Writing.

Just one small “h” away from writhing.

You know what I mean, don't you?

So, I'm not a writing teacher. But from the age of 8, maybe younger, I've read my thesaurus like a novel. I've turned millions of sentences into stories, poems, letters, recipes, virtual programs, courses, reports, captions, essays, texts, articles and more. And then I've shared them—in all their terrifying, vulnerable glory.

Joy. Success. Regret. Fear. Relief. Pain. Pleasure. Over three decades of this, and I've learned a thing or two. About writing, of course, but even more about being an artist. Because that's what a writer is: a life artist. An artist of words.

On this not-easy-but-essential creative road, we all know how stories are made. The best ones include a generous helping of conflict. We might cry our eyeballs out, rage, plead, suffer loss, barely make it...but we writers know well what Isak Dinesen said best: “All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.”

Story gives your pain a purpose.

There's more to it, we know. But what happens when you lose your words? When writing isn't meaningful anymore; when you lose sight of your why, when you're bored to tears by your own paragraphs? When you're dry as a bone—um, dry as a cracker? ...dry as a math class? ...dry as Aunt Ethel's casserole?—and you got nothin'?

So I've taken an armload of cliffhangers, twists, and turns, and I've extracted a wealth of creative remedies and practices I want to share with you. But remember—I'm not a writing teacher. I'm not gonna grade your papers or tell you to quit double-spacing after periods. (But, don't. Just one space.) I'm not poking at your tear-stained manuscript (or your heart) with a red-ink pen. This is definitely not about getting technical or getting published or getting rich. 

It's about getting free.

It's about being alive.

So here is what I'll do:

➢ Inspire you. (I love surprising folks with unconventional word-wooing. I'll shower you with soul prompts, fresh ideas, and my secret strategies for endless inspiration.)

➢ Make you love your words again. (Because when you're free from the critic, the perfectionist, and the pressure, how could you not?)

➢ Provide space for you to be vulnerable—or not. (I'm an introvert, too. It's why I write. That being said, my cozy little writing circles are sacred spaces and I'll invite you to be heard. The rest is up to you.)

➢ Maybe provoke you a little bit. Or at least your writing muse. (Like it or not, feeling is the first step to writing.)

➢ Empower you with strategies for creative victory. (Because you CAN overcome writer's block, perfectionism, fear, and whatever wants to shut you up for good.)

If you attend a live-and-in-person workshop, I'll also feed and water you. (Check the details of each workshop for more. I might just wine and dine you. Or at least brew some chai tea and hand out cookies.)

 
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In Dear Writer, I have only one rule.

(Okay, besides the stuff you already know, like: be respectful, be kind, don't steal the spotlight or other people's ideas. Oh, and let's be considerate—don't regale us with steamy scenes or politics or other hot-buttony things. Okay maybe I do have rules.)

Write True.

It's what you'll hear when we connect & I get to experience your words. “Is this true?” I'll ask. “Is it truthful?” I'm not looking for beauty. I'm not looking for paragraph of the year. I'm not talking memoir vs. novel here. I want you to write true. I'm asking you to drop the fluffy-fluff, wipe off the lipstick, and be brave.

Let's be brave.

She is a gatherer: Moonlight, found wishes, moments of gratitude. There are wanton truths in my bones.
— Monique Duval
Dear Writer Workshop by Hillary McFarland

Dear Writer...

This is not how to write.

➢ This is how to write again after you've been stuck, silenced or shamed.

This is not how to get rich.

➢ This is what to do so words find and flow through you. Richly.

This is not when to write.

➢ This is about nurturing a writer's life through creative rhythms & rituals that support your art.

This is not why to write.

➢ You write because you can't not, so let's clarify your deeper why and explore some creative ways to let your soul be heard. 

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
— Henry David Thoreau

The Workshops—coming Autumn 2018

Upcoming classes are below. Choose whether you want to show up in the flesh (in-person workshop) or stay home in your pajamas (instant download).

To stay up-to-date and learn when new workshops are announced, sign up here:

 
 
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The Introverted Writer

The Highly-Sensitive Writer

You are wired take it all in—the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feelings...your own and everyone else's. All the people-ing takes its toll. You spend your time recovering [under a soft, weighted blanket] and promise to write tomorrow. You're an empath. An introvert. You get lost in your own world. Learn how to harness the gifts of your highly-sensitive nature and avoid burnout & overwhelm. Develop a writing sanctuary that replenishes you. Learn the alchemy of energy. Listen to your gut. Let your body speak.

*Goes well with Rhythms & Rituals.

 
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Dear Writer: Writing for Wild Aliveness

Remember the pure joy & creative pleasure of your soul running wild? No? Honey, you must return to the fire. Whether you are stuck, silenced, or shamed, or simply exhausted because other priorities have weighed you down, let's get your soul to the writing spa. She needs some love. Learn to commit to your words—not only the act of writing them, but also to their freedom. Release them from the pressure of supporting you financially. Release them from the weight of making you famous. Release them from fear, perfectionism, and expectations—from others or yourself. Be a sacred little rebel and come alive again.

*Goes well with Dear Writer: Creative Writing Daytime Retreat

 
Writing Rhythms

Dear Writer: Rhythms & Rituals 

Learn how to support your writing life through nourishment, daily structures (not too rigid, now), self-care and wellness. Discover that discipline is not a dirty word. Create luscious creative rituals that flow with your natural energy and the rhythms of your days. Design a writing life you love, and flourish in it.

*Goes well with The Highly Sensitive Writer.

 
Writing for Introverts

Writing for Introverts

INFP, here. If you're like me, writing is how you breathe. It's how you discover what you believe and what you're going to do. It's how you process your dreams, your past, your experiences, your everything. You write to understand. You write to create. You are the Harold and the Purple Crayon of words. You, as Anais Nin so famously said, “have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” You write for meaning.

If Writing for Wild Aliveness it a writing spa, Writing for Introverts is getting a 200,000-mile check-up with your neighborhood mechanic. In this back-to-basics crash course, you'll break out of writing ruts, re-connect with why you write (and maybe surprise yourself with something new), and patch up your energy leaks. You'll also release habits, expectations, shoulds, and cliches that no longer serve. If you want, you can even reinvent yourself. Start fresh. Begin again, again.

 
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Dear Writer: A Revolutionary Daytime Retreat & Writing Spa

Remember when you were in fourth grade and you went to the local day camp with your church? Well, here you won't learn archery or canoeing or what plants you can eat in the wild, but this daytime writing retreat will give your senses a lush escape and evoke new epiphanies for your words.

The daytime retreat includes:

· A nourishing vegetarian lunch, snacks, and drinks
· Workshops for freeing your words (and yourself)
· Playshops that delight imagination, invite curiosity, and invoke dreaming
· Plenty of spaciousness for stretching out, breathing, writing, and mingling
· Printed worksheets & class materials
· And more!

Example day retreat schedule:

9 AM: connect & open
10-11:30: workshop
11:30-1: delicious vegetarian lunch
1-3: playshop (guided creative activity)
3-3:30: coffee & dessert
3:30-5: guided writing activity
5-5:45: candid writing conversation
5:45-6 closing & dismiss

The Writing Spa

I keep these gatherings small so that I can connect with everyone and provide a nurturing experience. For a full, heart-soaked day, give your spirit a sigh of relief. Renew your writing vision. No writing for deadlines. No writing from obligation. And, especially: no forcing out the words. Reconnect with your creative joy!

 
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