Coach: Knowing your patterns

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

For the last few years, I’ve been teaching courses around the business and logistics of writing through The Speakeasy Project. The reality is that many MFA programs never talk about the work of living as a writer. Particularly for POC folks who may not have the mentorship support through a MFA program or have the resources in time and finances to attend a MFA program (if a MFA is even helpful for someone’s work). It’s not enough to talk about craft (particularly if the program isn’t speaking about craft through the lenses of POC). We need to also hold space for one another to create, experiment, and then get the work out there. That means residencies, grants, sending out work, doing readings, setting up reading series, doing book tours (that don’t break you), and more. This is my third summer supporting writers through a class that was intentionally created to integrate mentorship, community work, logistics, creative writing, and offering love and appreciation back to one another. The class was also created in a way that brings in guest speaker voices, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, that pays them and is still reasonably priced so as to be affordable for writers/co-learners.

As an extension of that work, one of my former co-learners, invited me to propose a course for Kearny Street Workshops, which I did with Futurecasting, which integrates visioning strategies to carve out a writing career pathway. The course exists at the intersection between writing craft, invocation, logistics planning, community building, and what I am terming futurecasting (writing into the future).

I’ve decided that, in addition to teaching courses online, I’ll try to share a strategy that might be helpful for other writers, once a week.

This week’s strategy: As writers (and arts practitioners more generally), we often have many different ideas and projects that we are juggling. Many of them end up falling by the wayside with the sheer amount. Of course! Something is bound to fall away with all the great ideas PLUS those silly things like work and bills and family and … and things like the baby has decided to not sleep for three nights in a row. Maybe the last part is just me.

Point is: you can unpack how you best work!

Try this: give yourself a month of self-study. Take a calendar and every day write down the keywords of what you have done. If negative thoughts about not doing what you have set to do or were supposed to do or whatever rise up, try to focus on self-compassion and love. Every day you do so much; you are worthy of learning (about yourself and anything else you choose to learn)! This is just a way of tracking that, seeing how you spend your time, and determining when you are best creative and productive naturally. What’s your natural rhythm? With that information, you can start to plan writing days to truly enact your goals and start to realize your (writing) dreams.

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