End your day with a creative release


Unlike other workshops that require a finished manuscript when you walk in the door, Fledgling is for the writer who isn't sure what to write yet. Fledgling is for the tired 9-5er who lost track of her creative spark. Fledgling is for those afraid of being mocked by the blank page. Fledgling is for the writer who wants to expand his community.

In our classroom poems, images, objects, exercises, and questions provide the prompts for your writing session. There are no genre specific classes, because who knows what you might produce? Maybe rubbing a lucky rabbit's foot will begin a piece of memoir. Maybe an exercise in copying a favorite poem will result in a piece of prose. Maybe you'll write a song, a list, a letter, an ode!

Our classroom is spontaneous, kind, and unassuming. We welcome anyone willing to try. That's the only rule (well, other than writing). At Fledgling all we ask is that you try.

Each session follows the same basic timeline beginning with a short introductory prompt intended to grease your wheels. Next, we'll write for 20-30 minutes to the session's longest prompt and follow it with sharing and discussion. Finally, if there's time, participants are given the opportunity to air any grievances from the week on paper to finish up the session (because complaining is almost as cathartic as writing).

Bring a pen, a sheet of paper, and the same mentality you might bring to yoga. Your 1.5 hour session is for the good of you. You may use it however your heart asks you to. Maybe you've wanted to write a short story for as long as you can remember. Maybe you need structure in order to write. Whatever the case, Fledgling will help you soar.


News from the nest

For up-to-date news and prompts you can try at home, sign up for our monthly newsletter. 

powered by TinyLetter



Participant Testimonials

“I have been actively writing for a couple of years now and even have literary agency representation. But over the last year, I really struggled to find inspiration to write or an environment I felt like writing in. After taking the Fledgling Course, I fell in love with writing again and now I’m halfway through my next novel. I really credit the course for this return.”
"Sammi LaBue's class was dope. I usually don't like free writing because I can never get over the hurtle of convincing myself it's worth it. With Sammi's prompts and directions it was easy to get inspired. I left the class with two new story ideas and new ways to generate content."
"This was a great opportunity to meet fun people with similar interests and to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit. They encouraged positive critique only which made it easier to share my stories."
"The best workshop I've ever taken part in! (Also the first.)"
"I never wanna leave the nest!"

Fledgling Founder & Workshop Leader

Having participated in, taught, or volunteered for nearly every major writing workshop company in the city Sammi LaBue began to realize, while all of them provided worthy experiences, they were all fairly similar.

She fell in love with prompt writing during her very first creative writing class in high school and has chased that kind of atmosphere in writing groups since. From there she studied at Colorado College where she earned a BA in Creative Writing before moving to NYC. Since earning an MFA with one of the top low residency programs in the country, The Vermont College of Fine Arts, her goal is to bring a more free-spirited option to the world of writing workshops.

Writing helped Sammi navigate a difficult high school experience, the death of her father, and dark times following sexual assault. Though she takes writing creatively seriously, she wants to offer that same kind of healing to participants regardless of their portfolio, experience, or prerequisites.

Her fiction, personal essays, and poetry have been published in PANK magazine, Hobart, So to Speak, Permafrost, Glamour Magazine, and The Feminist Wire, among many gracious others. She’s written for companies such as McGraw Hill Education, AARP, Kirkus Reviews, and more. With a background in publishing and extensive experience teaching and participating in writing workshops, she’s thrilled to have brought the Fledgling method of kindness and fun to NYC.

[Unless otherwise noted, you can expect Sammi to be leading your course.]


Workshop Leader

Catie Hannigan became a poet at eleven years old, upon the gift of her first journal. Her relationship with poetry, and literary arts in general, has evolved from an emotional release to a lifelong pursuit. Her interests lie in what’s possible in language, instead of what’s not. Language takes many forms, and she explores it through book-binding/book arts, hybrid genre writing, poems, visual poetry, and installation art. What is poetic is not necessarily a poem and vice versa: the possibilities are not only endless, they are timeless. Let’s talk about the walk around the block, the sunlight behind a cloud, or a movie that makes you cry. She believes in a holistic approach to being a creative maker— and that inspiration arrives from many places, and what better place than with a community of writers and artists.

