Last year, when Liz Howard won the Griffin Poetry Prize, she told the audience that writing saved her life. “[F]or me, poetry made life possible,” she said.
I get this. I understand this a lot.
Lately, things have not been easy for my family, and I’ve been at my mother’s.
Before coming here, I was in a bit of a creative rut (as, it seems, are many writers I talk to these days), but somehow being mired in difficult circumstances has sharpened my vision, and I’ve found myself magnetically drawn back to my work. Finishing short stories, making novel notes.
When things are tough, I think, a lot of us turn to writing to help us process what we’re experiencing.
I love what Anne Lamott says: “writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water – just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness.”
But, the question remains, do things have to suck for inspiration to be sparked? Because in order to get anything done, anything steady, anything real, like the big journey of a novel, we have to (obvs, as the kids say) show up for ourselves day after day.
How to do this?
Short answer: build and maintain a practice.
You might want to do this.
You might have been wanting to do this for years.
You might feel like I have that writing has saved you again and again throughout your life but now you want more.
You want to finish things, send out short stories, get to the end of a novel draft. And, of course. Of course you do.
Well, I’ve got a bit of advice to give – about getting started, settling in, dealing with the anxiety that can arise with the approach towards creative work – and I’ve compiled this advice in a new course that I’m almost done building, and that will launch on October 16th (originally I said the 15th, but I need the extra day due to, well, life).
The course is called Nine Simple Steps To a Solid Writing Practice, and it picks up where this first bit of advice leaves off:
If you want to write, if writing is in your DNA, you will not feel truly satisfied, truly connected with yourself, until you do it.
It’s not enough to say: I’ll get to it when I’m on my vacation, when the kids are grown, when I retire. If writing is connected with your life’s purpose, then now is the time. And you can fit it in. And I can show you how.
A former client and friend of mine, Angie Gallop, has recently taken my course, and she had this to say:
“Writing what I want to write on top of keeping up with my day job was never something I could do on a regular basis. Until I took up with Coach Carter. She guided me through the (sometimes painful!) process of making time for myself, showing up to the page and managing my anxiety so that I could get to my own work. I completed a short story I’d been thinking about for ages. I didn’t have to quit my job. I didn’t have to be a bad mom to my children. Then, as summer came on, my schedule changed and I stopped showing up at my desk again. This course, visually beautiful and wise, has helped me to re-connect with my writing. I’m back at it again. Next time I stray, I know I’ll have this course in my back pocket to help me return.”
Could this be for you, or for someone you love?