And, of course, the punchline to the old joke is: Practice, practice, practice.
As a writer, what is your Carnegie Hall? Do you dream of getting your thriller on to the New York Times Bestseller List, or is quietly crafting a poem that speaks true to your heart and mind the pinnacle of your writerly ambition? I want to do what I love to do well, and often forget that well in my creative writing looks different given the day and an infinite set of variables. I commit to practice, to showing up, and that looks different given the day, too.
It’s November, and some of us are bellying up to the beast that is NaNoWriMo, the 30-day marathon toward 50,000 words, a month-long sprint in pursuit of that coveted achievement, the novel. I’ve had good experiences with NaNo, from creating the bones of what would become—with much more than a month’s work—my first published novel, to supporting others in their deep dive into practice. For that is what NaNoWriMo is to me, a baptism, of sorts, into serious practice. Are most of us likely to pound out 1,666.66 words every day for the rest of our writing lives? Not likely. But if you can do it for 30 days—in no way incidentally one of the toughest months to procure alone time, what with a major holiday and daylight savings and what-all nonsense—you’ve affirmed that you can make time to write.
And then there’s process, from the Latin, processus, a going forward. Your process may be distinct from another writer’s, but it takes a form, and proceeds best when fed with new challenges and inspiration. The November creative writing workshop at Blank Pages is entitled Process & Practice. We throw the word development into the description, from the French, déveloper, to unroll, or unfold. Like all our workshops, this one is designed to inspire that which wants to unfold with craft-specific prompts and other tools to take back to your practice, hone your process.
Whether you’re planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this month or no, our community offers a plethora of opportunities to touch base and practice the craft among your fellow creatives. Check out the calendar on writerscollectiveofcentraloregon.com, and join us for Process & Process November 2nd, as well as our come-one-come-all writers’ salon on November 16th, at The Workhouse.