Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about our approach to creative expression.
What is your writing philosophy at Yeah Write!?
Intentionality. We model intentional communication so that writers learn that they have the power to make choices in their lives. They learn to ask for what they want, and they learn how to speak up if they don’t receive what they’ve asked for.
Freedom to explore. Journal entries, fiction, fan fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry, novel—all types of writing are welcome and encouraged.
Strength in community. Writing is often a solo pursuit. Sharing allows writers to gain feedback into what is working well and what isn’t working so well with their work. Sharing also sparks new ideas among writers–a word or phrase from one writer (often called a “readback line” in our circle) will sometimes trigger a poem or story idea in another.
Positive outcomes with pen and paper. There are no grades at Yeah Write!—there is only feedback.
Self-awareness. Many of our suggested writing prompts are designed to help young writers become more aware of themselves and their world.
What makes Yeah Write! different from other writing classes for tweens and teens?
We believe that young writers have to walk before they can run. They need lots of positive reinforcement from a coach and their peers. They need to cultivate and tap into their own well of resilience right from the beginning.
Learning to be mindful is a key to tuning into the inner writing voice as well as learning to tap into resilience. That mindfulness is a learned skill that must be practiced, just like writing.
Asking for the kind of feedback you want to receive also sets us apart. Our writers learn to communicate directly and advocate for themselves via their writing. They learn to have the courage to say:
"I asked for feedback about this character and you told me that I had commas out of place. That's not what I asked for."
Even though this type of confrontation can seem minor, we give them the tools and the words to practice speaking up when the stakes are low so that they feel comfortable using similar techniques in higher-stakes situations.
As they grow, and when they are ready for more, we talk craft: how to improve plot, characters, setting, strategies for tightening poetry, and so forth. Craft classes are catered to what students are working on and need help with. By that time, they have a good foundation of mindfulness, resiliency, and giving intentional feedback. They are ready to run.
I'm nervous about coming to class. What can I expect?
First, relax! No one expects you to write a novel or a perfect poem on your first day. Or your 12th day. Or you 200th day.
Here is a typical agenda for Girls' Voices:
Light a candle to open the circle, set intentions, and read an opening poem.
Write for 10 minutes on a given prompt or a topic of your choice.
Share our writing, either with one other person or a small group of two or three. Give and receive feedback.
Share a piece of writing with the large group and give and receive readback lines.
Reflect on the class and close the circle.
We walk you through each step and if you're not in the mood to share on a given day, that is perfectly okay.
I'm too busy to commit to a six- or eight-week class. Do you have anything for me?
We know writers are busy and that making choices among activities is a challenge. We encourage you to give your writer (or yourself) the gift of space and time to write!
We often offer shorter, four-week sessions over the summer as well as shorter workshops. Please sign up for our email list to be notified about future classes and opportunities. And drop us a note to let us know exactly what you are looking for!