This week has turned into a week of writing about writing; how meta. Writing spaces, writing discipline, reactions to when writing gets read, reactions to when I’m bored with the sound of my own voice and it’s late at night and instead of analyzing my next stack of research I start reading funny blogs on the interwebs….
So now, to come full circle, here are some thoughts on the thoughts of some of my favorite Boston-based emerging writers, Chip Cheek and Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. Chip is primarily a fiction writer, and Alexandria, nonfiction, and they were at times classmates, friends, and mentors of mine at Emerson College when I was doing my MFA in creative nonfiction writing. Both of them published quite incisive articles recently on the Grub Street Blog, so here are excerpts and links, to share their thoughts on getting writing done, and prioritizing one’s choices when you’ve chosen to be a writer:
By Chip Cheek
… Over time, in this multitasking, productivity-obsessed day and age, as I have kept on writing and holding down full-time jobs, a couple of things have become clear to me. One is that spending a couple of hours here and there with my writing, wherever I can find them — even on the rare weeks when I can find them every day — is not even close to adequate. I need four or five hours, eight when I’m really cooking. (One of the best days of my writing life was when I wrote for seventeen hours straight.)
The second thing, which everyone knows, is that becoming a writer is not just a career but a whole way of living and thinking and communicating — a way of being — and at a certain point in your life, anything that competes with it or is incompatible with it is unacceptable…. Read More…
…. For two weeks, someone else had cooked my meals, cleaned my room, and provided me with a beautiful studio nestled deep in the woods. I had no chores, no daily tasks, none of the small responsibilities that distract me from writing at home, even without children. My only job—similar, I imagine, to that of the long-ago cloistered intellectual husband who would retire to his warm-wooded study to think and work while his wife tended to the household—was to think, and dream, and write. And I still had three weeks left to go.
I was at an arts colony, a place where writers and other artists come to leave their daily lives behind and focus simply on the work of creation. There are more such places in the United States than you might think, and it turns out that women are responsible for creating many of them…. Read More…
And finally, a word about Grub Street in Boston: what an amazing place! Gr ub offers writing workshops and classes for adults at all stages of their writing and literary careers. They also offer some workshops for kids and teens, (I think) and do readings, events, and a few conferences each year that pull together literary and publishing heavyweights to network, give talks, and generally be awesome. I collaborated with the staff at Grub back in the day for an event for Vernacular, the Emerson College Literary Blog, and Grub Street was the location of my first non-student reading as a published author (thanks to Fringe Magazine and the Dirty Water Reading Series). So I’ll always hold them dear in my heart, and if you’re in the Boston area, or just want to find out about a great center for writers, writing teachers, and literary appreciators, check them out!