Sometimes in the rush of the holidays—the stress of cooking, of navigating crowded grocery aisles, of choosing, buying, and wrapping a mountain of presents—it’s hard to find the time and the motivation to write. But as writers, it’s important for us to keep our creative spark alive even when curling up to watch a holiday movie marathon seems a lot easier. We contacted some former MCWC faculty members to see if they had “little gifts of wisdom” to inspire us this holiday season and keep us on track. Here are a few tips to imbibe with the eggnog:
Try not to feel guilty when you carve out time for yourself just because you have family in town, or kids home from school. Your loved ones will appreciate your boundaries! Be mindful of the excuse that it’s December, so you’ll just start up again in January, as if that’s not the most tired New Year’s Resolution ever. December can be a very productive month, but you have to allow it to be. Schedule writing dates with yourself, and maybe treat yourself to some holiday treats as rewards for keeping the dates.
Remind yourself as often as possible that there is something only you can write. Allow yourself to proceed in bursts, with silences for listening deeper and deeper. The words will find you. Now, more than ever, the world needs each individual voice to be heard.
As simplistic as it sounds, write from the heart. It's not always easy, and it can be painful, but the emotions are honest, and your readers will resonate to that honesty. Mystery writer Anne Perry says it well: Put your heart on the page.
1. Persistence! Be like the water buffalo. When this heavy animal crosses a river he gets stuck in the mud bottom if he stops. If he just keeps the slightest movement forward he makes it across safely. Put numbers on pages! Tinker with titles. Whatever keeps the chapter or essay or poem alive.
2. Write to discover, not to recount what you already know. Keep at it till you uncover something—let a surprise come forth for you. This will delight your reader, and again, keep your writing alive.
We're co-hosting a literary art installation and open mic event on Jan 14th with Flockworks! Here's how to participate:
1. Write 200 words on the prompt "I am"—this can be in whatever form you choose: manifesto, flash fiction, poem, memoir…
2. Bring your work to the Odd Fellows Hall, 45101 Ukiah Street, Mendocino, on Saturday, January 14th between 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Photographer Mimi Carroll will be there to take your portrait.
3. Watch as your writing and portrait become a part of a real-time literary art installation!
4. Sign up to read your work at the 6:00pm open mic.
You can find more detailed information here, or contact email@example.com.
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Congratulations to Marion Deeds! Her story “Never Truly Yours” was workshopped at MCWC 2016 and has since been accepted by the fiction podcast PodCastle to be read by a professional narrator.
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She Writes Press is launching a scholarship program for a woman of color in 2017. You can find more information here: http://shewritespress.com/scholarship-donations/
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We are also proud to announce a new scholarship for a woman of color to attend MCWC 2017. This will be offered as part of our new Diverse Voices scholarships. More details will be available at mcwc.org after February 1.
This is your opportunity to help make sure marginalized voices get heard! We are still looking for additional donors to fund MCWC Diverse Voices scholarships. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you're in the position to help, or for more information.
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Support MCWC on AmazonSmile
Visit AmazonSmile and select Mendocino Coast Writers Conference as your charitable organization of choice. For every eligible purchase, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to MCWC
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