Tortured craft


There’s no pain like it. You can sit at a desk, typewriter, or computer, waiting, waiting, waiting for words that never come. Someone has said writing is just a matter of sitting in front of a blank page until you sweat blood. Michael Chabon, author of Wonder Boys, calls writer’s block the “midnight disease.” For those afflicted with that terrible malady, the Charlottesville Writing Center is ready to help.

According to its website, the non-profit Writing Center came into existence in 1996 to “provide affordable, high-quality writing instruction… in the Charlottesville area.” The Center offers programs ranging from creative writing workshops for children and young adults called Summer Writes, to the Downtown Reading Series, free public readings in conjunction with UVA’s Creative Writing Department. 

The Center also recently began publishing Streetlight, a journal of art and literature by authors and artists in Charlottesville and surrounding areas, which is currently accepting submissions in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, art, and photography.  


But the meat and potatoes of the Center are its Writing Workshops, and registration for the winter session is under way now. Local authors and storytellers such as Kathleen Phalen, syndicated by the L.A. Times, and Center director Browning Porter lead the workshops, which include a Poetry Workshop, an evening and weekend Fiction Workshop, a Creative Non-Fiction Workshop, The Art of Writing Memoir, and a workshop called Unleashing The Writer Within, dedicated to helping beginning writers and others delve into their creative subconscious and dredge up something to satisfy their writing urges. These classes are available to new and inexperienced writers as well as accomplished authors.

If you are a writer and looking for help, the Charlottesville Writing Center might be a good place to turn, so that instead of sitting, stuck, at your desk at midnight, you might actually sweat just sweat. 


The Charlottesville Writing Center offers Writing Workshops at their offices on Third Street, behind the Downtown Mall. Workshops begin daily throughout February and March; fees vary. Call 293-3702 for more information and to sign up.