t make every class?
It’s fine if you need to miss a class, you will still receive homework and email support on the assignment, and if you like, personal feedback from me on your piece. Every class will have a follow-up email covering the homework and including the prompt questions.

I do have a book suggestion for additional, not mandatory reading. How to Write Your Own Life Story by Lois Daniel.

TO REGISTER: click here or click the  CONTACT tab with the name of the class you’d like to register for, and how you’d prefer to make payment to join. Full payment will be due within 24 hours of the first class, once you are alerted the class has reached its minimum number.  Paypal is strongly preferred, but we can make other arrangements (ability to offer online financial transactions coming soon). You will be contacted within 1-2 days after receiving your initial registration email, but you will not be charged until the class has reached its minimum.

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LIVE Introduction to Journaling class (Live on Zoom) September 22nd 6-7:30pm EST

cost $15 Early Bird before midnight, Sept 15, ($20 after Sept. 15)

This is where it all begins… notebook and pen. Develop tools for deeper self-reflection, personal growth, and memory-keeping. I’ve loved teaching this Wordcatching workshop for over 20 years, and can’t wait to help you explore the simple but powerful tool of putting pen to paper. Bring your journal, mug of tea, and a favorite pen or two. Sharing will be limited and voluntary. Session will be recorded and sent to you with full workshop, handouts and time to write, so live attendance is entirely up to you.

TO REGISTER: click the CONTACT tab with the name of the class you’d like to register for, to join. Full payment will be due within 24 hours of the class, so that you can receive the Zoom link. Paypal strongly preferred, but we can make other arrangements (ability to offer online financial transactions coming soon). You will be contacted after receiving your initial registration email.

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LIVE Advanced Journaling class (Live on Zoom) September 29th 6-7:30pm EST

cost $15 Early Bird before midnight, Sept 22, ($20 after Sept. 22)

Designed for the advanced or experienced journaler who would like to deepen their writing practice in new and uncomplicated ways. Learn how to approach the page beyond “Dear Diary…” with ample time for responding to thoughtful prompts. Use the Write Yourself In method to bring more intention and satisfaction to your longer writing sessions. Sharing will be limited and voluntary.  Take your personal writing to the next level. Bring your journal, mug of tea, and a favorite pen or two. (Wordcatching 1 not required.) Session will be recorded and sent to you with full workshop, handouts and time to write, so live attendance is entirely up to you.

TO REGISTER: click the CONTACT tab with the name of the class you’d like to register for, to join. Full payment will be due within 24 hours of the class, so that you can receive the Zoom link. Paypal strongly preferred, but we can make other arrangements (ability to offer online financial transactions coming soon). You will be contacted after receiving your initial registration email.

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Additional Dates for Classes in October 2020-Virtual:

What is a Gratitude Journal (and how do I begin?)- Live Zoom October 6th, 6-7:30pm EST

cost: $15 Early Bird before midnight, 9/29, ($20 after Sept. 29)

All classes will be recorded so if you cannot make it live, you will have access to the video within 24 hours for watching at your leisure, with ample time for responding to the prompts on your own time.)

This one-time class will give you all the tools you need to begin a Gratitude Journal. You may have heard these amazing statistics… but NOW is the time we need to count our blessings, or keep track of our gratitude, more than ever. I will share my own personal gratitude journal tips- from the pocket sized gratitude journal I have kept since 1999, and also offer some simple construction of your own journal if you do not have a blank book around. There’s so many ways to stop and give thanks, and in the process- change your brain to be always searching for new ways to be more positive (and see more positivity in the world around you!)

TO REGISTER: click the CONTACT tab with the name of the class you’d like to register for, to join. Full payment will be due within 24 hours of the class, so that you can receive the Zoom link. Paypal strongly preferred, but we can make other arrangements (ability to offer online financial transactions coming soon). You will be contacted after receiving your initial registration email.

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Journaling for Self-Care, Wellness, and Release-Live Zoom October 13th, 6-7:30pm EST

cost: $15 Early Bird before midnight, 10/6, ($20 after Oct. 6)

All classes will be recorded so if you cannot make it live, you will have access to the video within 24 hours for watching at your leisure, with ample time for responding to the prompts on your own time.)

Journaling with the intention of healing and release can be very therapeutic, and you may be surprised to learn that it’s simple to do, yet can bring powerful results. Creating the circumstances around your journal session (when you actually sit down to write) plays a big factor, but so does the kind of writing you do… you may be tempted to rant and rave for page after page- but after 15 minutes- do you typically feel better or worse? Let me share tools and tips for effective, satisfying, and healing journaling so that you can let go of whatever is stressing you out. (reminder: Journaling coaching focuses on the tools and techniques to satisfying journal keeping, not on your writing content, using the Write Yourself In method, as well as choosing the goals for your Wordcatching journal session.

