General registration for summer quarter classes is OPEN! Find your perfect writing class here☀️

Beside Ourselves with Joy

with Jennifer McGaha

Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essay


Open to all levels

4 Sessions

Start Date: July 13, 2024
End Date: August 3, 2024
Day of Week: Saturday
Time: 1:10 pm - 3:10 pm PT
Capacity: 15 seats
Member Price: $273.60
General Price: $304.00

In stock

Explore the practice of cultivating joy in this generative reading and writing workshop. We’ll begin each class by reading joyful works from writers such as Ross Gay, Zadie Smith, Brian Doyle, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Maggie Smith, Richard Chess, Robert Vivian, Mildred Barya, and others. Then, we’ll move into generative writing activities, which will help us to excavate stories we’ve long since told ourselves and gather a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. You’ll leave this workshop with several writing starts, fresh ideas for expanding and developing your work, and additional writing prompts and resources you can return to again and again. 

Perfect for writers who want to begin a new project, develop existing work, or simply immerse yourself in the company of other joyful writers! 

This class includes:  

  • Generative Writing: students create new work during class or from assignments. 
  • Feedback from peers and instructor. 
  • Optional writing and/or reading outside of class. 

Registration Dates:

  • June 4: Member registration opens at 10:30 am PT 
  • June 11: General registration opens at 10:30 am PT
  • June 18: Last day of Early Bird discount
Jennifer McGaha

Jennifer McGaha

Jennifer McGaha is the author of Flat Broke with Two Goats, Bushwhacking: How to Get Lost in the Woods and Write Your Way Out, and The Joy Document (Broadleaf Books, 2024). She currently coordinates UNC-Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program.

Describe your teaching style.

My teaching practice is deeply rooted in this belief in the power of writing to be both radical and revelatory. I encourage my students to approach memoir writing with more questions than answers, more curiosity than certitude, and I invite them to appreciate and even enjoy writing as a process that involves multiple drafts, multiple attempts at reaching for the truth. For me, this hope of gaining new insights into the experiences that have shaped me brings me to the page time and time again, and I encourage my students to approach their craft with an openness to what might be versus what is. My teaching, like my writing, is accessible, joyful, celebratory, and I value the unique insights each writer brings to the classroom with the ultimate goal of helping students discover the stories they most want to tell.

Each class description includes a breakdown of what you can expect in terms of in-class activity, feedback, and homework (if any). 

Generative means you’ll be generating new writing, either in class or at home between classes.

Workshop means you’ll be sharing work to be read and critiqued by your instructor and classmates and that you will also be critiquing the work of your peers. 

Reading means you’ll be doing close reading of a work with an eye toward craft. 

Craft discussion means you’ll be looking at the tools writers use to do that thing they do so well and then trying it out yourself.

Class levels are designed for various stages of the writing journey. Simply self-select the level that sounds best for where you’re at. 

Introductory: This is your first creative writing workshop, first writing class since high school, or first foray into a new genre or form. You’re looking to try something new, kickstart your writing, and/or establish yourself in the fundamentals.

Intermediate: You have a strong understanding of writing fundamentals and are eager to deep dive into craft. You’re honing your writerly identity and voice through independent projects. In workshop, you look for constructive feedback and are ready to do writing and reading outside of class.

Advanced: You’ve written a significant body of work and have taken it through several stages of revision. You’re getting ready to publish or are in the early stage of publishing, and you’re interested in refining the skills that will take you to the next level in the literary industry.

All Levels: You are any of the above and are looking to play with new possibilities.

You’ll get your class information, including Zoom link if applicable, three days before the first day of class.

Write With Hugo House is our free monthly write-in program, operated in partnership with the Seattle Public Library. Two take place onsite at SPL locations, one takes place online. 

Sliding-scale classes are offered every quarter. Find them in our Class Catalog.

We announce flash sales, early bird periods, and special deals through our e-newsletter; sign up at the bottom of this page.

At this time, we offer payment plans on classes 8 sessions and up. Email with the name of the class you’re interested in to set up a payment plan.

Asynchronous classes are perfect for students that need flexibility!

During an asynchronous class, instructors release new lessons once per week. Students then have one week to complete that lesson and any accompanying coursework. You’ll learn as much as you would in a traditional class but with the flexibility to work at the best times for your schedule!

While there are no live sessions, asynchronous classes are still a lively and rigorous experience. Async classes are not static lessons but an adaptable and energetic community space. Be ready to work in a collaborative environment, giving and receiving feedback on your writing, participating in discussions, and growing your writing practice in a way that works best for you.

Asynchronous classes take place through the website Wet Ink. Students receive an invitation to the class and to set up a Wet Ink account on the start date of the class. Each week of the class, a new lesson will be available through the Wet Ink portal. Classes close two weeks after the end date, and students receive an email containing their content from the class when it closes.

Hugo House will only process refund requests that are submitted 5 business days or more before the class start date. To request a refund, log in to your account, go to “My Account,” select the “Orders” tab on the left-hand side, click the appropriate order, and request a refund for your specific class. Administrative fees apply. Please see our full refund policy here.

In general, we do not record classes. However, an exception if a student has specific access needs.

We encourage students to only sign up for classes that fit with their schedule.   

We do not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Please check out our full community guidelines by clicking here. If an instance of community guidelines are violated and not resolved within the classroom, students may let us know by filling out the student incident report.

If Hugo House needs to cancel a class for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.

Hugo House members get to register early for classes – a full week before they open to the general public!, receive a 10% discount on events and classes, and more. See the full list of membership benefits here!

Donations of all sizes allow us to provide access to quality writing classes, events, and experiences for all. Please consider making a donation to Hugo House today.

If you’re interested in contributing your skills, Hugo House accepts volunteer applications for a variety of roles, including event support, administrative tasks, and more. Learn more on our Volunteer page.

Learn about all the ways to support Hugo House here.

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