March 2020. I will look back at that month and never forget when the world came apart. At the front end of a deadly pandemic, Covid-19, amidst unprecedented uncertainty and constant fear, I felt called to help people work through that fear, and subsequent deep waves of grief. It seemed paramount to make room for the voices of so many who struggled to make sense, let alone meaning, of such tragedy. Factor in quarantine, being, isolated, and all daily freedoms, suddenly taken away.
Connecting through words.That’s what I know.Words shape, unearth, relieve, and heal. So I started a free weekly online writing workshop to guide people through the grief, the pain, the uncertainty, and anger of where humanity had landed in this unique place and time.
People have all kinds of fears about writing.We’re afraid of our voices, afraid of being wrong, afraid of making mistakes, afraid of not saying enough, afraid of being seen—even to ourselves. I’ve come to intimately understand this fear, as after having recently completed my first book,“Me, My Selfie & Eye” I too struggled if what I had to say was worth anything.
Week after week, brave courageous souls show up for themselves via Zoom to explore the many facets of identity, grief, and belonging. Some come because they’re interested in writing more often, others want to dip their toe into writing water, while others aren’t sure what they need, but give me, my class, and writing, a try. Through designated prompts and loving support, I lead, they allow, by spilling out hearts through words. Every week someone has a tremendous breakthrough or discovery. I am blown away by the talent, quality, and expression that is birthed through our group.
A crucial part of writing is being heard. Being seen. I teach that people need to hear and see their own voices in the world, their words contribute to our human experience and have value—that’s part of the writing process, which ultimately, is a sojourn of Self discovery.
Join the Unearth Your Stories Facebook group and receive information about Writing Guidance, Tuesday Night Online Classes, Writing Prompts & Resources, as well as my Land of Enchantment Writing Retreats.
“Your invitation and leadership inspire and encourage me to ‘Show up’ for myself and others in our group with the same courage to share their unique writing.”
“I love being part of a group of writers. All of us approach every prompt so differently and by sharing what we’ve written on the same prompt, it opens my eyes and mind to new ways of approaching any challenge you set. I love that.”
“I appreciate the insight you provide, and knowing we all struggle with ‘parade shitting’ no matter what our level, is inspiring. Your encouragement and reminders make you a wonderful teacher.”
“Janna, I enjoy being a part of this amazingly talented group of writers. Your guidance has allowed me to build confidence to share my voice loudly and proudly. I’m learning so much about the difference elements of writing; the power of and, the use of metaphors, and so many other of these tools. It was a combination of things that prompted me to join the group. Probably the main thing was to identify the tools and resources for me to become a (better) writer. The other reason was confirmed when I joined. You were quick to silence the voice of doubt about my abilities as a writer. Though I had blogged prior to being in the group, I never really considered myself a writer. That has also changed and I feel more confident putting myself out there. Thank you.”