Posts By Donna Ladd

Shut Up and Create in 2019! My May 18 Workshop Can Help. ($100 off until April 5!)

Shut Up and Create! students engage in a variety of fun exercises to help spark their creativity.

Shut Up and Create! students engage in a variety of fun exercises to help spark their creativity.

It’s time to wake up and engage your creativity to write and publish, make a film, commit to painting or by starting your own business. In my last Shut Up and Create Workshop, in February 2019, a dynamic group of students came together for a day-long workshop that helped them identify and commit to actions they can take toward their own creative goals. It was a great mix of folks: poets, non-fiction writers, a gardener and landscaper, and a woman who wants to open a creative business involving cats! As you see from the photos, we had a wonderful time, and the students left behind rave reviews (and tiny sculptures, collages, writings, and commitments to their goals and next steps). They even put their list of immediate goals in a bucket (get it? bucket list).

My next creativity workshop is on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Jackson Free Press’ open learning space in Capital Towers in downtown Jackson. Read testimonials from the recent workshop (and my writing classes) here.

I believe all creativity tells a story, so storytelling will still be at the core, but you choose your medium for it. The workshop is super-interactive and fun. It will help you tap into and sustain the passion to tackle your dream; create space (physical and in your head) to commit to your craft; be daring enough to risk being mediocre so you can then be great; prime the pump; develop a creative rhythm; and link into a creative community to cheer you on.

The workshop segments include:

  1. Create the Passion.
  2. Brainstorm the Ideas.
  3. Plan Your Execution.
  4. Think Like An Artist.
  5. Get It Done.
  6. Find/Build Creative Clusters.

I am providing students materials and prompts for free writes and other inspiring exercises after you sign up, so you can immediately start exercises and guided brainstorming to help you decide what you want to “bring” to the workshop (whether a work-in-progress or an idea to knock around or just being ready to roll). At the last workshop, most of the students brought a piece to read or to share.

Many students brought writing to read to the group at the last Shut Up and Create! workshop.

Many students brought writing to read to the group at the last Shut Up and Create! workshop.

Class fee includes continental breakfast; lunch from Broad Street; snacks and drinks; a binder of materials and workshop supplies; a suggested writing/activity list and weekly emails of creativity suggestions (and writing tips)  leading up to the workshop to get you ready.

The non-refundable workshop fee is $250, all-inclusive, but I offer specials with the fee gradually getting to the full amount. I’m offering the workshop for $150 until midnight on Friday, April 5. You can pay by check, cash or credit card. 

The fee is non-refundable.

Write me at class@writingtochange.com for more information and to register for the class. You’re in as soon as your fee is in hand, and will get all the Shut Up and Create emails to date! All are welcome. Dress casually; come as you are, ready to be inspired to create. Let’s do this.

Shut Up and Create in 2019! My Feb. 23 Workshop Can Help. ($199 until Feb. 15!)

Students at Donna Ladd's Shut Up and Create all-day workshop in downtown Jackson.

Students at Donna Ladd’s Shut Up and Create all-day workshop in downtown Jackson.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

Resolve to create in 2019! Due to popular demand, I’m teaching a full-day creativity and writing workshop on Saturday, February 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Jackson. Due to my medical schedule and an upcoming writing residency in New York, I cannot teach my usual January-March creative non-fiction writing classes. So I’m bringing back an updated version of my creativity workshop to inspire participants to commit to your personal dream of creation, whether it’s writing or takes another form. And, if you’re about written storytelling, you will get plenty of writing advice in advance of the workshop, on-site and in the materials you take with you.

I believe all creativity tells a story, so storytelling will still be at the core, but you choose the mediums for it. The workshop is super-interactive and fun. It will help you tap into and sustain the passion to tackle your dream; create space (physical and in your head) to commit to your craft; be daring enough to risk being mediocre so you can then be great; prime the pump; develop a creative rhythm; and link into a creative community to cheer you on.

The workshop segments include:

  1. Create the Passion.
  2. Brainstorm the Ideas.
  3. Plan Your Execution.
  4. Think Like An Artist.
  5. Get It Done.
  6. Find Creative Clusters.

I am providing students materials and prompts for free writes and other inspiring exercises after you sign up, so you can begin the new year with exercises and guided brainstorming to help you decide what you want to “bring” to the workshop (whether a work-in-progress or an idea to knock around or just being ready to roll).

I recommend and teach creative non-fiction writing from this book for those interested in improving written storytelling skills.

I recommend and teach creative non-fiction writing from this book for those interested in improving written storytelling skills.

Class fee includes continental breakfast; lunch from Broad Street, snacks and drinks, a binder of materials and workshop supplies, a suggested writing/activity list and weekly emails of creativity suggestions (and writing tips)  leading up to the workshop to get you ready.

The workshop fee is $250, all-inclusive. If you sign up by midnight on Friday, Feb. 15, I’m offering it for $199. You can pay by check, cash or credit card. Spots are filling up fast, and fee is non-refundable.

Write me at class@writingtochange.com for more information and to register for the class. You’re in as soon as your fee is in hand, and will get all the Shut Up and Create emails to date! All are welcome. Dress casually; come as you are ready to be inspired to create. Let’s do this.

 

Resolve to write! 2018 Writing Classes Begin Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018

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***Until midnight on Friday, Dec. 1: $199 for five classes ($151 off!)***

Want to write to change your world? The world at large? Your city? Your state? Your personal life? Your career?

My popular “Writing to Change Your World” creative non-fiction class series kicks off the first week of January. In my classes, which I’ve taught for more than 20 years, I coach you to write sparkling creative non-fiction stories, essays, columns, and memoir scenes and chapters. In these interactive workshops, you will demystify the process of writing and bring out your natural storyteller. The classes will empower you to write the story you’ve always wanted to tell. Learn the kinds of writing that persuade and engage readers, while developing your voice by writing stories you care about. No previous writing experience needed, and we work on original writing in the class, not existing manuscripts.

