WEEKEND WORKSHOPS WITH ANN AND JADE

We're Ann Friedman and Jade Chang, two freelance writers who used to be magazine editors, and we miss edit meetings. There’s something immensely satisfying about batting around the germ of a story and figuring out how it would best grow into an article. So let us help you with the two crucial steps to getting assignments that you really want: Developing the idea and honing the pitch.

Last summer we created a sold-out pitching workshop in L.A., and it was great. (See the "Burning Questions" section below for some of our glowing reviews.) Many of our attendees landed big pitches in the months that followed. But we realized that some of the pitches we were workshopping actually needed to take a step back, to the idea phase, for more attention. And so when we decided to bring our workshop to New York, we chose to do it over two separate days: One devoted to generating fantastic ideas, and the second dedicated to figuring out how and where to pitch them. A day for your right brain and a day for your left. A day to think big and a day to get real.

Don’t worry—there will be plenty of practical tips during the idea session, and lots of room for brainstorming and creativity during the pitch session. It will also be a lot of fun. We invite you to join us for the full weekend, or for just one session if that’s more your speed.

Want more details? Read on!


DAY 1: IDEA SESSION

Brooklyn, NY — Saturday, March 31 — 10am-4pm

Where do you get your ideas? That’s a question that writers hear all the time. But the real question should be: How do you develop your ideas? The writing that we love and aspire to never springs from a single place: instead, it’s always an unexpected layering of themes and sources, facts and theories. We’ll help you level up your ideas. In this constructive, day-long workshop, you'll:

  • Hear a step-by-step breakdown of our own idea-development processes, including lots of examples,
  • Learn about methods that other writers use to develop ideas,
  • Hone your own process for coming up with specific, compelling things to write about,
  • Get thoughtful, actionable feedback on your nascent ideas,
  • Make an action plan for your project.

First, we'll spend some time discussing tools that we and other writers use to find and build great ideas. Then we'll devote the rest of the day to your ideas: where and how to find them, how to go from broad topics to concrete stories, and how to effectively layer and draw together seemingly disparate thoughts. All attendees are required to show up with their list of not-quite-fully-formed ideas. (You keep some sort of document with all that stuff in it, right? We definitely do.) We promise you'll leave with a strong sense of how to level up at least two of the ideas on it. This is designed to be an intimate group where you'll get the detailed feedback on early-stage ideas that you've been missing from your overworked editors.

This session will be helpful whether you’re writing features, essays, short stories or novels. We think that even those developing shows, podcasts, etc. can benefit from this day.

Don't worry—we'll feed you. Coffee, ample snacks, seltzer, and lunch are included.

$250 per person.* Registration is limited to 14 people.

We'll send exact location info after you register, but email us if you have questions about the physical space: ann@ladyswagger.com.


DAY 2: PITCH SESSION

Brooklyn, NY — Sunday, April 1 — 10am-4pm

Like we said, we used to be magazine editors. We've been on the receiving end of hundreds of pitches. And, in our freelance writing careers, we’ve sent almost as many. So let us help you turn your ideas into concrete pitches—and match those pitches with outlets that are a great fit. In this intimate, day-long workshop, you'll:

  • Turn your ideas into compelling, specific pitches,
  • Face your fear of rejection,
  • Rethink your relationships with editors,
  • Get actionable feedback on your past pitches,
  • Gain insight into the factors that drive editorial decisions,
  • Learn how to set a timetable so your pitches aren't stuck in limbo,
  • Get editors' contact information so you can actually pitch them, and, duh,
  • Write at least two really solid pitch emails.

We'll spend the morning discussing the art and process of the pitch. In the afternoon, we'll consider your ideas and how they might best be pitched. All attendees are required to submit one of their not-yet-successful pitches in advance, and bring another one on the day of the workshop. We promise you'll leave with at least two strong pitches and a good sense of how you want to approach future pitches, too.

You can’t do this work on an empty stomach! Coffee, ample snacks, seltzer, and lunch are included.

$250 per person.* Registration is limited to 14 people.

We'll send exact location info after you register, but email us if you have questions about the physical space: ann@ladyswagger.com.


BURNING QUESTIONS

WHO ARE THESE WORKSHOPS FOR?

Both of these workshops are intended for people who have ~some~ experience with writing and publishing. Perhaps you are someone who has been writing and pitching for a few years and written some things you're excited about, but you want to take your career to the next level. Or maybe you're someone who's had a job where you have to produce a lot of newsy posts, and you're so ready to write longer, more substantive things. Our workshops are good for staff writers who aren't getting a lot of attention from their editors, for people who are new to freelance writing, for experienced short-form writers who want to write more long-form, and for tentative, occasional pitchers who want to become a regular, confident pitchers.

WHO ARE ANN AND JADE?

Ann is a regular contributor to New York magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and The Gentlewoman. She sends a popular weekly email newsletter and co-hosts the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. Before becoming a freelancer, she was a magazine editor. (Though you probably know at least some of this, because you are on her website right now.)

Jade is the author of the novel The Wangs Vs. The World, which she is adapting into a series for Hulu. The New York Times selected it as an editor's choice and called her "unendingly clever." She has worked as an arts and culture journalist for publications like the BBC, Metropolis, Angeleno, Glamour, and The Los Angeles Times Magazine.

WHY ARE THESE WORKSHOPS SO GREAT?

Don’t take it from us, take it from our previous attendees. Here are some of the things they said about our workshop last year:

  • “I really felt like I made headway on a pitch that was pretty bad and am now working towards a great story.”
  • “I felt far more confident in my ability to pitch when I left.”
  • “Each person got personal attention and specific, helpful feedback from their small group leader and fellow participants. Having Ann or Jade lead the small groups I thought heightened the level of helpful feedback, getting us all (including myself) to dig below our initial surface suggestions and really hone in on how to improve each other's pitches.”
  • “It was really special, I'm so grateful to the two of you for hosting it.”
  • “You both really made it worth the price and it was evident you planned and were concerned with delivering the best possible info to everyone.”
  • “Can I just say how much I enjoyed the overall group discussion! It was a safe space to swap ideas.”
  • “Just wanted to thank you both for such an amazing day. I rarely feel like I get the whole package out of indie workshops but I went out on a limb and splurged for this one and was not disappointed.”

Also, our previous workshop attendees have stayed in touch and supported each other through the ups and downs of pitching process, which we think is a testimonial in and of itself.

CAN I ATTEND BOTH DAYS?

Yes, we encourage it! Just click on the purchase links for each day (Idea Session here, Pitch Session here), click "add to cart" on each, and check out after both sessions are in your cart.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO KNOW?

Don't be shy. Send an email: ann@ladyswagger.com

*Registration may be available at reduced cost to a select few of those who would be unable to participate otherwise. Send an email to ann@ladyswagger.com that briefly describes your financial need and desire to participate, and we'll decide on a case-by-case basis whether to offer a discount.