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Welcome to my website! Here you’ll find samples of my writing and artwork. You can peruse my latest workshop offerings and presentations. All my writing and editing services are spelled out and you can also order my chapbook, Lost Handprint (Dandelion Press, 2017).

I am a former college English professor. I taught at Westfield State University in MA from 2003-2014. Before that, I was a writing instructor at Springfield College (MA) and Columbus State Community College (OH). I left my teaching position in 2014 in order to pursue my own creative endeavors. During the past few years, I have traveled around the country as well as France and Italy. In fact, last summer, just for the adventure, I took a job as a receptionist at The Cedar Pass Lodge in The National Badlands of South Dakota and had a wonderful experience!



Since leaving teaching, I have published my first book of poetry, finished my memoir manuscript, The Out of Body Girl, and staged a one woman art exhibit in Columbus, OH at Sean Christopher Gallery. Currently I am seeking an agent for my memoir and leading online writing classes. In addition to college run courses, several of which I designed, I have taught private writing workshops on and off since 1996, when I began working with underserved populations, such as teens at risk and survivors of abuse.

Please enjoy the writing and artwork on my pages and read on for more information about why I love teaching and writing!!


I didn’t come to be a writing coach or editor through regular channels.  Meaning:  I didn’t seek it out; I didn’t pursue it.  Instead, it found me, by way of my writing mentor, Genie Zeiger.  Genie had been approached by a potential client, but didn’t want to work with the specific material, childhood sexual abuse.  So the client was referred to me.  I was nervous, scared even. Not sure I could handle someone else’s writing on such a painful topic.  But the collaboration worked well and lasted for a long time.  It was successful because we were working together on the writing..on the words, on image, on development, and description.  Writing was our focus; moving through healing was a happy accident.

And that is how I have come to see my role as a writing coach and editor ever since.  I am a collaborator, with you on your work.  Together we figure it out; we find our way through the brambles and thickets.  It’s easy to find yourself lost and confused when you’re in that dense forest alone.   But when someone is there beside you to ask questions or offer a different perspective, you don’t have to stay stuck.  You can find ways to move forward…to move beyond.

With experience as a writing coach, an editor, and a writing professor and workshop leader, I have worked with writers at all levels.  I can assist you in brainstorming ideas, in developing character, scene, narrative, etc.  We can work together to help you create a full manuscript of prose or poetry, an essay you’re trying to complete, an individual poem, or a children’s story.  I am experienced in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, essay, and flash. 

My job is to listen carefully to what you need and want from a coach or editor, and to provide that service.  If you’re stuck and don’t know what you need, I can assist you in finding that clarity.  I’s time to stop pacing the floor or staring out the window.  Let’s work together and get your project out into the world.  Please contact me with questions and details.

Ekphrastic workshop at MA Poetry Festival 2014.jpg

Panel for Revising and Claiming the Body MA Poetry Festival 2014.jpg

BIO:  Joyce Hayden left her teaching job at Westfield State University’s English Department to concentrate on finishing her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, and to create more space for working with a variety of different types of writers.  What she misses most about the academic teaching world is working one on one with students and their writing.  With more time to devote to coaching and editing, Joyce can offer assistance in all genres and forms.  She is available for individual writing  coaching/editing and can also be hired to run a focused workshop/craft class for your group or corporation.

Joyce received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2001.  For the next 14 years, she taught writing and literature courses in universities in Ohio and Massachusetts. The courses she designed and/or taught include:  Memoir Writing, Writing about Nature, Writing About Art.  Texts used in courses included non-fiction books and articles, poetry, fiction, flash fiction, and genre-bending pieces.  Before earning her MFA, Joyce led creative writing groups privately and through NELCWIT, an organization specializing in services for battered women and teens at risk.



10 thoughts on “About

  1. Thank you for your courage. Your story of abuse connected with me regarding a relationship from 37 years ago and has inspired me to write about it.


    1. Thanks so much for reading and reaching out! So happy you’re inspired to write about your own story.
      I wish you all the best and am glad that period of life is far behind you.


  2. I read you account of abuse. Its shocking and disturbing. I know it is also (unfortunately) commonplace. I truly do not understand either those who abuse nor those like yourself who stay. But I appreciate you for writing about your experiences. I think we learn such behaviors from our families. The story I tell myself (now 66 years old) is that my own childhood and family was “better than most,” but there was a lot of fear growing up, and a lot of emotional / psychological abuse. While I have always felt my parents (both) were never physically abusive, the physical “discipline” they practiced would certainly by today’s standards be considered child abuse. So I guess I just don’t know. But I do appreciate you for writing about your story. It helps. Every piece of anybody’s puzzle helps us figure out this crazy planet, and what we are supposed to be doing here.


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