We Teach Writers, not Writing
When asked to sum up the essence of Brave Writer, I like to start by looking at the company name: Brave Writer (not Brave Writing). That was a deliberate choice. Most companies describe themselves as “writing instruction.” Brave Writer could be described as “writer coaching.”
Our core value is to honor people: their voices, their insights, their unique learning styles, their real felt needs, their gifts and talents, their weaknesses and struggles. Writing is the result of unlocking words that lurk inside writers. As a result, we spend our energies in service of people:
- exploring their experience and process,
- explicating what is going on inside to help them connect to those words,
- and then getting the words to paper.
An analogy I like to use is the difference between reading a book that explains the nature of pregnancy (what is it biologically, what happens to your body and the baby’s, what are the stages of pregnancy, what are the signs of labor, how does birth happen, what kind of birthing options are available, and so on) and reading a book that helps you understand what you will go through as a pregnant person (how to manage cravings or signs of cramping, what sorts of exercises help prepare for natural childbirth, what emotions you’ll experience during each stage, possible ways to cure morning sickness or to relieve swollen ankles, how to handle gestational diabetes, what the body sensations are of swollen breasts and that inevitable “drop” right before labor…).
The first book may give you lots of information you want to know (and all of us want to know it!), but the second is designed to hold your hand as you walk through your pregnancy. In the first, you are left to interpret for yourself how to apply that information to your experience. In the second, someone is actually describing your experience and then sharing possible tactics for managing it and making it more pleasurable, tolerable and enjoyable.
Most writing manuals are like the first kind of pregnancy book. They tell you what a descriptive paragraph is, for instance, and what one must contain to fit the definition. Those manuals provide examples of other descriptive paragraphs; they may even give of list of elements to include. What they don’t do is describe in a process-oriented way what is going on inside of the writer while trying to access descriptive language.
Brave Writer is like the second kind of pregnancy book. Brave Writer materials and classes focus on the writer: “I want to write that descriptive paragraph and include those elements, but how do I find the clever or interesting words hiding inside of me? What do I do with my writer’s block? What happens when I churn out a lousy first draft – how do I revise it?”
Brave Writer provides you with a collection of
- and coaching insights derived from the writing lives of other writers,
- as well as investigative tools to help you and your kids dig deeper inside to catalyze writing.
In essence, our programs are labor coaches. We not only know what gestational stage your kids are in when they attempt to birth writing (some of them may still need to get pregnant and we can even help there!), we know how to coax those words forward so that once they make it to the page, we can go ahead and shape them up into something concrete like a descriptive paragraph or an essay. See the difference?
That’s why we say: We teach writers, not writing.