Want to write more this year? Let's roll!

I created this course in 2015 after I realized there was a large pocket of people who wanted to write more. More books. More blog posts. More copy. Even more journal writing. I have LOVED teaching so many creatives, bosses, students, and lovers of the written word how to finally sit down and just do the dang thing. I would love for you to join the community of over 700+ who've taken my writing courses.

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A new project, a new chapter.

Dear reader,

It felt simple and appropriate to write this news to you in a letter. That’s how you and I have been communicating all these years. I love knowing I can come to this corner of the Internet and find you here ready for any mess of words I’ve got.

It was October 2014 when this news began to evolve. I’d just turned in the final edits for my first book and I was ready to start book #2. I remember sitting down on the couch in my co-working space at the time. I had my iMac on my lap, triumphantly typing out what I thought would be the first few sentences to this next story. I would learn in the days and weeks ahead that it wasn’t time to write book #2 because I hadn’t yet learned how to live out what I was planning to write about. In that moment, I could tell God wanted me to learn my biggest life lesson yet: less words, more work. Live a good life, don’t just talk about it.

I got a big, fat “not yet” from God when it came to this second book and I wanted to ignore it so badly. I want you to know there is beauty and purpose in the “not yet” moments you encounter with God. Don’t ignore the chance to grow and develop. Soak in the “not yet,” gain all the wisdom you can, and then say, “yes” when the time is right to finally begin.

The months following me putting my pen down were some of the hardest and the best months of my life. I did so many things to build a life I wanted: planted a garden, went on bad Tinder dates, figured out how I like my eggs, broke away from friendships, established new ones, went to therapy, learned to be honest, said “no,” read my bible for more than 5 minutes a day, figured out how to pray, showed up for my neighbors, and discovered what forgiveness feels like. I fought for so many things that I know now to be invaluable: a sense of rootedness, a place on the map to call home, discipline, and relationships. I would say the biggest thing I possess today is a real, honest faith with God, rebuilt from the ground up and finally, completely mine.

After several hard and good years of living this story, writing dozens and dozens of draft pages, I am so thankful to introduce to you my second book, available August 28, 2018, in bookstores across the country:

You Are Here: Lessons in Showing Up for Your Life with Faith Over Fear (working title)

Life can be scary. Adulting is hard. And in the chaos of building a life of your own, it’s all too easy to let fear take over and become the leading character in your story.

I know this because I have struggled with fear my entire life. I’ve given it different roles and I’ve let it reside in my presence under different names. But in the last 3 years, I learned the one choice that makes all the difference between living out of fear and living out of faith: the courage to show up for your life, with the confidence that God will meet you there, day after day.

Our hyper-connected era has led us to believe life should be a highlight reel—where what matters most is perfect beauty, instant success, and ready applause. And yet, nothing about faith, relationships, or character is instant. The life worth living isn’t a highlight reel—it’s made out of small acts of truth and kindness on repeat. This is what gives us roots to belong deeply to God and to each other and to become who we most long to be.

I want to tell you the truth I encountered and how I learned to fight back at fear and step out in faith, and show up for life.

….

I couldn’t be more excited to tell you this news and start this journey with you! We’ve got a long road of writing and editing ahead but I wanted to create a space where you and I could collaborate and commune. I am designing this closed group to be a place to connect with other readers, share stories, and receive news about the book as it makes its way to publication. I’d love for you to join me!

In the next few months, I’ll be continuing to write my heart out. I’ve started a love letter wall in my office space that is in plain sight as I sit with my computer every day and think about these words. I would love for you to write me a letter of encouragement to keep going and keep pushing fear out of the way. I would love to hear your story of kicking out fear and showing up for your life. I will add it to my writing wall and your words will be the words I look at as I try to write the best words in the world to give back to you.

You can mail all letters of encouragement to:

Hannah Brencher

535 Gresham Avenue.

Atlanta, GA.

30316.

Thank you for standing in my corner. Thank you for cheering for me. Thank you for showing up to this space again and again. It means so much.

Stay golden & keep fighting.

tying you closer than most,

hb.

Welcome to the Monday club.

