What is the Purpose of this Website?
If we had to boil our vision down to as few words as possible, it would be these:
-People learn better when they are enjoying themselves
-People enjoy themselves better when they are doing what interests them
-And People do not stop needing writing classes when they grow up and leave school.
That’s it. That’s what we do here. We teach people, both children and adults, how to write. And we do it in a way that’s fun and empowering.
We ask people: What do you want to do?
They answer: I want to learn to write better [or] I want to write something.
We ask: What kind of writing do you want to do?
They answer: memoir [or] fiction [or] essay [or… ]
And then we get started.
Why do we work this way?
Why do we let our students direct the course of their own learning?
Because we trust you. We know you are the expert on… you.
Because people learn in different ways.
And because we have had teachers who have done this for us, and it has worked. So we want to pay it forward: the love that those teachers gave to us.
On a purely mechanical level, learning should be fun and low-pressure. You actually learn faster if you are less stressed. So we help you to make your learning as low-stress as possible.
Writing is hard. Learning is hard. I just… can’t do it.
One of the main stressors is the expectation that you will improve rapidly and consistently. It’s natural for an adult, or even for a child, to expect results fairly quickly. But writing takes time. And learning to write better takes time. And the less time you expect it to take, the more stressed you’ll be; the less able to learn. So by slowing down your expectations, we actually speed up your learning.
Another main stressor is perfectionism. People don’t like making mistakes. But you can’t write without making mistakes. So that’s our first rule:
Rule #1: You must make mistakes.
This rule gives our students permission to try things. To experiment. To write about something you aren’t comfortable writing about.
Perfectionism keeps people from starting. But once you start, it also keeps you from stopping. It’s not easy to remove every grammatical error from a manuscript. But even when you do, it’s difficult to stop there. Pretty soon, you start correcting things that don’t need to be corrected. Maybe the piece is done. Maybe it isn’t. But you’re not progressing towards that; you’re just tinkering. So that’s our second rule.
Rule #2 You must finish.
This rule gives people the permission to make a piece as good as they can make it… and then stop and take what they learned on to the next piece.
Okay, but who decides when it is finished?
Well. You can talk with your writer-friends. You can solicit people to read your piece. But ultimately you decide when it’s done. You set the terms. What you want to write; why; how much time you are able to devote to writing; whether you want to publish. There really are only two absolutely indispensable rules. And neither one of them dictates what you have to do in order to be successful at writing.
You keep expecting there to be more rules. More guidelines, perhaps. And in a way there are. But those guidelines can fluctuate, even change. We could have named the website “2 Rules and a Bunch of Guidelines of Writing.” But that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
But there can’t be JUST two rules to writing, can there? Writing is complicated!
Exactly. We’ve learned that writing is an emotional process. When people have writer’s block it’s usually because they’re frustrated, upset, scared… that is not the time to be throwing a whole bunch of rules at people. More to the point, we sometimes repeat these rules to ourselves as a form of self-encouragement. Or to each other as a form of mutual encouragement. The two rules together total eight words. That’s about the limit of what a person can remember when they’re in the middle of a panic attack.
A panic attack? Really? From writing?
Yup. A panic attack. Or some other neurological episode. Erika and Adam are both proudly neuro-atypical and the way we teach writing is informed by that perspective. It can be really hard for a neuro-atypical person to write. Or even to read. But community helps. It’s a lot easier to have patience with yourself and your difficulties when other people are also being patient with you.
We take your writing obstacles seriously.
The obstacles are there. Especially if you’re living with a disability, whether physical or neurological. We’re not going to lie and say writing is easy. Or that it’s the answer to ALL of your problems. It’s AN answer to SOME of your problems. And you CAN do it. And we WILL be there to help.
Do you really have the tools I need?
Obviously that depends what you need, but the answer is probably, “yes.” One-on-one instruction? A writing group? A small class? Just a forum to post your work? A place to talk? We’re trying to be a one-stop-shop for writing and writing help. And community is the most important kind of help. It’s the kind of help you keep needing throughout your life. And if you don’t know, that’s okay too. One of our tools is the skill to help you figure it out.
Okay. What do I do now?
We’re all about options–remember, you’re the expert. You can always use the sidebar to keep exploring the website. Here are some other suggestions.
- You can get to know our founders/instructors, Adam and Erika, on their author pages or check out a selection of their favorite pieces.
- You can check out the work from all of our contributors along with our regular features.
- You can contact us to talk about what you’re looking for, whether it’s to submit work, do some writing for us or find writing instruction for you, your child or someone else.
And don’t forget to follow us on social media.