Discover more from Co-Authored
Season 4: A More Beautiful Question
A month-long journey into the creative power of inhabiting big questions
Foster Seasons are guided, communal experiences that help writers come alive and do their truest, most courageous work. Over four weeks of facilitation, workshops, and peer coaching, we’ll help you refine your voice as a writer, and get unstuck from patterns of perfectionism and doubt. At the end, we’ll each hit publish on a piece of writing we’re deeply proud of.
Season 4 runs from October 16th - November 10th, 2023, and the deadline to apply is Friday October 13th. You’ll find the full story of this Season’s theme below, and if you’re interested in joining us, apply here.
How might we breathe life into our writing, so that our words leap off the page into the hearts and minds of readers? And how might our writing practice, in turn, help us feel more alive in our day-to-day existence, and become more fully ourselves?
These two questions live at the heart of everything we do at Foster. Yet they’re elusive, slippery, shapeshifting. Like all ambitious lines of inquiry, they resist our attempts to slap easy answers on them. We call this category of question—the ones that are magnetically resonant, yet seemingly impossible to answer—FUQs, or Frequently Unanswered Questions.
Here are few examples of personal FUQs from Foster’s stewards:
How can I be the change I want to see in marketing and media?)
How can I attune my attention in service of love & beauty?)
Is it possible to change the system from within it?)
How can we live so that our internal fire continues to rage well into middle age and beyond?)
How might I reconcile my relationships with religion, God, and Truth?)
When confronted with a FUQ, it’s human nature to rush towards the nearest definitive answer. After all, uncertainty sucks. It’s uncomfortable. Yet by diffusing the tension, we drain the question of its power, and close ourselves off from the creative possibilities lying dormant within it. The only winning move, as Rainer Maria Rilke so eloquently put it, is to “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
To live a question, however, is not the same thing as exploring it intellectually. Staying in our heads is the safe, easy path. No, to inhabit a question fully is to bring it from your head down into your body, and allow it to guide you into new choices you wouldn’t otherwise make. Inhabiting a question means being with tension, and relating to uncertainty as a gift instead of a problem to be solved. That’s how new possibilities—both for our writing, and our lives more broadly—begin to emerge. It’s an alchemical process, which can only occur when we choose to dance with the mystery, and allow it to guide us somewhere unexpected.
This is the path we’ll be walking together in Season 4: A More Beautiful Question.
Over four weeks of guided facilitation, workshops, and peer coaching, we will each discover the questions that resonate at our core, and begin to inhabit them. We’ll use our words not to declare answers, but to expand our sense of possibility. We’ll live our questions together, in community, using them as fuel for our liveliest writing.
When the season concludes, each of us will hit publish on an artifact from our explorations. This will not be the end, however, but the beginning of a larger journey of inhabiting your questions, and allowing them to carry your writing and life forward.
Our Season 4 journey will be rooted in an ecology of practices designed to help us be with our questions, instead of merely intellectualizing them.
Mindfulness and meditation create the stillness through which we can sift through the noise of life, and discover the questions that resonate at our core.
Somatic experiencing expands our capacity to be with challenging feelings that arise when inhabiting hard questions, without judgment or shame.
Improvisation and playfulness help us hold our questions lightly, explore them without expectation, and be more open to whatever unfolds.
Craft and revision guide us toward precision of language, so that we can best express the stories within us that yearn to be shared.
Beyond these practices, every Season comes with a wealth of pragmatic tools to help writers move from initial idea to published piece. We’ve fine-tuned these tools over years to help people move through common pitfalls like writer’s block, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, and more.
Authoring Circles are a dedicated container for doing the writing that matters to you. We run over a dozen sessions each week, so you’ll have plenty of time and space to actually write.
Participatory workshops align with the theme of each week and help you develop new writing skills, and explore new perspectives.
Peer coaching enables thought partnership and leaves writers with the skills to support each other long into the future
Professional editing through Foster’s network of editors provides the feedback and revision necessary for polished published works
Season 4 begins October 16th.
It costs $1,111 upfront or $111/month through a payment plan.
Limited scholarships available
Each week of A More Beautiful Question combines a foundational creative practice with a step forward on the journey of inhabiting and writing from our liveliest inquiries.
Week 1: Finding and inhabiting your most pressing questions
Powerful questions give us a sense of directionality. We may not know the exact destination or answer, but we can feel when a question is pulling us in a direction that’s meaningful and alive. In Week 1, we’ll discover the questions that will act as a compass throughout the rest of the Season.
Foundational practice: meditation and mindfulness
Daily guided meditations
Dan Hunt on silence as the backdrop of story
Rob Hardy on the anatomy of a beautiful question
Surprise Guest on inhabiting a nexus of questions
Week 2: Feeling into inquiries with somatic resonance and experiencing
We inhabit questions not only with our minds, but also with our bodies. In Week 2 we will feel into what arises when we sit with the complexities of our lives and creative work, and use that as a jumping off point for playful exploration.
Foundational practices: somatic experiencing and embodiment
Andrew Thomas on the truth-telling power of emotions
Sara Campbell on channeling anger to spark ideas for resonant work
Lyle McKeany & Alex Dobrenko on vulnerability and levity
Steph Soussloff on embodiment and play for creativity and enlivenment
Professional editing through the Foster App
Week 3: Deepening the expression of your questions through the craft of writing and revision
There are many ways to frame a question. Each frame, and each word we choose, creates a slightly different creative cocktail. We'll pay close attention to the words we're using to explore our questions and how they might impact our writing, and we’ll invite others into our creative process to help us revise.
Foundational practices: freewriting and revision
Ellen Fishbein on COMPOSE
Jordan Jones on revision as spiritual practice
Professional editing through Foster App
Week 4: Finding resonant others and cultivating community around your writing
The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance, can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer." —CS Lewis
Rob Hardy on building your online oasis
Dan Hunt on Internet as Practice
Minnow Park on cultivating a safe space for curiosity
Wait, what even is a Season???
“Seasons” are month-long initiations into the magic of writing and storytelling. They are somewhere between a course, bootcamp, summer camp, accelerator, and hogwarts, and yet, not quite any of these things.
After stewarding hundreds of writers and thousands of drafts through our ecosystem, we’ve developed a unique methodology to harness the transformative power of writing and authentic expression. Seasons not only help writers publish their truest, most courageous work, but they also reliably result in breakthroughs in writers’ personal and professional lives as well. We’ve distilled the essentials of this method into a four week process, and we run the experience a few times per year.
Each Season has a unique theme, and this time, we’re leaning into the transformative power of questions. This Season’s journey will guide us to uncover a resonant question, feel into it, sit with it, explore and revise it. And ultimately, we’ll publish a story that springs from our deepest curiosities.
While Seasons are intended to be self-contained experiences, they also serve as an entry point into Foster’s lifelong community of practice. This includes ongoing support in the form of our foundational writing ritual, peer coaching and professional editing, which are provided for a year following the Season.
If you have any other questions about Season 4, just leave them in a comment below, and we’ll get back to you asap.