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Hey you! The following post comes from my Monday Morning Email series. I don't usually post Monday Morning Emails on the blog but today is a special occasion.

  1. You might not even be aware that I send out a Monday Morning email every Monday to thousands of people like you! It's quick, it's feisty, and it's my best attempt to get back at Monday for making everyone feel so lethargic! 
  2. For forever (or three years... you pick) my Monday Morning Email could only be accessed through a waitlist. Some people waited on that little waitlist for months before entering into the super cool Monday club. 

I am proud to announce the waitlist has been ABOLISHED! Come one, come all! Pep talks arriving straight to your inbox on Monday mornings to help you quick butt and show your week who is boss! Sign up here.

I hope you'll join us

hb. & the Monday Crew 


monday #113: coming home.

Last week's email seemed to hit a cord with a lot of you. I am always so thankful when I can deliver something to your inbox that makes you feel seen and known. A lot of you came back to me and asked: how? How do I stay? How do I come home-- after a time away-- and resume life so naturally when everyone else is moving on, getting engaged and making babies?

I'll be honest: your question is a hard one. I've thought about it for the span of a week and I still wonder if I have anything I can possibly offer you that looks or seems like sound advice. In a moment of being stunted on where to start, I googled "how to plant roots down." I guess I should not have been surprised when a surplus of articles on gardening showed up on my screen. I proceeded to waste a few more minutes clicking through Google images of tree roots and exploring just how and why trees root down.

They root down so they can intake the water and the nutrients they need to live and be healthy. There's a blaring metaphor staring the both of us in the face right now. If the plant does not root down, the plant cannot grow. It needs all those nutrients and all that h2o to thrive and become what it is meant to be-- a big ol' tree.

Maybe you are in your 20's. You are traveling and exploring. You are meeting people for coffee. You are enjoying the adrenaline of not being tied down by anything or anyone. It's a romantic stage of life. I used to get on planes just because I could. I would schedule coffee dates with people I would never see again. It ensured I always had the best stories to tell all my friends when I would eventually come back home. But, as romantic as the life seemed on paper, it began to make me feel estranged and it made me feel lonely.

I'm not telling you to stop. And I am not writing to you about how you eventually need to settle down and quit meeting strangers for coffee. That's not it. But here's the question I want to ask you: where do you get your fuel from? Where do you go when you need to recharge? Who fills your tank? Who picks you up from the airport?

The owner of my favorite coffee shop asked me that last question one night while I was working late in his shop. Who picks you up from the airport? I was taken aback by the question and I was surprised to find that I didn't really have an answer for him. I couldn't name a single soul who picked me up from the airport. I would simply come home when I was ready, order an Uber, and have the car drop me off at my door.

I have people to pick me up from the airport though. I have them in Atlanta and I had them in Connecticut when I lived there. But my problem was that I didn't ask them. People cannot pick you up from the airport if you don't tell them you need them. People won't feel valued-- like their friendship is pertinent to you-- if you never have a reason to need them.

Friendships and relationships are built on need. Trust is built because the two of you are vulnerable enough to let some walls down and actually need each other to show up. Before that need comes in, you are just two people who like the company of one another. It is when we humble ourselves down to the realization that interdependency is essential that we uncover a true relationship.

Maybe I have pinned you wrong. Maybe this has nothing to do with roots or asking people to pick you up from the airport. In that case, I'm sorry. For me, the last two years have been a long and hard trek towards falling in love with ordinary life. Towards falling in love with the idea of having coffee with people who don't thrill me in the way strangers do. Towards falling in love with this idea that people in my community need me for really mundane things and I want to be there for that. I want to be there for the nights when someone needs a babysitter. I want to be there to coach someone through a trip to the Farmer's Market. Is it as romantic as hopping on a plane and then reading the diary of Sylvia Plath in a Seattle coffee shop? No, probably not. But it's a different kind of romance. It's a new kind of romance I now appreciate: a romance of a rhythm in tandem with people I want to need.

