This week’s episode is short and sweet as Addey recaps our first writing workshop that took place this past weekend! Here’s the gist: if you didn’t sign up, you should for the next one. Listen here or wherever you listen to podcasts to hear all about it!
Lately I’ve been feeling like there are so many things I want to write and read! The creative drought I was experiencing at the beginning of quarantine (and, similarly, the beginning of this year) is now officially over. While it can be sad and depressing to have no inspiration or motivation to write, it can also be overwhelming when the floodgates open and writing ideas are pouring in nonstop!
Because I’ve gone from one extreme to the other lately, I thought I would share some of the tips and techniques I have been using to make sure I am getting writing in but not feeling like I’m drowning in ideas with no good place to start.
Make a list of all the things you want to work on.
In addition to some poems, blog posts for borrowed solace, and a book idea I have been working on, I also recently started writing on Medium. We are also in the process of finalizing the content for the virtual workshop we are having tomorrow (Seeing What is Invisible: A Mystical Writing Workshop at 7 pm MST in case you haven’t heard!) which involves some planning, reading, and writing. It’s a lot! So for now I am settling for making a list of things I want to write about. Maybe it’s a phrase that comes to me that would be an amazing opening line of a poem, or an article I want to publish on Medium about close reading (English nerd alert) but either way, I currently have them in a running list of topics/writing starters stored in a chaotic Google Doc I created. It’s not neat or organized by any means, but it’s better than nothing.
Pick one thing off of said list to work on at a time.
It’s definitely been helpful for me to work on one thing at a time and try my best to finish one thing before moving on to another. Granted, that’s not really how writing a book works, so there are exceptions, but if I am going to start a new article or a blog post, my goal is to finish it entirely before moving on to another thing. Same thing goes for poems. There will always be edits and revisions to be done after I deem something “complete” (nothing is every truly complete for us writers, after all) but getting that first draft to a point where it is at least coherent and has a clear beginning, middle, and end helps me keep my sanity.
Read or write every day. You don’t have to do both (unless you want to!)
Something that has bugged me a little bit about everyone being in quarantine is the idea that we all have so much more free time than normal. Sure, I am at home, but I am still working full time (my workdays are sometimes more hectic and stressful than they were pre-quarantine) and juggling my normal chores and obligations. Small group may be virtual and hangouts with friends may be over a Facebook video call, but they didn’t just up and disappear! Because of this, I often find myself getting to somewhere around eight o’clock at night not having focused on my writing or reading tasks for the day. I could spend half an hour on two things (I am a grandma and go to bed at nine o’clock most nights) or I could spend a really great hour devoted to just one thing. My choice is to spend time on one thing! That might be reading instead of writing one day, which is fine! I am currently reading a book (and keep getting more in the mail to add to my reading list—they just show up. I wonder who is ordering them and then forgetting about them… *It’s me*) and I am also reading and giving feedback on a draft of a story from Nicole. Both of those things take time, so choosing to just read one day is A-Okay with me!
Most importantly, if you are jugging too many writing to-do’s, take breaks! You don’t want to get burnout. It is very real and it is very un-fun. So take a day where all you do is binge watch the new season of Dead to Me (anyone else? That show is absolutely bonkers and absolutely incredible all at once) and get back on the writing train later in the week. It’s okay for your writing life and it’s definitely okay for your sanity. You deserve it.
I hope these tips are helpful for you if there’s a lot of writing in your future! And, just to shamelessly plug the workshop yet again, don’t forget to sign up for Seeing What is Invisible: A Mystical Writing Workshop happening TOMORROW, May 16th, at 7 pm MST. Click here to sign up—hope to see you there!
On season two episode seven of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey, Amber, and Nicole discussed their favorite authors and influences. See the names of the authors they discussed below if you’d like to check them out:
Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket)
Also, check out Rick Riordan’s character and writing advice on his website here.
Imagine we are chatting during a Netflix watch party (what else is there to do while we are socially distanced?) about this week’s episode. Who are your favorite authors? How have they influenced you? Sound off in the comments below!
This week on the podcast, Addey is joined by Amber and Nicole to discuss favorite authors and how they inspire our own writing. You may have heard the editors talk about these authors before, but now hear about what makes their writing good and how we write by example.
*We are going to be hosting some free virtual writing workshops in the coming weeks! If you are interested, be sure to follow us on social media for all the details.*
This past weekend Nicole and I attended a virtual poetry workshop with Iowa City Poetry. It was a refreshing change of pace from the hum drum that has become everyday life during the pandemic. Something to look forward to after a week of working in pajamas and watching all of Big Little Lies (I’m speaking for myself here, but Nicole has probably watched her fair share of binge-worthy shows over the past several weeks, too.)