TO REGISTER: click the CONTACT tab with the name of the class you’d like to register for, to join. Full payment will be due within 24 hours of the class, so that you can receive the Zoom link. Paypal strongly preferred, but we can make other arrangements (ability to offer online financial transactions coming soon). You will be contacted after receiving your initial registration email.

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Past and current classes include:

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William King Museum of Art Abingdon, VA

Class: Visioning
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What do you envision for the coming year? For your future? Join Carolyn in a workshop exploring collage to create tableaus that visualize your plans, goals, hopes, and dreams for the future. Create a tableau to help set a general intention or to visualize specific steps to achieve a milestone. Supplies included.
Instructor: Carolyn Koesters

Email lbridges@wkmuseum.org or call 276.628.5005 ext 109 to register.
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Write Yourself In During each class, we will write, have opportunities for discussion, and explore simple but powerful reflective writing exercises. interior whitetop yoga.jpg

Whitetop Yoga Abingdon VA
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Every time we approach the page, our minds may be full, of questions, or conflict, or curiosity, and the act of putting pen to page can calm that busyness. Once we “write ourselves in” we can more easily reflect on the language we use, the story we are telling ourselves, and possibly, identify any changes we are seeking.  Some of the themes covered over the year will include: transition, gratitude, identity, relationships, and memories. Each week, suggested prompts for at-home reflective writing will be offered.
During each class, we will write, have opportunities for discussion, and explore simple but powerful reflective writing exercises. Each class is open for drop in, or take all 11 in the series for a special “perfect attendance” treat!

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Start your New Year off with creativity, reflection, and community!  In this workshop, participants will create a one-of -a -kind handmade personal journal in which to explore, focus on, and celebrate a chosen word for 2019. Carolyn will guide participants with thoughtful prompts and exercises. New art journaling techniques will be demonstrated, and a variety of different papers and materials including stamps, metallic markers, watercolors, paint, stickers and more will be on hand to experiment with. To learn more about Carolyn, visit her website at : www.wordcatching.com.

Participants may also choose to receive additional monthly email prompts throughout the year to invite reconnection to the journal, create a small online community through Facebook, and capture how the chosen word reveals itself throughout the year. There is also potential for a 6-month in person check-in over the summer to see how your journal has progressed! This class is suitable for all levels, ages 12 and over. The cost is $35 and includes all materials. There is room for 20 participants in the class. Those interested in registering for the workshop should contact the Art Center at 276-596-9188, and pay via credit card, or stop by the Arts Center during regular business hours Tuesday- Friday: 12-6pm; and Saturday: 10am-6pm. We will be closed December 25-January 1st, and will reopen on January 2nd. Come join us!

See More

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Image may contain: sky, tree and outdoorWilliam King Museum of ArtAbingdon, VA

wordcatcher 2019.jpgIn this workshop, you will create a personal journal, made with 12 recycled tabbed file folders, for you to explore, focus on, and celebrate a word for 2019 of your choosing. This workshop will provide ample time for responding to thoughtful prompts, trying new art journal techniques, playing with color and paper, and creating your own one-of-a-kind “wordcatcher” for 2019. Participants may choose to receive additional email prompts monthly throughout the year to invite you to reconnect to your journal, create a small online community through FB, and capture how the word you have chosen reveals itself throughout the year. Potential 6-month in person check-in over the summer to see how your journal has progressed! Perfect for all levels, ages 12 and over. All supplies provided, but you can bring your own for extra flair. Come join us! Carolyn Koesters www.wordcatching.comClass: Wordcatcher Books
Instructor: Carolyn Koesters

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William King Museum of Art Abingdon, VA

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Class: Journal Cards

Instructor: Carolyn Koesters

This workshop focuses on the process of finding inspiration through printed words, magazine clippings, etc.and creating your own catalog or “card deck” of visual prompts to guide your personal journaling, creative writing sessions, or perhaps even a meditative or devotional practice. The card deck you create can be customized to a size that suits your needs. Store your personalized deck in a special box brought from home, or store the deck in a small box provided to workshop participants. Materials provided, but you are welcome to bring your own favorite supplies too.

To register call (276) 628-5005 ext. 109 by 2/4 Monday

email lbridges@wkmuseum.org or call 276.628.5005 ext 109 to register.
Also loved working with Elderspirit and Birthplace of County Music Museum in 2019! Stay Tuned!