Because I like action steps,  I will tell you this: the journey to get back in sync with the people who were there for me when the plane landed began with a simple text. "Hey, do you need a babysitter next week?" It began when I squashed the story line in my brain that "all my friends are getting married" or "all my friends are married" or "all my friends have children." Because all my friends were still willing to pick me up from the airport as long as I said, "Hey, I need you."

It began with texts of encouragement or calling just to catch up. I called a friend back last week when I saw she left me a voicemail. To be honest, I didn't want to call back because a text would have been easier and I could do other seemingly more important things. But I called her. She picked up. We talked for an entire hour. And while I could have still been doing other things, I am glad I stayed on the phone. It was a way to say, "Hey, I'm here. If you need me, I am here." Otherwise, the text would have sent a completely different message to her. A message I am already good at sending: I'm too busy to call back. I'm too busy to be here now. I'm too busy to be a real friend.

The truth is that you might be in different seasons than other people. I found out that people weren't too busy for me and they weren't ignoring me. It was simply that I was waiting for them to always text me when I was capable of texting them too. I was capable of reaching out too. I only felt forgotten because I was isolating myself and giving myself another excuse to get back on a plane. I was making my own loneliness and the only way out was to stay long enough for someone to text me back.

Coming out of my own, lonely vagabond pit began with an action step and then a second one.

I want roots for you. I don't mean roots that will squash you or roots that will hold you down from going after your dreams. I want you to feel the freedom of going places and the freedom of coming home. I think home isn't a place so much as it is our ability to cultivate raw conversations and serve one another. If you can keep those things intact, you'll always be home. But I am simply learning that the best way to serve people is to stick around a bit. It's to ask them hard questions. It's to show up at their door with banana bread or make them a playlist just because. It's all this simple stuff that, like I said before, might seem mundane or not romantic. But there's something there. There is something there waiting for you in the mundane. If you stick around long enough, you'll find that the ordinary days with the people who know you will give you a better love story than an airport ever could.

tying you closer than most,

hb.

The Year of the Book: October 15!

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It's one of your life goals: write a book. You've thought about it. You've talked about it. You've even tried to make it happen before. Whether it's the last few months of 2016 or 2017, this will be the year of the book. The year where you map it out, develop your story, and sit down to write the dang thing! I created this course material for the ones who dream of getting their words on paper and want to produce bodies of works beyond 20,000 words.

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 2016 // 12-3 PM EST, 9-12 AM PST

WHERE: ONLINE! No need to be live to attend. All attendees will receive materials + replay of the class!

PRICE: $115 *THIS IS THE EARLY BIRD PRICE. CLASS WILL GO UP TO $135 ON OCTOBER 4!* 

IT'S GOING DOWN!

Part 2 of the popular (3-time sold-out) Writing Intensive offered by HB, the Year of the Book is a course that only happens once in a calendar year!

This 3-hour class will cover 1) the nitty gritty of book writing, 2) the discipline of committing to a long-term project and 3) the art of the book proposal.

I will share my process and experience of learning how to write consistently and daily, outlining a book, and getting a book deal while helping you set goals to finally push that word count of yours to the maximum. Course comes with replay, Q&A session, a writing community to join & a writing accountability partner chosen just for you!

THIS CLASS WILL COVER:

  • The difference between book writing & blog writing.
  • Making time to write.
  • Overcoming the fear of putting yourself out there.
  • The discipline of writing over 40,000 words: training for a marathon.
  • Accountability: why you need it and how to get it.
  • The bones of a book proposal.
  • A look at the publishing industry.
  • Why you need a platform.
  • Querying and finding an agent that matches your needs.

Snag your seat today!

Last call for seats: Summer Writing Intensive

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.10.40 PM My last writing intensive of 2016 is taking place on Saturday, July 30 from 3-6pm EST. Your chance to grab a seat ends on Tuesday at midnight!

The class will take place online. You don't have to leave your bed. You can attend naked if you so please. You don't even have to be available on the date of the class- you will still get the live recording just by signing up! You can expect to dig deep, take a ton of notes, find community, and face a bunch of those liars that try to keep you from writing consistently.

