I hired Jen because I was ready to make a commitment to my writing. She is a terrific reader and her grace-filled and professional feedback has been inspiring and terrifically helpful. She is gifted at unsticking the stuck, and as stuckness can be a life condition as well as a writing condition, Jen's counsel actually helped me out of a tightly wedged way of seeing my life! She seeks and shares delight. She's fierce. She's a great coach.
Meg Van Buren
Jen is that rare and precious gem of a coach, cheerleader, butt-kicker, and hand-holder we all long to meet and invite into our writing lives!
I hired Jen because I had a story in my heart and journals that I wanted to tell but had no idea where to begin. Jen gave me courage to start. Her astute questions cause me to dig deeper and carefully guide me to the more authentic version of what I want to say. Her positive comments encourage me to keep going, and I greatly appreciate the flexibility Jen has allowed me. I have loved my interaction with Jen. The only frustration has been that I don’t have more time to work with her!
Jen listened deeply and provided me with just the right kind of encouragement and accountability to move my writing forward. Jen is brilliant at tapping into my inner pool of creative potential in ways that are engaging and funny and that always enliven my spirit and inspire me to a fuller expression of my voice as a writer.
Two weeks in, and this is already feeling beyond anything I ever knew I hoped for. Thank you!
Jen Violi is such a great combination of nurturer and pragmatist. She strikes the perfect balance between pushing writing forward and remembering that, most importantly, all writing distinguishes itself through voice. She understands this implicitly, and she digs in to excavate the voice that waits inside each writer. She honors that voice and works with her writers to best draw it out in a way that feels safe. She allowed me to move forward and believe in myself.
When I realized that I needed some help to get a draft of my novel completed, and doing it on my own usually ended up with me rubbing the dog's furry belly instead, I started asking some of my other writer friends for a resource, and I kept hearing Jen's name over and over. She truly has been amazing, providing me with advice, suggestions, direction, encouragement, encouragement (yeah, I said it twice), and has helped me bring my sprawling mess of an idea closer to fruition that I had thought possible. Hire her. You won't regret it.
Louise Gussin, J.D.
Jen inspires me to put to paper extraordinary thoughts about the most ordinary parts of my life. The heart, not the pen, is now my primary tool.
I came to Jen with the desire to be a writer, the desire to capture in words the experiences of my life. With her guidance, I learned to explore and write more deeply about emotions and details. Jen was with me, providing encouragement and challenging me to do more to go deeper—doing so would provide my readers with a more compelling story.
I was in need of some editorial feedback to jump start revisions on my book and help me through writer's block, but was nervous about finding someone who could give me the useful, in-depth critique I needed while also understanding I need encouragement, too. As soon as I met Jen, I wanted to work with her -- she was fun and friendly and instantly put me at ease. Her critique was extensive and insightful but also gave me the reassurance and courage to take my story apart and rebuild it (something I think I knew I needed to do, but was too overwhelmed to actually tackle). Even though I know her critiques are going to mean I have a lot work ahead of me, instead of being discouraged and overwhelmed, her input makes me feel excited and reinvigorated to dive right back in to my story. Working with Jen has not only helped make my story better, it's helped make my writing better.
Working with Jen Violi was the best investment I made in my business the entire year. She is a Goddess with words, and an amazing writing coach who will get your story out of you. Before we worked together, I felt boring and un-original. I didn't know my story could inspire others. After we worked together, I felt like I truly connect with others who share a similar story to mine. This makes my work with smart women entrepreneurs that much more impactful. After spending thousands of dollars elsewhere to try and figure out exactly what made me unique, I credit Jen for helping discover my true brand identity that is authentically me. Jen is worth every single penny and more. Hire this woman...she will bring your story out of you faster than you ever thought possible.
Jen has a wonderful and patient way of getting me to find out what I need to do to get the words out of me. The words had been stuck inside me for a long time, although I knew I had a book to write. Since coaching with Jen, I have felt a wonderful flow of words. She has supported me to find out what works for me and led me through the creative process of discovering what could come next. One of the best things I’ve done – highly recommended.
I'm so happy! I want to print out your feedback all out and roll around on the bed with it like they did with the money in that movie Indecent Proposal! Thank you so much!
Ann Charles Watts
Thank you so much, Jen! The biggest benefit from our work together was the actual written developmental edit report. I just love all your insights, and I can’t wait to read it ten more times. The next biggest benefits were the fact that you were flexible with payment plans, open about communication, and willing to negotiate timelines to ensure that the final product met both our creative needs.
