Write About It, If You Dare

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ― Oscar Wilde

Write about it.

Want to be liked? Get ready to relegate yourself to last place. Get ready to spend your hours studying what pleases people and then more minutes, hours, days to dedicate your life to doing that, the thing everyone likes. Last-place-people work hard. The pathological need for external approval is silencing us.

Write about that pathology.

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My Practice Went A Little Awry

“There is a ruthlessness to the creative act. It often involves a betrayal of the status quo.” ―Alan Watt

I have a few habits that prepare my thoughts for my writing time. I’m lucky to have two weekday mornings every week that I can write until 10 am. I wake up early and get started before the movement of the house begins. I take advantage of being an early riser on the weekends as well and I use that quiet time the same way: meditation and writing, for a total of four days/week. Sometimes I’m pleased with the work, other times it’s words and words of unused drafts. All part of the learning curve of finding and expressing my voice.

Over the summer I noticed I was becoming a little particular with my ritual. What started out as a cup of coffee and a quick meditation became an indecisive time-consuming mess robbing me of words on the page.

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On Quitting: A Writer’s Dilemma

For several years I have been working on versions of an essay titled “Why I Quit School,” and now it has become my memoir project. From the moment I stepped into my kindergarten classroom to the moment I walked out of my university office for the last time, I’ve had a tortured relationship with formal education. Instinctually, I knew its obsession with compliance, uniformity, and competition was antithetical to real learning and growth, but I couldn’t keep myself from participating, from trying to show my classmates and teachers I could could excel within the system while giving it the finger at the same time. At times I succeeded, but ultimately the battle I was waging exhausted me and I had to walk away.

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The Other Side of Silence

Dear Reader,

Amy originally wrote this post for her blog, Elliott’s Provisions, in July of last year after our first writing retreat in California. At that time, a Trump presidency was still only a nightmare we hoped would never come true, and we in this group were still grappling with the struggles, desires, and responsibilities of being a writer. If you are struggling with how to make your writing, your art, meaningful in these violent times, we hope this will help.

In love and solidarity,
The Fixin’ to Write Contributors

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Waiting for Permission

My dad is writing a novel. I didn’t expect him to do this. He’s a 75 year old retired mechanical engineer with stage 4 cancer, whose writing accomplishments include passing “English for physics majors” at Berkeley in the 60s.

He announced his plan to introduce retiree-generation-post-apocalyptic fiction to the mainstream by bringing chapter one with him on a family vacation last month. He printed out a couple copies and left them on the counter in the kitchen.

The first day, I walked by it and pretended I didn’t see it. I saw the cover sheet (“Nowhere to Hide,” Chapter One, The Reckoning) and I suspected my dad had taken up fiction writing. I just couldn’t believe it.

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Writing Through the Political Turmoil

Since the Fall of 2016 I’ve been living with a car that constantly needs work and a country that continually feels broken. Every few weeks another sensor on my dash would light up – I’ve been spending countless dollars in a perpetual state of irritation each time it needs to go into the shop, not unlike every time I turn on the news.

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What’s Not Getting Done When the Creative Work Is

I have written more in the past year than at any other time in my life. I’ve published book reviews. I’ve entered writing contests. I’ve offered feedback to friends on their writing. And I have written a 50,000+ word manuscript. Sure, it’s messy, and it needs some deep revision, but I wrote those 50,000+ words and I’m proud of it.

This writing has been squeezed in around parenting a three year-old, maintaining our family’s schedule, dealing with quite a bit of change in my original family, and working a full-time job. I know what you’re thinking. I’m Superwoman, right? You’re thinking, like the book turned movie title, “I don’t know how she does it.”

Here are some things I’ve let go in order to write in the past year. I am not proud, but when people want to know how I get it all done, this is the real answer.

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