Here are the nitty gritty deets:

I designed this intensive to focus on the individual who wants to take their writing more seriously, get to that next level of discipline and sharing, or just start finding their voice in all the noise. This course will cover (but will not be limited to) the following: 

  • The elements of compelling storytelling
  • Breaking the fear
  • Developing voice
  • Connecting with readers
  • The art of Taylor Swifting
  • Consistency & discipline in writing
  • Vulnerability hangovers
  • Finding direction with a crowded writing world

It's going to be 3 hours packed with teaching, tips, and all I've got regarding the writing process, storytelling and branding your voice within the online world. Right before the class (and for forever after it) you will be added to a FB group full of other movers and shakers who will help keep you accountable, set big goals, and really go after your writing passion with discipline and fire. This class is worth the community alone... trust me.

Get your seat here.

Seats are $100 & limited (first come, first filled). No need to be online & present on the day of the class-- all who sign up for the class will also get the recording and presentation from the intensive!

A January Writing Intensive + $10 off.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.26.14 AM Happy Holidays to you! I hope you are planning to get offline, rest and really soak up the season with friends and loved ones.

I'll keep this thang short: I'm teaching my second 3-hour online Writing Intensive on Saturday, January 9th. It's happening. You don't even need to leave your house.

The first class in November was a huge success. The community of 100 writers are still going strong, connecting with each other daily, and really blowing me out the water with their fierce attitudes.

This class is for anyone trying find their voice who could benefit from 3-hours of solid teaching on the following:

  • The elements of compelling storytelling
  • Breaking the fear
  • Developing voice
  • Connecting with readers
  • The art of Taylor Swifting
  • Consistency & control in writing
  • Vulnerability hangovers
  • Finding direction within a crowded writing world

In honor of how cool you are, I am giving $10 off the $100 price. Just type in coupon code "JANUARYINTENSIVE" for your discount!

There's only a few more spots left (about 25!) in this Writing Intensive. When the gates close, they close forever... or at least until I offer another. I hope to see you online on January 9! It will be a beautiful way to start a brand new year together.

tying you closer than most,

hb.

Meet me on November 7. Okay? Okay!

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 4.36.42 PM Hi. Hi. Hi.

I'll get right to it: I'm teaching my very first 3-hour Writing Intensive on November 7th. It's happening. You don't even need to leave your house. You don't even need to be a writer! This class is for anyone just trying find their voice who could benefit from 3-hours of solid teaching on the following:

  • The elements of compelling storytelling
  • Breaking the fear
  • Developing voice
  • Connecting with readers
  • The art of Taylor Swifting
  • Consistency & control in writing
  • Vulnerability hangovers
  • Finding direction within a crowded writing world

I can promise you this: it is gon' get real. And the coolest part? It's online. Again, you don't even need to leave your house. You can join the class while wearing slippers and hot chocolate on a Saturday. You can buy a new notebook and fill the whole thing up. You can slug wine at 3 in the afternoon and play Macklemore in the background as I am teaching if that's your deal (though I recommend taking the class sober). You can do whatever you want, the world is truly yours. I will not stop you. The whole class will not stop you.

BUT, BUT, BUT... there are only a few spots left before we close the doors FOR-EV-ER (Sandlot reference) so we must move quickly. 

 

I've been working hard on the content for this class (you can see more details on the 3-hour breakdown here) but I'll just come out and say it now: I'm not an expert. No, not really. However, I've managed to get a few things done in the last couple of years:

  • At the age of 24, I signed to New Leaf Media Literary Agency. My first memoir "If You Find This Letter" (Howard Books of Simon & Schuster) came out in March 2015. It will release in paperback form in Spring 2016 and will also hit the shelves in Russia & Germany. My stationery kit (Potter Style, an imprint of Random House) came out in December 2014.
  • I took the TED stage at the age of 24 for their Global Talent Search and have since continued to travel around the world to colleges and conferences across the country sharing my story. I've hit over 100 stages in the last few years.
  • I'm the Founder of The World Needs More Love Letters. In the last four years, More Love Letters has grown into a community of over 20,000 individuals across all 50 states, 53 countries, and over 60 college campuses.
  • I launched my own creative copywriting & consulting services for personal brands and individuals back in 2014.
  • My work has been featured in (but not limited to) the following publications: The Wall Street Journal, Oprah, Glamour, Cosmo UK, USATODAY.com, Chicago Tribune, BBC News, the White House, and Reader's Digest.
  • I've worked with brands such as the United States Postal Service, Tiny Prints, Kleenex, KIND, Holstee, and Catalyst.
  • In 2015, I launched If You Find This Email with one of my best friends, Jenna Bednarsky.
  • I have managed to keep 1 fish alive for approximately 6 months-- which shows dedication and commitment.