A class workbook and snacks/drinks at every class are included in the fee. Must register in advance; credit cards accepted; gift certificates for future classes are available in any amount starting at $25.

Class series includes five 2018 Saturday class meetings, noon – 2:30 p.m.:
Jan. 6, Jan. 20, Feb. 3, Feb. 10 and Feb. 24 in Capital Towers in downtown Jackson:
125 S.  Congress St., Suite 1324 in the JFP’s large, open learning space.

(All classes video + audio recorded if you have to miss.)

Regular price: $350
Register quickly and get the following specials:

***Until midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 3: $275 for five classes (if space available) ***
After Jan. 3: $350 for remaining available spaces
Also includes free “How to Sell Your Writing Workshop” (April 21, 2018, tentatively), value $100
Plus, you’ll get 20 percent off other future classes

Write class@writingtochange.com to register, to pay by credit card and to get on mailing list. Call 601.966.0834 for further information.
Limited spots available! Register now.

Class fees are non-refundable unless we’re able to draw from a waiting list to fill your spot. All checks should be made out to “Donna Ladd” and dropped or mailed to: Donna Ladd, JFP, 125 S. Congress St., Suite 1324, Jackson, MS 39201 (same place the class meets). Gift certificates are non-refundable.

Register now at class@writingtochange.com.

Read more about the writing instructor at donnaladd.com.

Hope to see you in class!

Companies and nonprofits: I’m available to do in-house workshops for your team members on improving their writing and storytelling, as well as bringing more creativity into their work and lives. Ask me about my “Creative S.W.O.T” analysis to help your folks tap into their creative potential at work, and combine their workplace strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with fun, creative strategies for success that strengthen the workplace culture.

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TESTIMONIALS

Great class. I highly recommend it. Will help you become a better writer or give you the tools to become a writer.
— Bryan Flynn

I absolutely love Donna Ladd’s classes. Donna empowers you to find your individual voice in writing and challenges you to find your unique perspective through narrative non-fiction and other methods of writing. She encourages your inner writing diva and provides guidance and wisdom along the way. I consider Donna a mentor and a friend.
— Anita Modak-Truran

I have taken Donna Ladd’s classes 101 and 202 and could not be happier with the information I have received. Donna has motivated me to write more and taught me how to rewrite my work increasing the quality and readability. If you are interested in improving your writing style and learning about non-fiction writing, I strongly recommend Donna’s 101 class.
— Kenneth Pennington

When I started the classes I had nothing written down on paper. Donna has inspired me to write pages and pages and really enjoy it. It has gotten a lot easier to sit down and get the words from my brain through my fingers. She has taught me how to show my stories, not just tell them.
— Carolyn Grant

There is no better way to spend a Monday night…. than Shut up and Write. No mystery here: I think Donna’s Shut Up and Write series is one of Jackson’s best-kept secrets. Donna’s class has changed my life! Are you brave enough to change yours?
— Pat Bullock Williams

Donna Ladd’s 101 Writing Class gently guided my pen from my private journal pages to pages for others to read. The course is an amazing conglomeration of fun, instruction on technique, fun, candor, fun, emphasis on truth telling, fun, and FUN!
— Jackie Warren Tatum

UPDATE from Jackie, who published her first book in late 2016:

It was in freelancing for you that I began; it was in your writing class, Donna, that I discovered the courage to understand that I was a writer.

— Jackie Warren Tatum

You changed mine! I am still writing. I am thankful every day for you.

— Emily P. Levin

I dare you to try and take just one. I’m going to need a 12-step program to get through my Donna withdrawals when 303 is over in a couple weeks.
— Kristen Phillips

Time stands still in each class! It’s hard to grasp having access to such an incredible education right here in Jackson, MS! This experience has totally inspired me!
— Candy Hagwood

Register now and get more information at class@writingtochange.com or call 601-966-0834.

Read more about the writing instructor at donnaladd.com.

Happy writing!

Reporting Advice: Shut Up and Listen

When I made the resolution back in January to get out and do more of the kinds of immersive reporting I love this year, I had no idea what that was going to mean. Fast forward four months, and I’m in New York City for the second time in two months deep into reporting on an issue vital to American society right now. (Stay tuned: I’ll reveal exactly what that is soon.)

It’s always interesting to report while on the move, whether that is a nearby town to where you live, or a city 1,000 miles away where you have to move from an AirBNB to a journalist friend’s bedroom to save on costs so you actually end up getting paid for all your efforts. So much about it is logistics: You have to make the call, or send the email, to get to who you want.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my years of reporting: Always ask. That is, no matter who you want to interview, always try. Of course, anyone can say no, but they often won’t, especially if you clearly have done your homework and you really want to hear what they have to say.

If You’re Writing To Change, You Will Be Criticized

A week ago, I published my latest opinion column in The Guardian, knowing full well that it would cause a shit-storm. As a fairly progressive writer and person, I’ve discovered over the years that it’s not the people with polar-opposite beliefs who can be the most offensive, and even hurtful, when I write something they disagree with; it’s the people who expect you to carry the same water who can get the most upset.

No one likes a traitor. Or, at least someone they decide is a traitor. They will cheer you on and put you on a pedestal as long as you stay in their line, but when you dare to step out and look at something differently, you’d better look out. So, what results is a whole bunch of writers and journalists who either pander to a certain choir, and pull punches that crowd wouldn’t like, or who split boring stories down the middle with quotes from two “sides” and call it objective. Of course, it’s also usually boring and does little to make someone think.

I don’t write or choose my topics that way. I don’t play it safe.