Being Funny, Fearing Failure, and Doing It Anyway

Being Funny, Fearing Failure, and Doing It Anyway

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Writers, especially writers of humor, don’t like to write. That’s because we long for an immediate response. We want an ideal reader to accept and appreciate what we’re saying before we’ve finished the first line. But if you ever receive a letter from an editor or an agent with the phrase, “You’re a really wonderful writer,” please understand you’re being rejected. The amateur will recoil and defend; the professional will take a deep breath and say, “What should I do differently?” Those are hard words to say, but they are essential. They are words that indicate you’re beginning your real life as a real writer. If someone is willing to work with you, THAT is acceptance. That is success. In this session, you will learn to write for an unknown reader. You’ll learn that only specific and personal stories reach a universal audience. You’ll learn not only to get your best work into the spotlight but learn to survive under the glare of attention—and embrace the illumination that comes from writing humor and telling the truth.


Gina Barreca, Ph.D., Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut is author of ten books, including the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted, as well as Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League, and It’s Not That I’m Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquer the World. Translated into Chinese, Japanese, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, she’s recognized internationally as an expert on humor and everyday life. Called “Smart and funny,” by People magazine and deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. magazine, Barreca’s been published by The New York Times, The Independent of London, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, The Harvard Business Review, and appeared, often as a repeat guest, on the “Today” show, CNN, the BBC, PBS, NPR, and 20/20. Gina's Psychology Today blog has received more than 7.5 million views. She’s now editing the Fast Women series for Woodhall Press. Fast Funny Women and Fast Fierce Women have received rave reviews. Fasten your seatbelts, because Fast Fallen Women is coming out in September of 2023, and Fast Famous Women will be published in 2024.

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