It’s a creative act – writing down our thoughts, feelings and life events.  Taking the blurred feeling of what disturbs us, and using the raw materials of the artist – metaphor, symbol, emotion, image – we can have a conversation with what we don’t know we don’t know. We get closer to the core of our life story.  When we practise being in the ‘download’ of the creative space, we provide a conduit for new information.  Material arrives on the page to help us understand who we are, how we got to this point and how to proceed.

While it may be therapeutic and have an element of catharsis, the process of writing a memoir is not therapy.  Like all art, writing creates something that has a transformative effect through its own intrinsic value, turning straw into gold. By writing our life stories, we get to see them from a new perspective and are able to reflect upon them. Regular creative practice is a powerful tool to manage anxiety and to grow confidence.

We offer a variety of life writing courses in a range of formats – please have a look at the upcoming courses below and contact us with any questions you may have.

If learning how to write your life stories appeals to you, here are 5 different courses that approach life-writing from 5 different perspectives and entry-points. Our courses are open to all.


Life Writing

We all have a story to tell from our own lives about how we became who we are. Stories about the way we were born, or about how someone helped us. About how we got ill, or overcame a terrible loss. Stories about how someone we loved hurt us, or how a political or spiritual circumstance almost broke us. Stories about how we were bullied, about how an accident changed the course of our lives, or about how we were able to make a difference in someone else’s life. These stories are often invisible to others. They might still influence the way we think and feel in ways we don’t fully understand.

Writing about your own life can help you connect with the story you are living and it can help to heal or manage the effects of trauma. It is a powerful way for us to communicate and to grow compassion for ourselves and for each other. The tools we need to write effectively are also tools that help us live more creatively and less anxiously. Whether you are writing fiction or plays or poetry, life writing skills can help you deepen observation of our human preferences, habits and tendencies, and how they impact on ourselves, other people, and the natural environment.

During the course we will find refreshing approaches to assist us in putting our personal stories down on the page.

Beginner writers are welcome and discounted and sponsored places are available to those in need.

To bring: a notebook and a pen, plus two objects from the period you want to write about – one that represents something you loved about it and one that represents something you disliked about that time.

We provide: tea, coffee and snacks.

Course Dates:


Muizenberg, Cape Town

Memoir Course

Friday October 25th to Sunday October 27th, 9am – 3pm daily

Course Fees: R2 500

Course Facilitator: Dawn Garisch



The School, Highway West Road, Rheenendal, Knysna

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th of November, 9am to 3pm daily

Course Fee : R2 500

Course Facilitator: Dawn Garisch

Accommodation booking via janet@traffikstudio.co.za


The Karoo Rest

Thursday November 14th to Sunday November 17th, 9am – 3pm daily

Arrive by 5pm on 14 November and finish by lunch on 17 November.

Course Fees:  R3 800 to R6 000 depending on accommodation choice.

Bursary applications close 25 September 2019.

Workshop fee includes delicious farm style meals, comfy accommodation and excellent facilitation.

Course Facilitator: Dawn Garisch

Bookings via The Karoo Rest


Table View, Cape Town

Memoir Course

Friday November 15th to Sunday November 17th, 9am – 3pm daily

Course Fee: R2 500

Course Facilitator: Giles Griffin

Life Writing Poetry

Poetry courses

I want to share an approach
to poetry that’s taught me
how to play with rhythm
and meaning, following words
and traces of feeling
to make new tracks.
Acts of poetry guide me,
linking the tides of my body
and instinct with new ways
of thinking, moving across
from life to the page
and back.

Our poetry courses are open to all and discounted and sponsored places are available to those in need.

To bring: a notebook and a pen, plus thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary, if you have one.

We provide: tea, coffee and snacks.

Next Course Dates TBC.

My Life As A Work of Fiction

We all have unfinished business. We lie awake at night, not knowing how to proceed in a difficulty, our thoughts looping. We have done everything we can to try to resolve a seemingly insoluble problem. Writing can be helpful, bringing new information to the surface, changing anxiety into curiosity, and providing relief and well-being. We will start by identifying core conflicts in your life. These can feel too intransigent or overwhelming to write as memoir, or you might just want to explore them using a different tool. Giving the dilemma to fictional characters can provide the distance you need to expand and intensify the dramatic tensions, and to let the story unfold.

Imagination can switch off the rational, list-making, treadmill mind, allowing what we don’t know we don’t know about the situation to emerge.

You are welcome to stay with writing memoir as a means to explore and deepen your inquiry into the themes that bind your life. Beginner writers are welcome.

This is a 3-day course running over a weekend Fri- Sun from 9am – 3pm

Course Dates

Next Course Dates TBC

Course Facilitator: Dawn Garisch

How to book >

Book Completion Course

What are you writing about underneath what you are writing about? What story are you living through memoir or fiction? What is the best way to tell it?

This course is for writers who have done a Memoir Course and already have a folder of work. Over six consecutive Sunday evenings, you will discover more about the relationship between form, content and the underlying theme, and how to tell the story more effectively.

This course takes place over 6 consecutive Sunday evenings from 3.30pm – 7pm.

As this is intensive small group work, numbers will be limited. Please commit to at least five of the six sessions, as this is a process that requires continuity.

Course Dates

Kalk Bay, Cape Town

July 14th & 21st, August 18th, September 1st, 15th & 22nd

Six Sundays, 3.30 – 7pm


How to book >

Root: Exploring Nature & Nurture

In this experimental and experiential writing course, we will explore our relationship with the natural world. We have done damage to ourselves and the environment by constructing the idea that human beings are separate from nature. Even our language betrays this attitude – we speak of nature and the environment as though it is ‘out there’.

The creative mind is a natural space where we can remake connections with the source of life as inclusive and sensory. Writing into our relationship with the elements, our habitat, natural cycles and with life in all forms can help us live in a responsive and responsible way, taking better care of the two homes we inhabit until we die – our bodies and the earth.

*The first course will take place hiking in a wilderness area near Hermanus over four days and can accommodate three people of medium fitness.

*The second course will take place in Cape Town on four consecutive Wednesdays from 2pm – 8pm. This course can accommodate twelve participants and does not require fitness.

Next Course Dates TBC.

Book a course

Please email us at admin@liferighting.com. A deposit of R500 secures your place. Please send Proof of payment to the above address. Please use your full name and the course dates [eg: 5-9NOV] as your reference.


Name: Life Righting Collective; bank: ABSA (cheque account); branch: 632005; account 40 9382 6013


Discounted and sponsored places are available to those in need; an application form will be sent on request from admin@liferighting.com. Although the LRC would gladly accept every application, you may be placed on a waiting list as funds allow only limited sponsored places per course. We ask you to consider deeply how you value the course and to ask for your discount accordingly. We also ask anyone who is offered such a place to honour this gift through full attendance, as these opportunities are limited and last minute cancellations usually result in lost opportunities for others.

  • Your place is reserved when you have paid a R500 deposit and sent Proof of Payment (with your full name and course dates as your reference)
  • Participants can sponsor a place with an additional R800 contribution.
  • Request an application form for discounted places on our courses.
  • Honour your discounted or sponsored place.