****PAST WORKSHOPS 2018****

Life Is A Verb Camp/#workshops with Patti Digh

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November 1-4 Kanuga Retreat Center Hendersonville, NC

The only constant is change: Navigating Transition through Poem-writing, with Carolyn Koesters

Embrace your personal transition through journaling and poetry. Journal prompts for self-reflection are offered for careful investigation of your transition, and to prepare your heart for the creation of a new poem you will write to help guide you with your change. Using a contemporary poem exploring themes universal to all women- identity, power, change, loss, and relationships, we will springboard into a rich conversation, writing, and connection.

9/23/18 Sunday 1:30-3:30 Personal Journaling (Introductory)

This is where it all begins… notebook and pen. Develop tools for deeper self-reflection, personal growth, and memory-keeping. I’ve loved teaching this Wordcatching workshop for over 20 years, and can’t wait to help you explore the simple but powerful tool of putting pen to paper. Bring your journal, mug of tea, and a favorite pen or two.

bullet journal 20179/30/18 Sunday 1:30-3:30 Personal Journaling (In-depth)

Designed for the advanced or experienced journaler who would like to deepen their writing practice in new and uncomplicated ways. Learn how to approach the page beyond “Dear Diary…” with ample time for responding to thoughtful prompts. Take your personal writing to the next level. Bring your journal, mug of tea, and a favorite pen or two. (Wordcatching 1 not required.)

DSCN242410/14/18 Sunday 1:30-3:30 Art Journaling

Express yourself through color, paint, stencils, markers, and collage in a freeform creative space that sometimes goes where you never expected. No artistic experience necessary- just a curiosity to follow your thoughts,memories, and feelings! Materials you may want to bring: your favorite tote of creative tools: tape, scissors, glue, markers, papers, coloring supplies, ribbon, chocolate, etc.
$25 per class

email lbridges@wkmuseum.org or call 276.628.5005 ext 109 to register.

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Other Classes Available for Groups or Individuals:

The Gifts of Poetry

The Gifts of Poetry uses language through poetry, journals and literature for healing and personal growth. Each class leads students to experience a poem in a “non-English class” kind of way.  What matters in poetry therapy is simply the personal response to the poem. Can be offered in one-time sessions or in multiple-week series. Classes will last 1.5 hours and will include at least one writing exercise, discussion, and closing activity.

Target: anyone, no poetry experience needed.

Memoir /Life Story Writing

Ever wanted to create the story of your life? It’s easier to connect the dots with a step by step method, inspired by Ira Progoff’s SteppingStones exercise. Each class will focus on generating the stories and details that make your life story come alive… for years to come. Each class includes a private session with the instructor to set each writer’s outline for the rest of the class.

Target: anyone, no previous experience needed. 

Wordcatching 1

The Wordcatching 1 class explores writing techniques and journal ideas for both beginning and regular journalers, discovering fresh and innovative writing and visioning concepts for life expression, goal setting, and creativity. Workbook included.

Target: anyone, no previous experience needed.

Wordcatching 2

The Wordcatching 2 class is designed to take the devoted/advanced journaler to the edge of the journal page and fly. Push the limits visually and thematically and discover tools for deep writing, healing, and also journal organization. Workbook included.

Target: moderate to advanced journalers.

Poetry for Women in Transition

This class focuses on your personal language in two ways: through journaling and poetry. Journal techniques for self-reflection will be offered for writers of all levels. We use contemporary poems exploring themes universal to all women- identity, power, change, loss, and relationships. Join us for a rich conversation and celebrate the words in everyday life.

10 Poems to Open Your Heart

Easy, accessible poetry that speaks straight to your heart. There will be no counting anapests or trochees in this class! What matters in this conversational, easy-going setting is simply your personal response to words on the page. Each session includes some writing time and a group discussion. We will be using, as well as other selections, poems from Roger Housden’s book 10 Poems to Open Your Heart, (however, the text is not required).

Naming and Working with your Creative Block (The Rumpelstiltskin Method)

Name and claim the power of your Creative Block and what its purpose might be for you. You might be surprised at the answer! Learn techniques, tools, and tricks to make your Creative Block run for the hills! (For more about the Rumplestiltskin Method, read Journaling Truth #3.)

Target: anyone, no previous experience needed.

Additional classes for adults and/or modified for children over 8:

Creative mini-journal and bookmaking

Introduction to Journaling (create a journal and get started!)

Art Journaling

Scrapbooking

Collage on Canvas

Personal Card collage

Visionboarding/Mindmapping (focused collage on one theme)

Wishwriting (Guided goalsetting)