I cannot tell you what timely and welcome input this is. I had begun to lose faith in the value of a professional reader/editor/conversation partner. And yet, I feel incredibly blessed by the level of care, specificity, and generosity you brought to my work. I feel energized and hopeful–your comments and suggestions are all resonant and achievable!
The great thing about Jen is that she never tries to hijack your work and make it sound like her—instead she strives to help the writer develop the story into her own vision. She is one of my go-to people with questions about short stories and novel work, and I count on her opinion quite heavily. Jen Violi is a fantastic writer and a fantastic person to boot. We should all be so lucky to have someone like Jen in our creative arsenals.
When I was looking for an editor to put the final polish to my book, I asked several associates for references and every single one said "Jen Violi." I was completely convinced that Jen was the perfect fit when we chatted over Skype. We connected immediately and I knew I could trust her with my book. She had me digging deep and stirred up some deep feeling which made this book so much better. I felt like Jen was as invested in my "Why" for writing this book as I was.
I hired Jen because I valued being in the workshop that she taught plus the weekend retreat I attended. After we worked together, I was more motivated and eager to write. Plus the fact that we always have fun!
I needed someone to edit my chapter submission to a new book. Jen had edited my friend’s book and when I met her at an event, her energy, confidence and writing style was a match for me. I bought her book and loved her writing style. She took my words and made magic; I’m thrilled with the results. I’m looking forward to Jen helping me with my own book project later this year.
Nancy M. Thurston
Jen honored my voice and sent me back to keep diving deeper and get clearer over and over again. Big Topics at Midnight is a stronger, brighter and more beautiful book because Jen’s beautiful hands touched the book and my life. I am forever grateful.
While writing my memoir, I reached a point where I was searching for a story editor. Jen Violi came highly recommended by some close friends. After our first conversation, I knew Jen was the one to help bring my story to life. Before I hired her, my story was "all over the place" and I felt a bit untethered. During our work together, she helped me focus on the story that mattered and needed to be told. Through the entire process Jen was supportive, fun and helped me power through many tough days of writing. I couldn't have finished without her. She nurtured and supported me during emotional times and pushed me when I needed it. I am so proud of my memoir and much of that is due to Jen's direction!
Jen not only saw the value of my story but gave editorial advice on how to round out the story's potential. This was crucial in creating a truly good book that I am now confident in sending to literary agents. I could never have done this without Jen.
Jen Violi is by far the best developmental editor ever. She works magic in helping you create a piece that is so clearly you, your voice and your words. She is professional and on track. She is gifted, talented, dedicated and more—she is concerned with the writer’s work as though it is her own. What more can you ask for? If you are able to work with Jen, make it so. You will be forever grateful, and your success is imminent if you do the work.
Program: Discover the Book You’re Meant to Write
DTB with Jen has given me the structure and push that I needed to actually start writing my story. Being accountable each week has been tremendously helpful and I always eagerly look forward to the thoughtful feedback. I would never have gotten here so easily on my own, yet the beauty is that now I feel I have the tools necessary to move forward on my own.
Jennifer Garrison Brownell
I first came to Jen because, although I had written many short pieces, I was daunted about stringing them together into something longer. What I thought was a book project became a soul-transforming life project. Or maybe a life-transforming soul project. Discover The Book You're Meant to Write is an investment not only in your creative process, but in all of your life.
Through taking DTB, I got the boost I needed to finish a draft of my first book. She sent me editorial feedback on the draft, and honestly it took me almost a week to look at it. When I screwed up my courage to open the document, I was so grateful and inspired by her insights and comments. I could hardly wait to start revising!
The hardest part of signing up for a writing class is wondering if your voice will be heard and you’ll come away with your story, not one the teacher wants. So with all my vulnerability, I signed up for Jen’s DTB class, compelled to tell my stepmother story, knowing I couldn’t get there on my own. I came away with the outline and introduction to a kick-ass book with my ideas and stories refined and expanded.
Since the class, I've completed a full draft of my book and am preparing to share it with test readers, and Jen has been there, answering key questions and supporting me throughout the process.
Writing a book had been bouncing around in my head for a long time, but I never seemed to get traction with it&em;until I started DTB. This class was my favorite things I've done in years.
Kate Pagliasotti, MS, LAc
Jen Violi has a magical ability to craft a retreat that is both very spacious and very pointed in its intent. I came away from my time at the Story Watch Retreat amazed at how I was able to tap into my inner landscape and then bring forth my own voice &em; sometimes silly, sometimes with an edge. Jen’s guidance is deep and true.
Jen, I adore you. Plain and simple. You find the words that are lost in space and in my heart when I can't find them. You ask the best questions and I LOVE your writing prompts.
