Get Started! with Janine

All levels. All genres. 

4 Sundays 6:00-7:30 pm at Orinda Books

January 19, 26 & February 2, 9

$175 / Questions and to Register:

Email Janine

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain.

Class will focus on discovering "starts"--from opening lines to the beginning pages of stories and essays, to, perhaps, the opening of a longer work of memoir or fiction. We will look closely at voice and how quickly we can recognize an author's authentic voice, as well as our own. For writers with experience, this class offers support as you "re-start" or consider revision of your work. We will practice the workshop method, giving/receiving notes, and I will provide feedback along the way. You will select a piece of your writing and distribute it to the class for a more extensive workshop. A willingness to listen closely, exchange ideas, and not take things too seriously will help you get the most out of class.

Body, Mind, and Soul—Writing Self

(1 spot left)

with Andrea at the writing studio

Wednesdays, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

February 19 - March 25

$300 / Questions and to Register:

Email Andrea


In this class, we will use our own life experience to inspire our writing of personal essay and memoir. We’ll also explore autofiction—where the lines between memoir, autobiography, and fiction blur. Here’s your chance to rewrite your story :-) We will write in (freewrites) and out of class (prompts) and workshop our writing in a fun and supportive environment. This class is deal for writers looking for motivation and structure and learning more about the craft specific to these genres.


 Read and Write Widely—

the Place to Start

with Andrea at the writing studio

Thursdays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am

February 20 - March 26

$300 / Questions and to Register:

Email Andrea

 "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot," says Stephen King. 

This is a generative class focused on getting your words on the page, reading as a writer, and understanding the elements of writing craft. And having fun too. We will read widely and across genres: short stories, essays, excerpts of memoir and novels, and poetry. The class will include weekly freewrites and prompts, plus the opportunity to share your writing in a warm and supportive workshop. Ideal for writers looking for a start, motivation, a place to reconnect, community and feedback. Open to all genres.


Diablo Writers’ Workshop brings adult writers of all ages and experience together with the goal of inspiring and guiding them to discover their stories and succeed in telling them. We keep our classes small to provide room for expression and lots of individual attention.


Our Writing from Life Experience series of classes center around a themes, like time, conflict, and lessons from contemporary writers, and all include stimulating readings, in-class writing exercises, prompts to motivate your writing outside of class, and a workshop to share your writing. Plus, Janine and Andrea provide a detailed analysis of each student’s workshop piece along with a written critique.


Moving forward, we plan to offer half-day and full-day writing retreats where we will journal, do some yoga, and dig deep into the writing process.


Whether you’re drawn to fiction, nonfiction, memoir, essay or poetry—we offer a supportive environment where you can take risks while expanding your awareness of both writing and reading as a writer. With camaraderie we will strive to make vivid and powerful work. Most importantly we will honor the rigor and joy of the creative process by working hard but not taking ourselves too seriously.

who we are

Established by Andrea A. Firth and Janine deBoisblanc, both alumni of the St. Mary’s College of California’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, Diablo Writers’ Workshop is committed to making professional level classes accessible East of the tunnel, allowing you to more easily make writing a priority in your life. We offer daytime and evening classes in two convenient locations—at the independent bookstore Orinda Books and at a writing studio in Moraga.


Janine deBoisblanc holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. With experience teaching English at the college level, she is passionate

Andrea Firth has been a freelance writer and journalist for over twenty years and has taught writing in both the college and community settings.

about helping writers express themselves through both creative nonfiction and fiction. She is particularly interested in autobiographical works and how stories find their ideal form.

A graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in drama, Janine brings a love for the performing arts to her creative writing process. She cares deeply about developing strong characters and exciting scenes set against cinematic backgrounds. She is currently working on a memoir about dreams, sacrifices, and the pursuit of art. Janine is thrilled to be a part of the bookselling team at Orinda Books.

Andrea believes that we all have interesting stories to tell—finding those stories and how best to frame them, through memoir, personal essay, or fiction, is what excites her about teaching. She helps writers learn how to “read as a writer” and edit their work too.

Andrea has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. Inspired by a handful of old family photos, Andrea recently completed a collection of essays, which explores beginnings, endings, and the hardship and happiness that lies in between.