Write Anyway : August 2021
A workshop with Janelle Hanchett
Learn to write without giving a shit what people think
And if that doesn’t work, learn to write even though you’re terrified what people think. That’s what I do, and I can tell you about it. I can also tell you about criticism, trolls, and backward internet logic (intimately related to not giving a shit, I assure you).
I can’t tell you about gimmicks or tricks or really even much about advertising or business, but I can tell you what I’ve learned, and in doing so, help you abandon some of the nonsense that’s blocking you in your writing, or making it boring, or leaving you feeling unsatisfied, or causing stress and anxiety and angst because the bastards just won’t leave you alone and what if your mother reads this?
I will teach you how to WRITE ANYWAY.
The story (how it is that I can teach you this)
I started Renegade Mothering in January 2011. For the first two years, I had maybe a hundred visitors a month. I believe this is because I have a ton of cousins, many of whom think I’m funny. Or a train wreck. Either way, amusing enough to read.
I wrote twice a week, no matter what, because I thought that sounded like a good number, and I wrote whatever I wanted. I wrote some really bad stuff, and some good. I promised myself I would only write when I felt “the need” (but if the need didn’t come up twice a week, I forced myself to write). No gimmicks. No business talent to speak of. Nothing beyond writing a post and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.
After I wrote a post I’d call my mom and ask, “Did you read it?” And she’d say “Yeah! You’re funny!” and I’d smile and feel satisfied, thinking, “Cool. My mom thinks I’m funny.”
And I’d write again.
I finally found a way to make my Master’s degree in English worth something. Well, sort of.
When I started, I had a clear purpose, direction, and reason for writing: I wanted to know if other mothers felt like I did. I could not find anybody writing or saying what I saw, felt, lived. So I decided I was going to write the truth of my existence – however raw, ugly, embarrassing, contradictory or weird that may be – simply to determine if the rest of the parenting world was crazy or I was.
This question wasn’t deep and it wasn’t noble, but it was real, and it was me. It was my story. It was the thing deep in my gut that kept nagging and wondering.
The results have blown my mind.
Not only have I found other women feeling like I do, I have found thousands of other men and women feeling like I do. People send me messages saying “I thought I was alone feeling this way,” and “I’ve spent my whole life as a parent hiding this part of me.” Some people say they want to kill me in my sleep, but hey. Ya can’t win them all.
I have gained a sense of purpose and meaning. I quit my motherfucking day job. A community has been built around me, way bigger than me, beyond me completely.
Today, 10 years later, the blog has tens of thousands of visitors a month and over 85,000 followers. I’ve had my writing in magazines and well-known websites. Pink tweeted about me (all life will be downhill from here, don’t you think?). I’ve been on podcasts and radio shows. I get to read my work and speak at conferences. Most recently, I was signed by Jermaine Johnson and Richard Abate at 3 Arts Entertainment. I wrote a motherfucking book and somebody published it.
This surprises me as much as anybody, and I’m not entirely sure how it’s happened, though I believe I owe it, at least in part, to the following:
- I have learned to differentiate between the truth and bullshit (and bullshit masquerading as truth); and
- I have never wavered from my initial driving question.
But mostly, I didn’t stop writing.
And wrote anyway.
Lo and behold, I figured out a few things and I can show you.
I was pretty much a failure at life (and not in a cute way), but I’ve faced that failure completely, and in doing so I’ve found a freedom to just be a human being and write like one, as if the world didn’t exist “out there”.
And I can tell you what that’s looked like.
There’s no silver bullet. There’s no methodology that makes change or new things happen. There’s no comfortable way to accomplish anything, as far as I can tell. But there is process, and we can sure as hell learn from others, and I’m pretty sure you and I can learn from each other.
You already know how to write.
You write all the time.
The problem is not that you don’t know how to write.
The problem is that you’re too freaked out to write the shit you know you’re meant to be writing.
That’s where I come in.
Here it is:
A 6-week, intimate (15 spots), online writing workshop for the person who:
- has a nagging question or persistent feeling of “You should write this,” but isn’t;
- can’t decide what to write about;
- constantly hears the “you suck why are you even trying?” voice when she sits down to write;
- is too afraid to write what they’re really feeling/thinking/experiencing;
- is agonizing over what people will think;
- is obsessing over perfection; and/or
- getting bent out of shape for three days over assholes on the internet criticizing in ways that hurt (and somehow they always hit where it hurts). Insulting intelligence. Name-calling. Making fun. Crafting Reddit threads against you. Being generally distasteful and/or pontificating about what you would be doing if you were a better person. Perhaps I have a bit of experience with these.
Find your voice. Learn not to give a shit.
Or, write anyway.
August 26 – September 30, 2021: Thursdays at 9am PST/12 EST
- One weekly group video conference with me at 60 minutes each (these will be recorded so no worries if you miss one).
- Weekly writing prompts. Short ones. I know you’re busy.
- My direct, extended feedback on one piece of writing of your choosing, plus comments on your writing in the workshop. Fellow workshop participants will also give feedback on your work. If you prefer people not comment on your work, that’s easy to make happen as well.
- Access to a private Facebook page of like-minded writers (obviously, since we’re all here) where you can receive support, feedback on your writing, bitch, whine, howl, etc.
- PDF outlining 20 critical technical elements of blogging that will save you time and frustration
- Week 1: Discovering a story you need to tell
- Week 2: Facing your fears in writing
- Week 3: How to stop giving a shit what people think
- Week 4: How to write even though you totally give a shit what people think
- Week 5: What the fuck is “authenticity?”
- Week 6: 5 ways to instantly improve your writing (AKA “infomercial week”)
At the end of this course, you will have:
- 6 pieces of writing that you can publish, pitch, combine or turn into larger pieces
- a stronger sense of direction and purpose in your writing
- a new way of looking at fear
- ability to differentiate between criticism that should be ignored vs. integrated into future work
- tools to get over the demons blocking you (the “don’t even bother you suck” voice and all the other helpful things we tell ourselves)
- a supportive network of other writers
- my honest and professional (I do have an MA in English, after all) feedback on writing
- possibly seen me on video without a bra. Wait. Is that a selling point? Whatever.
Let’s do this.
I’m excited meet you, work with you, write with you.
– You can pay for the class in 2 installments but the cost is $5 more (because I actually have to pay more to provide this option. Sorry. Email me to set up installments.)
– Total enrollment: 15
I’m offering limited spots (2) for extra one-on-one time with me to further support your writing and keep your momentum going. For €415 you’ll get the workshop, plus a 1-hour call with me as well as unlimited email support for one month following the workshop.
SIGN UP! (but first, please read the refund policy below).
REFUND POLICY: I can offer a full refund up to and including July 26, 2021. Between July 27, 2021, and August 12, 2021, I can offer 50%. After August 12, 2021, I cannot offer refunds. By signing up for this workshop, you agree to this refund policy. I also cannot guarantee workshop transfers or credits. Thank you!