I came to the Story Watch Retreat because I knew there were some words that needed to be teased out and nourished. That is exactly what I got, plus your undivided attention and love. You make it easy to tell the story or sentences that want to come out because of your playful heart and the generosity that oozes out of you.
I attend retreats with Jen Violi as often as I can because she creates an environment that is the perfect combination of tough and love; focused and structured to please my accountable, fierce adult self who meets her writing goals….and nurturing and nourishing to safely bring my inner creative child out to play. I come out of her retreats with renewed energy and inspiration, and often, new work.
Jen's retreat gave me the sacred quiet time I've yearned for—to create, to write, to dream. The uplifting group sessions, the beauty of the Oregon Coast, the deep intention for silence and spaciousness gave me the creative inspiration I needed to make real progress on my book all weekend.
I'm an international sales speaker/coach and I write about business constantly but hardly ever make the time to write the personal essays and fiction that are close to my heart. I signed up for Jen’s retreat as it was the perfect opportunity to learn from her gentle yet powerful style and also to make time for my own writing. OMG &em; it was incredible! She really inspired a ton of new thoughts about writing, great exercises and it was absolutely worth the investment. My writing is on fire now!
I love how Jen combines ritual and writing. She knows how to create the right mood to get the creative juices flowing. I love how she uses her intuitive skills to know exactly what writing prompts to use. What followed next was simply pure magic and flow. It was amazing how easily the words spilled out on paper!
Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem,” has been on my mind lately. I mentioned Cohen’s lines to my creative writing class to emphasize that we are, none of us, perfect, nor is our work, but this imperfection should never stop us showing up. So when I saw Jen Violi’s “That’s How The Light Gets In” Solstice retreat, I had to order it as part of my radical self-care during the dark season. This retreat was just what I needed to help work through a big transition in my work life. In a cozy, candlelit hour on my sofa, nestled with a cup of tea and snacks, I found the apt image: Metaphorically, I’ve been gnawing on an empty bone, one that is no longer nourishing. As I wrote, I imagined letting it go, and moving on to what next bright shining work I'm meant to do...a strong visual image as I wrote. Jen’s gentle and supportive framework—and her wonderful opening and closing meditations—helped me make space for this important work. With her welcoming wisdom, she guided me through the darkness. I am so grateful for her offerings. Thank you, Jen!
I've had the pleasure of engaging in both Jen's in-person writing retreats and recently her DIY at-home retreat. Given my positive experience with the former, I wasn't sure how the latter would unfold. But I found a quiet hour for myself to write, wrapped a wool scarf around my neck, listened to Jen's recorded voice purr in my ear, and got to work writing for an hour. Her guided questions led me to reflect, write and discover a healthy helping of grace and gratitude. This retreat was a good way to bring the year to a close.
I truly enjoyed Jen's workshop. It was way out of my comfort zone, I must admit; but really good for me. I realize that I am so focused on getting things done and don't allow myself the time to just dream and contemplate. Note to self: schedule dreaming and creative writing time!
Jen's workshop didn't just jump-start my writing; it jump-started me. Sitting in a room of strangers and opening up my writing, my emotional baggage, and my soul was not something that I was ready to do ... but Jen had such a profoundly welcoming intimacy around her that when I was with her I could not feel that I was with strangers. I felt safe enough to dare anything, and to go far beyond anything I had thought to dare before.
I've watched Jen Violi work her magic with writing students first hand. She has the unique ability to critique and inspire synchronously, and she's helped to mold manuscripts into auctioned novels with her specific and direct advice. Jen is an incredibly warm person and utterly stellar as a writing guide. I can't recommend her enough!
John C. Wilson
Jen Violi has many talents, and they become immediately obvious when she enters a room. Her presentations are honest, direct, and come from the heart. As a guest panelist in my Seminar in Creative Writing & Publishing, she generously shared her experiences with my students and provided them much to chew on. In other contexts I’ve witnessed her ability to gently command an audience and intuit exactly what the participants need. She has substance, she has presence, and most importantly, she enlivens our shared humanity.
I have attended Jen's group workshops and met with her for one-on-one support. I would recommend her to anyone! No matter what your writing experience or background, you will find Jen to be a fabulous leader on your journey into your own writing and self awareness. Jen combines her authentic sense of encouragement with her incredible skill as writer and editor. Whether you are a confident and practiced writer looking for a critical eye for your work, or someone who writes whimsical lines in their journal for only that cat to read (like me), Jen will make you feel welcome and like you "belong" as an artist, while supporting your creative growth.