Online | Open-Genre | Seminar

1-Day Open-Genre Seminar: Caretaking & Creative Practice

The notion that caretaking is in conflict with and of lesser value than creative practice is a product of patriarchal capitalist thought. Parenting and other forms of caretaking, like writing, are forms of creative labor. Within its constraints are the materials for imaginative and sustainable models for an artist’s life and work.

This workshop is a generative, participatory, shared space for writers with all levels of experience. Through discussion, reading, and writing, we will examine the realities and possibilities of the writing life for parents and caretakers, acknowledging experiences of ambivalence, isolation, loss, and “unprofessionalism.” We’ll look at work by writers such as Jazmina Barrera, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Julie Phillips for models to guide our discussion. We will brainstorm systems of mutual encouragement and support and re-examine our writing obstacles as doorways into new material.

While this session will speak most directly to the experience of parents, the prompts, exercises, and strategies will be useful to all writers who negotiate rich artistic practices alongside full, demanding lives, no children required.

Writers will leave this class with a deeper understanding of writing practices that will fit within their real lives, a sense of connection with other writers who are navigating the same demanding landscape, and renewed energy toward their work.

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- Connect with and be in community with other writer--caretakers

- Identify structures, habits, and forms to support your writing practice within the life you have now

- Fortify your relationship with your artistic identity and reinvigorate your writing

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


In an effort to create a community-minded space, sharing our personal experiences, as well as the writing generated in our session, is highly encouraged and, of course, optional. A willingness to innovate and problem-solve with others will enhance our collective experience.



Lecture/Pep Talk

Prompt #1

Close Reading & Discussion

Prompt #2

Close Reading & Discussion

Prompt #3

Group/Small Group Discussion


Sarah McColl

Sarah McColl is the author of the memoir, JOY ENOUGH (Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company, 2019), as well as LOST ART, a newsletter about the creative work of (mostly) dead women. Her essays have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and StoryQuarterly, and her food writing has been widely published in Bon Appetit, House Beautiful, and Food52, among others. She’s the recipient of fellowship awards from the Millay Colony, Ucross, Vermont Studio Center, and MacDowell, where she was named the 2017 Mary Carswell Fellow. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Northern California.


“I felt like you set the bar high for how thoughtfully and carefully you approached each one of the pieces, especially when it came to concrete, creative ways of expanding on what was there. I felt pushed and inspired to think about not just what was already there, but what else could be there."

former student

“From the readings to the generative prompts and lively discussions, I came away feeling refreshed and invigorated not only to write and read, but to make writing an important part of my daily routine. I'm grateful to you for helping me to feel alive and curious again."

former student

"I can't tell you how much fun I'm having with writing this week. Not to be dramatic but my life has been completely transformed?! The knock-on effect on my mood and my motivation and even my patience in parenting is really noticeable. I'm amazed and delighted and so, so grateful to you."

former student

"McColl is adept at evocative images that protract the moments of her story and land with sudden, crystalline perfection."


"An unforgettable debut"

Erin Shea LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)

"Written with enough beauty to stop clocks ticking and heart's beating.... McColl's resonant first book is resplendent with love, and the hope she finds in discovering that her unfathomable grief also carved a space for more profound joy."

Annie Bostrom BOOKLIST (starred review)

"McColl's argument — that these small moments make up a life, that these small moments are life — is persuasive, and it is presented with humor and charm. This is a book about an extraordinary figure who was a housewife, mother and divorcée. The word 'mother' doesn’t entirely do her justice, and yet that’s what this memoir does: does her justice, in more than a summarizing word."


"Stunningly original writing...exquisite"