The workshop was unique in that it was dealing with how to write about loss. Specifically the losses that we are all going through right now–the little losses. It can be hard to hold space to grieve the loss of normalcy that we are all grappling with. This is especially hard when so many are dealing with what seems like much more heart-wrenching losses. Some have lost jobs and family members to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean that the little losses don’t affect us all as we go about our day to day lives.
In this workshop, we focused on those little losses, listing the things that we’ve lost or are missing right now and contrasting them with where we are physically right now–at home at the kitchen table, at our messy desk, staring into a blue-lit computer screen.
I found this workshop to be a wonderful reminder of what it is to create and write. It was amazing to encounter other writers and creatives who were sad about not getting to go work everyday, musing about how the world seemed quieter and louder all at once, and ultimately taking an hour and half out of their Sunday to write and talk about it. I would up with three and a half pages of scribbles about all of this and a poem that somewhat reflects how I am feeling:
I miss knowing I don’t have to be alone.
Since Nicole and I both participated, she wanted to share her thoughts as well:
“What I learned from this writing workshop is two things: what writing can do in a crisis like this for people feeling lots of emotions, and how to write about a sense of where you are. I didn’t write anything like Addey did. I have no motivation to really write now as I am trying to deal with an over-whelming list of things to do. So, what I did learn is that writing can notice and name what you are dealing with, and the page you wrote those thoughts and feelings on is the space that can hold them. I never thought of a piece of paper as a structure to hold a story, it is a tool, a tiny monument. To write something on a page, you are building that tiny monument page by page.
“Second, inventory of where you are: your five senses, your gravity at the moment, the position of your body at the moment you are writing, or how you are sitting in a chair watching people in this workshop write what you cannot at the moment. I definitely lost the daily routine I had when I had to start working from home and had to create a new one.”
It’s Addey again, now. The other thing that this workshop left Nicole and I with is the desire to be involved in more workshops like this one. It was truly such an uplifting time getting together with other writers and talking about writing. It’s something we all might be lacking right now as we are not able to see physical writing partners and groups in person. So, because of this, and due to a small but mightily resounding “yes” to our inquiry on all of our social media pages, we have decided to have our own virtual writing workshop!
More details to come, so be sure to follow us everywhere to stay in the loop. We will be creating an event on Facebook so you can share and invite your friends. We are hoping this will be a time of restorative writing and a needed rest from the chaos of the global pandemic. Plus, if all goes well and there is a good turnout, this may be something we carry on into non-pandemic times, too.
Thanks for reading! We look forward to connecting via virtual workshops in the coming days.
On season two episode six of borrowed solace: the podcast, Addey was joined by executive editor Nicole to talk about how to stay creative in the midst of chaos. Our current world seems to be one full of chaos, so figuring out where to put your time, energy, and creativity right now is important! Whether, for you, that means taking a step back to relish doing nothing for a little while like Addey, plowing ahead with your home improvement projects like Nicole, or something else entirely, we want to hear about it!
Imagine we are chatting in a virtual workshop (*hint, hint*–stay tuned for some future communications about this very thing) and discussing this episode. What’s your creativity looking like lately? Let us know in the comments below!
We are all living through a collectively stressful and chaotic situation right now in the midst of COVID-19. So, on this episode, Addey and Nicole talk about it! How can you stay creative during such a time as this? What are some ways to calm stress and anxiety? What are our editors up to right now? Take a listen to find out!
On season two episode five of borrowed solace: the podcast, Nicole was joined by her cousin Kate to talk about her small business and what it is like working for yourself. If you’d like to find out more information about Kate & Co., please visit them on Facebook.
And, as always, please leave your thoughts below. Pretend we are touching base via video chat and discussing this week’s episode. What are your thoughts?
This episode Nicole takes over as host and is joined by her cousin Kate McIntosh to talk about her small business and creative career in hair styling. This is the second episode in our creative careers series.
Thank you so much to the writers and artists who lent their work to our little corner of the internet. We are so proud to release our spring 2020 issue into the world!
We hope the words within the pages of issue 3.1 can bring you some solace in the midst of all that is going on in the world. While in many ways it seems like a crazy time to release a literary journal, we take solace ourselves in the fact that this issue might serve as a source of needed relief from the chaos outside.
To see issue 3.1 in all her glory, visit the store and snag yourself a copy. If you’d like to see a sneak preview of the journal, visit the “Current Issue” page.
Thanks again to all our wonderful contributors, readers, listeners, and fellow creatives working to make the world a more dazzling place. We wouldn’t be here without you.