Check out this wonderful Mookychick interview with our Grrrl in Scotland, Claire Askew
Can we just say that Write Like a Grrrl is a genius idea.
It came from Kerry Ryan, WLAG! founder and our brilliant London tutor. She invented the course as a result of her own struggles with her novel; she was completing her PhD at the time, so she was up against a major deadline. Kerry’s also a mum – in short, she understands how tricky it can be to juggle the many commitments in your life and find time for writing! She realised that there didn’t seem to be any writing courses acknowledging that women writers face different (and often more) barriers to writing than their male counterparts. So, being the badass that she is, she started one.
Who are the other Write Like a Grrrls behind the scene?
Kerry approached For Books’ Sake (the unstoppable force behind the Derby Shorts short story and Furies poetry anthologies), and FBS‘s equally brilliant Jane Bradley immediately got on board. Jane is a total powerhouse – she runs the Manchester courses and handles all the behind-the-scenes stuff for WLAG!
Then there’s me. I saw courses being offered in London and Manchester and thought: wow, this looks amazing, why do cool things like this never happen in Scotland? Then I thought, wait, I’m a creative writing tutor, I could bring this to Scotland! So I emailed Kerry and Jane, pitched myself as a tutor and they very kindly (and bravely) brought me on board and trained me up.
About nine months on, we’ve now worked with over 100 women writers and we’re booking up WLAG! courses for a brand new autumn semester!
How do the WLAG! courses work?
Each course is six weeks long. We aim to have no more than twelve women in each class, so everyone gets a chance to speak, listen and feel included.
WEEK 1: Women meet and are introduced to the course material. We then have a big discussion about what prevents them from writing: what barriers do they face? This discussion is always really fascinating and sometimes touches on some strong emotions, so the class bonds really quickly as a result. By the end of session one there’s usually a sudden feeling of shared community. Women say things like, “I thought I was the only one who struggled with this, but now I have eleven new friends who can relate!” It’s pretty wonderful to see and hear.
WEEKS 2, 3 and 4: We concentrate on character, dialogue and setting – how to start tackling them, and how to write them well. In the fifth week everyone takes what they’ve learned so far and creates a piece of writing.
FINAL WEEK: We use that piece of writing to learn about editing, and what happens next. There’s also a lot of cake involved throughout!
The course is built on the idea that a lot of what we’ve all been told about writing is a big myth: for example, waiting for the creative Muse to be upon you. That idea just doesn’t work if you have a stressful job, you’re a caregiver and you’re studying!
WLAG! is all about finding little windows of time in your day, and using them to create writing that makes you happy.
Oh, and we’re now running something called Write Like A Grrrl!: The Next Step. This is for women who’ve completed WLAG! but want more. They can now come back for another six-week course that incorporates more ‘advanced’ stuff, including group workshopping and critiquing. On the Next Step course we also bring in publishers, editors and other industry professionals to chat to the women about taking their writing to the next level.
For more of this interview, check out Mookychick