More than any kind of street cred, I am simply someone who has sat down nearly every single day for the last 5 years to write something-- whether it be pages for a book, an article, a blog post, or a project. I am obsessed with the guts and grit it takes to be a writer in this world. Some would say that you can't become a better writer-- you are either a solid writer or you are not. I don't believe that. For me, the writing process has been a hell of a lot more about discipline and hurdling over fear than whether my resonates with someone off the page. The more you write, the more your voice develops. When people told me I should teach writing classes I threw my hands up so quickly saying, "No way, not happening. No way."

Yet here I am offering my first Writing Intensive to the internet. I still can't believe it is happening. It's nothing I planned for but, after teaching a class through the Influence Network (which I highly recommend), I realized I have a love for teaching individuals who want to write, blog, and create more. I feel for this pocket of people like no other. I mean, I've been in this little corner of the internet for almost 5 years now! Five. Stinking. Years. And me and this blog are still married and really in love! Along the way, I've learned a great deal about the struggle, the hustle, the book writing process, and the nitty, gritty & skinny on branding. I'm ready to put it all out there, lay it all out there for you.

There's only a few more spots left to my first Writing Intensive. When the gates close, they close forever... or at least until January when I offer another. I hope to see you online on November 7th! It will be a beautiful way to treat yourself before the holiday season rolls through.

tying you closer than most,

hb.

When it started because of you.

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Jenna showed up in May.

May of last year.

She shoved out her hand in front of me and told me she wanted to help me in any way I needed her. I was new to Georgia. My furniture was barely assembled. I was learning in the daily that IKEA is just another same for Satan.

I was settling into a new office space and beginning to ask those questions. You know the kind of questions I’m writing about: What am I doing here? Why did I move? Why does this feel so strange and uncomfortable?

And then there was Jenna. Immediately, she was a light. She was only 19. She was the kind of person who’d stood on the earth for a quick & short time but her spirit was decades old. Her spirit had lived and died and breathed and broken several times before it met me in Cabbagetown of Atlanta.

I’m the type of person who does not know how to ask for help easily.

Maybe you’ve caught onto that. I’d rather be self-sufficient. I’d rather not flinch and say I need people. But when she asked if she could help I told her about my email. My inbox.

“There’s about 800 emails that stacked up over the last few months of book writing,” I confessed. “Click into a few and you’ll understand why I haven’t been able to get to each one yet.”

Truth told: emails are my favorite. People think it is letters but I really love the sort of emails where someone spills their heart and guts all over the white space and then clicks “send.”

So Jenna and I sat down one afternoon, side by side on the island countertop in my office. And we started clicking and reading. Clicking and reading. Some names I knew. Some names I’d never seen before.

We came across this one story that will never cease to be my favorite.

The story that changed the way I looked at humans and heartbreak altogether.

The story was from a girl who’d been going through all the grit and turmoil it takes to find that the person you love with your whole body just isn’t for you anymore. They’d been so in love. And now it was time to let go.

She wrote to me that she’d asked her boyfriend, that same boy, if they could please just have one more day. Just one more day where they acted like nothing was wrong, like nothing had broken.

He agreed. Somehow he agreed.

The day went well, she wrote. The day went well up until they had a picnic in the park. And in that park she lay her head into his lap and cried.

I bit back the tears as I read. I’d sat in that position before: the position you sit in when you realize something is over. Not for tomorrow. Not for the next day. But for all the days you’re ever gonna get on this sweet, green earth.

She just cried and cried.

It was in church that next morning that she saw the boy again. He looked like a mess. He was wearing the same grey button down he’d worn the day before. She could see her tear stains in the grey shirt.

