Sheila Bender is the founder and publisher of, a resource community for those who write from personal experience. She is the author of the poetry collection, Behind Us the Way Grows Wider, the prose memoir A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief and many books on writing, including Sorrow’s Words: Writing Exercises to Heal Grief, Writing in a Convertible with the Top Down, and Writing Personal Essays: Shaping and Sharing Your Life Experience. She was the 2013 Distinguished Guest Lecturer in Poetry at Seattle University and teaches for Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, WA where she lives, as well as for other writers’ conferences. Her motto when it comes to teaching the writing process is that as creators we must think this way: when you are drafting there is no such thing as bad writing, only the opportunity for good writing.