After earning her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, she packed her bags and moved from her life-long home in Maine, to Portland, OR, where she currently resides. There, you will find her teaching as the Poetry Instructor of the Certificate Program at the Independent Publishing and Resource Center. Other projects include, Meadow, a workshop series for lgbtqia+, BIPOC, and/or women artists and writers, co-run with her partner, and Poem Subscription Service, a monthly curated poem mailed directly to your door.

She is the author of three chapbooks: MOON’S CABIN (dancing girl press, 2019), Water Fragments (Tammy Journal 2017), and What Once Was There Is The Most Beautiful Thing(DIAGRAM 2015). Her work can be found in fields magazine, The New Farmer’s Almanac, Yes Poetry, among others. Most recently, she was awarded a month long artist residency at c3:initiative in Portland, OR, where she completed an artist book entitled swimming.

Natassja Schiel.jpg

Workshop Leader

At eight years old, Natassja Schiel graduated from telling stories to her stuffed animals and started writing poetry and songs before falling in love with writing stories as a teenager. Currently Natassja primarily writes nonfiction, but still holds a love for her poetic and songwriting roots. Writing has helped Natassja through difficult times in her life, and she believes that a softer approach to creative writing in a workshop space is needed. She’s thrilled to join Fledging, where this healing approach is key.

Natassja holds a creative writing MFA from the University of California, Riverside and is currently writing a memoir about working as an exotic dancer on the island of Guam. She believes that all people should be afforded the same rights including those working in the sex industries. She loves: purple gel pens, urban gardening, brewing kombucha, and yoga inversions. Her cat, Raja, is slowly going blind, but still loves to fetch. (Persistence is a trait they both share.)

Natassja has recently been published or has work forthcoming at Longreads, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Millions. She was also a Contributing Editor at the literary journal Pigeon Pages. At UC Riverside, Natassja was a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow, won the Mcquern Graduate Award for Nonfiction, and received a competitive third year MFA Fellowship. She was writer-in-residence at the Yefe Nof: Redesign Residency and as a Jane Geuting Camp Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


Workshop Leader

Elizabeth Leonard has been a writer since before she could actually read, making up stories and plays that her family were forced to listen to and sometimes scribe. For a long time, though, it felt like maybe “being a writer” was something she could only do in the background of her adult life. After working as a teacher, bartender, secretary, translator, Elizabeth decided it was time to get serious about her writing. Essentially, this meant getting serious about herself since writing is the way she navigates the world, heals, and lives in balance.

She moved to London to write a novel and get a Master’s from City University London. Since returning to the U.S., she has been working as a teaching artist/activist for top arts education and social justice organizations in New York City. When she can find the time, she is also an editor and has recently edited three memoirs and a play, Adonis Memories, which was featured in The New York Times. She currently lives in New Jersey and is writing her second novel. Like Sammi, Elizabeth loves prompt writing. It is at the heart of her writing and teaching practice, and she’s looking forward to writing and sharing with other Fledglings!

[photo by Christopher Villafuerte]


What do I bring?

Yourself, a writing instrument, something to write on, an open mind

When will I hear back about request to join?

You will receive an email within 72 hours of your application.

For Wing-Mending courses, please expect one month for class to begin as these courses are held as they fill. You will be notified when your form is received and asked to provide one or two weekdays that might work for you to join us for 3-weeks.

Do I have to be on the blog?

Absolutely not. You will be asked privately before class if you're all right with being recorded for the blog or included in social media photographs. 

What if I change my mind?

Fledgling is unable to offer refunds at this time. We ask for your commitment once you remit payment. 

What's with this PayPal tax?

As a small business trying to offer the lowest prices possible in NYC, PayPal's 2.9% cut of all course fees was starting to add up. To avoid this tax, we now accept payment via Venmo or Square cash if those options are available to you.