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stick figure protest

Last month on our trip to Paris I left my journal at home and spent time reflecting on my creative writing. What would be a satisfying creative writing routine? How can I adjust my calendar to make more time for my own writing interests while maintaining my workflow for freelance projects?

In a moment of clarity I realized a few things. I asked: What takes up the most space on my calendar that is related to creative writing, but is not the actual act of writing?

Answer: Submitting poems and stories to journals.

Submitting work to contests and literary magazines is important for a number of reasons. This helps us feel our work is recognized, provides credits we can reference when sending our manuscript to publishers or agents, grows our visibility among literary journal readership, and more.

But submissions take up a serious chunk of time. I was spending more time submitting than writing. Researching journals, reading journals, then tracking writing submissions

I realized that my priority right now (creatively) is writing. Not submitting. So I’m taking a submission strike.

Last month I sent in my last few stories and poems to journals and contests for awhile. I’m not certain how long this strike will last, but at the very least it will be one year. I want to spend my time writing new stories and revising the ones that I believe in, while learning to let go of the ones that are not meant to be.

This means that my creative writing workshops over the summer will take angles to help support these new priorities. Next month I lead a First Lines class on July 13th just south of Chapel Hill, NC where we will sharpen the hooks to our stories and poems (more on that below). I’ll also hold a generative writing workshop with a few fun new writing prompts (date to be announced). Due to the 4th of July holiday I won’t hold my critique group in Apex, NC next month, but I’ll have new work to revise when my group returns on August 7th.

Since starting my submission strike, I’ve carved out daily time for my creative work. Several poems have been produced, and a short story is becoming quite long. I’m riding a great flow!

Thursday, July 13th – 6PM-8:30PM – First Lines: Sharpen the Hook – Pittsboro, NC – Don’t lose your reader from the start. Let’s look at what makes a hook. We will explore examples in fiction, memoir, and poetry. Bring your first pages for collaborative review and suggestions. A short time will be dedicated to producing new hooks that may inspire completely new stories or poems. A delicious dinner and dessert are included. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Registration closes 1 week before the event. Seating limited to keep our discussions focused and personalized. REGISTER HERE