It was in the moment, in the packed-out church, that she wanted to stand and scream, “Do you see those tears? Those tears in his fabric? They are mine. That boy- he’s mine.”

But then she realized what we all are forced to realize at one point or another: people are not things. People are not things and we cannot keep them.

Jenna and I sat there just staring at the screen.

We didn’t move. We didn’t know what to say. We could not keep ourselves from banging our fists on the table and yelling out, “People are just so cool. They have no idea how cool they are.”

You see, that was just one story.

Out of dozens. Hundreds. That had piled up over the months of writing. Heartbreak. Letting go. Finding God. Losing hope. Recovering that hope, resuscitating it with all a person had. A lot of times we didn't know who they were, or what life had dealt them, but we were reading and hoping for them all the same.

We started scribbling lines down.

I started typing them out and lining the lines up on white sheets of paper on a concrete wall.

"She hadn’t forgotten him, she has just chosen to continue her life with the people that love her.”

"I think there's a time in everyone's life where they find themselves hysterically crying in a parking lot -- my time was today.”

"We played checkers with the scars in our hearts like one of us had to win.”

I was afraid to let the words out of my sight. Afraid that if I stepped away from the poetry, the people would fade. The feelings would go. Every line was making me feel so much more human than I’d felt in a long while. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling before: the one where you suddenly feel so alive and right that you’re forced to ask yourself, "how long was I dead for? How long was I burnt out and tired and unable to see the good in humanity?

The emails have kept coming.

They’ve only come stronger and harder in the days that followed. And we decided we just could not keep the words to ourselves. We needed to share them. We needed to find a common space for all these words that were making us suck in deep and whisper, “Me too.” Yes, me too.

So that is why If You Find This Email now exists. It’s a tribute to strangers and their mystery. It’s a tribute to cities & states we’ll never visit. It’s a tribute to the things that are harder to say. The things that tie us closer together.

It’s for everyone. Anyone who needs the reminder, “You are not alone. Really, you aren’t.”

I hope you look around today.

At your own life. At the lives around you.

I think we can get so caught up in what we are doing and why we need to be somewhere in ten minutes that we forget why we’re even here, why we even get dressed and walk outside each day.

It isn’t to fulfill a to-do list. It isn’t to a live a life that is better than someone else’s.

We’re here to make it easier for one another. We’re here to huddle close. We’re here to speak for one another when the words just can’t be found.

We need a reminder sometimes. A reminder that we are fragile. Joined. Resilient. Losing. Winning. We’re all looking for home. We’re letting go. We’re wondering where we fit in the world. We’re trying.

We’re hoping. All just hoping that tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, it will get a little easier and maybe be a little bit more beautiful.

My book, love notes & giveaways.

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Deep breaths.

Big, deep breaths.

It's drawing closer and my book is coming out in one month... Just. One. Month.

I'm flipping just a little... Just a tad.

But really, it was the biggest honor in the world to have the chance to write my story down and it's an even bigger blessing that it gets to meet you in just a few short weeks. Trust me, trust me, you are getting all of me wrapped into a spine when you pick up that book and start flipping through the pages.

The hardcover copies showed up today. I wept. What else is new? Do I ever stop crying?

But today is not about tears... it's about giving some sweet thangs away. Mainly these:

 

  • Two (2) copies of my Love Letter Writing Kit (with love letters from me tucked inside!)
  • One (1) copy of my memoir (autographed) that I have personally gone through and tucked notes and secrets inside of. I love nothing more than filling books with messages & highlights & scribbles so you'll get all my personal notes & thoughts from the original book.

You could win one... you could win all three. Who knows?!?!


Entering this giveaway is as simple as it gets:

1. Send or resend proof of preorder purchase of If You Find This Letter to preorder@hannahbrencher.com

AND // OR

2. Instagram + hashtag (#loveisinthemail) in a photo of you & your Love Letter Writing Kit (selfies are ALWAYS welcomed).


Looking forward to sharing more fun things with all of you.

May the odds be ever in your favor :)

tying you closer than most,

hb.