How to Commit to Writing More Regularly in the New Year

It’s that time of year again—time to make promises to yourself. On the other side of that mountain of family obligations, shopping, socializing and spending time on everyone but yourself, a whole new year awaits, full of potential, possibilities, and endless days to devote to your writing…

At least, that’s how it feels from here.

I’m not really one for resolutions, but it’s hard not to fantasize about doing things differently in the New Year; especially when the last two months have been devoted to surviving, not exactly thriving. Every year around now, the list of resolutions I tell myself I’m not going to make somehow makes itself, and, each year, that list includes things that never seem to change. Every year I tell myself that I will work out more, do more yoga, floss my teeth more, get a better face cream, and finally, for the love of god, I will create a daily writing routine. I will, I will, I will.

Except, I never actually do. Right now my record is about two weeks. Two weeks of writing every day, and then I’m back to scheduling appointments and coffee dates and work meetings in the middle of the time I swore—really swore this time—that I would do nothing other than write.

But as I’m berating myself for breaking my yearly resolution, I often forget that I actually do have a writing schedule, of sorts. Every week, three mornings a week, I lead my Jumpstart Workshops, where I sit with eight other writers in our incredible studio and write. Sometimes for more than an hour each time… Why do I discount this? These weekly workshops are how, over the years, I’ve maintained a regular writing routine, even when it feels that I don’t have one at all.  Actually, if not for these weekly groups, I would never have finished my novel…

And I guess I’m not alone: I hear from my students all the time that if not for our weekly groups, they wouldn’t be writing. I think it’s the community that keeps us showing up and coming back, the commitment not only to ourselves but to one another, and to our shared goal of keeping our writing alive…

So, instead of the list of how-to’s you might have been expecting from the title of this post, I want to share with you a list of generative workshops we’re offering at Writers in Progress in the coming months. Because creating a regular writing routine doesn’t have to mean writing every single day.  Even if it’s only once or twice a week, writing is something we all can make room for… Hope to see you at the studio in the New Year!

Community Writing Workshop:  Join us the first Saturday of each month for our Community Writing Workshops! Workshops include a warm up, some prompts to get you going, and concentrated writing time. Mark your calendars: our next Community Writing Workshop will be held on January 5th.  Suggested Donation: $10

Writing the Body, with Emily Lackey:  There has never been a more important time to write about our bodies. In the current political climate, especially, it feels necessary to acknowledge the way our bodies can act as deep sources of creative inspiration. Our greatest stories come not from our heads but from our hearts, our shoulders, our hands, our backs. In this generative workshop, we will free ourselves from the self-consciousness and doubt that comes with writing and return to where our stories first began: our bodies. Through a series of exercises, prompts, and time to write, writers will tap into our most fundamental selves, celebrate theirs or their characters’ bodies in their various stages, and bring their experiences of being alive fully to the page.  Tuesdays 6-9 p.m., six-week workshop starts January 8th ($265)

 Dreaming on the Page, a writing workshop with Tzivia Gover:  Dreams can offer writers themes, images, prompts, motifs or entire story lines. Likewise, crafting poems and stories from dreams can help writers discover new levels of creativity, insight, and healing. In this weekly workshop, we will use dreams and the subconscious to inspire and energize our writing. Participants will generate and share new work in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment.  We’ll explore the intersections between dreaming and writing, and learn how dreams can inspire fresh ideas or help us move through creative blocks.  We will also learn to optimize creativity by understanding the brain chemistry of the dreaming mind.  Thursdays, 6-9 pm; 4-week workshop begins Jan 10th ($175)

Finding the Voice of Your Story, with Dori Ostermiller:  There’s lots of talk about voice in narrative, but what is it, exactly? If the voice of our story is the doorway through which readers enter, how do we let them in? How do we consciously create a written persona that is compelling, readable and true? In this four-week craft intensive, we will explore what factors go into creating voice, in fiction and memoir.  We’ll study some examples of memorable voices in literature, do lots of writing, and learn a few effective techniques for crafting a powerful narrative persona—one that not only engages the reader but also invites discovery and surprise… There is nothing more exciting, for both reader and writer, than following a live, candid and curious mind on the page.  Four Mondays, 6 – 9 pm, starting February 4th ($175)

Writing from Life, with Emily Lackey:  Lorrie Moore once said that, “for the writer, the facts of life are like ingredients in a kitchen cupboard.” The cake we make is the story we end up telling. “That,” she says, “is how life and art are related.” No matter what we write, our experiences, observations, and inclinations can be the greatest inspiration for our work. In this weekly generative workshop, writers will receive a series of prompts to move them through a sustained period of writing. Afterward, we’ll have the opportunity to share our work and receive thoughtful feedback from the group. Wednesdays, 6-9pm; 8-week workshop begins February 6th ($325)


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