Putting your writing out into the world is scary. Someone might actually read it.
When I taught digital writing to college students, they would always be shocked when someone they didn’t know commented on their blog. I would laugh and say, “Yeah, this Internet thing is for real.” That was the moment they started taking their writing seriously as a tool for self-expression and social change and not just a grade. It was also the moment many became anxious about who was reading their work and what those readers would think about them.
It can feel dangerous to put your thoughts, ideas, and opinions into words and share them with the world because when we do that, things change—we change—and change is uncomfortable, disorienting even. Even if you are an experienced writer, embarking upon new and controversial territory can produce doubts. The “what ifs” of writing our truth can be paralyzing:
- What if you join the many other women speaking their truth and write about your experiences with sexual harassment and your mansplaining boss who likes to comment on your appearance reads it?
- What if you announce your support for Black Lives Matter, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, reproductive rights, universal health care, or anything else that your republican neighbor, family member, or coworker opposes and they become hostile?
- What if you write about your depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles and someone brings it up at the next dinner party?
- What if you blog about how sometimes you hate being a mom and fantasize about running away from home, and the president of the PTA at your kid’s school reads it? (Fuck the PTA. O.K., that was harsh, but really, fuck them.)
Any of these scenarios can become a reality when we dare to write about the things that matter, but writing that matters requires us to be risk-takers. If we want to be writers, we have to have to step out into the open with our words.
Writing builds courage.
I know what the fear feels like, and I know what it feels like to reach the breaking point when you just can’t stay quiet anymore. You want to scream. To tell that jerk on Facebook they’re wrong about everything. You start typing but can’t get the words out of your head fast enough. Your thoughts are a jumbled mess. You delete everything.
I’ve been there and I’ve broken through.
As a child, I loved words—the way they looked on the page, the way I could make meaning with them. As I grew, I realized that words could speak truth to power, but then I learned that power was not always listening, and when it was, often it was thinking of ways to shut me up. And so I shut up. For a long time. And then the 2016 presidential election happened, and I realized that my country had elected an openly racist, misogynist, homophobe because people like me had stopped speaking out or maybe we never had the courage to speak out in the first place. We were worried about our jobs, our social standing, conflict, the dinner party, and the PTA.
So I said no more. I started writing. On my blog. On my Facebook page. On Instagram. In letters to senators. In emails to friends. Wherever I could. I built up my courage one post, one letter at a time.
You are not alone.
If you are ready to start on your writing journey but need guidance and support along the way, I can help. Together we will confront your writing fears and use writing itself as a tool to build your confidence. By the end of our time together you will have an established writing practice that allows you to speak your truth without giving in to your fear. Writing will always be scary and take courage, but you can learn how to fight through that resistance and keep writing.
My approach to coaching begins with an expressivist methodology that focuses on you, the writer—your internal motivations, personal writing goals, and authentic writing voice. How will writing change you and your life for the better? Then, when you are ready, we turn to the rhetorical—the work you want your writing to do out in the world. How will your writing change the world? Who do you want to inspire, influence, or encourage with your words? How will you do it? Start a blog? Submit essays or stories to magazines and websites? Write a memoir?
How it works.
- 8 60-minute coaching sessions over 4 months (phone or Zoom video conference)
- an in-depth intake questionnaire to help you clarify your writing process and help me understand your needs
- email support between sessions
- customized “homework” to get your writing back on track
- a discount on future one-off coaching sessions if your writing life hits a bump in the road
You get the entire 8-session package for $997 (or 2 installments of $499).
I have one scholarship spot available for summer 2018 that includes the complete 8-session package for only $499 (that’s half price!). If you think coaching with me can change your writing life, but just can’t swing the full price, this is for you. Deadline: May 31.
I’m a writer, editor, and coach who helps progressive and social justice-minded women realize their writing potential. I specialize in non-fiction writing: essays, argumentation, memoir, blogging, and creative nonfiction.
I have a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies, 16 years teaching writing at the college level, and 5 years experience directing a university writing center. In addition to my work with individual clients, I am editor, contributor, and social media director for Fixin’ To Write, a blog about writing for women who write. I’m currently working on a memoir about my educational experiences tentatively titled, Why I Quit School.