Finding Time to Write
“Light a Fire Under Your Writing" is The Forge Writing Program’s tagline, and as my Forge class concludes, I can say it held true for me. The Forge increased both my writing scrappiness and productivity. When push came to shove and deadlines loomed, I found the time to write.
I feel like I’ve now got one of those sneaker fires burning, you know the ones like in the Great Dismal Swamp that just burn underground for years? Not to position a natural disaster as a personal goal, but I’m hoping that’s where I’m headed, underground as a smoldering blaze. I want to keep both the passion for writing alive, but also the fiery, fearless mentality that sears self-sabotage and produces work for me.
Here's an example of how this fire manifests itself in my behavior. It was late April and I’d just switched mentors to Irene Cooper, whose high-art and avant-garde approach unleashed a creative exhilaration in me akin to what polar-plungers rave about after their ice baths.
Irene challenged me from our first meeting with intimidating word count goals, deadlines and emphatically said, “Go!” I found myself rising to the occasion, carving time out of crevasses of life I thought otherwise lost to the ether.
Salvaged Writing Time
For example, one day I was on a family vacation on the Oregon Coast which overlapped with a creative writing deadline. I only had 45 childless minutes to write that morning and was determined to rein it in. I was on foot, it was raining, and not exaggerating: nothing was open. The Cannon Beach Library is closed on Tuesdays in observance of Tuesday. Side note: how do I partake? So I found a bench under the porch of a municipal building and typed a scene about alligators in the ocean. I loved it. Irene loved it. It may or may not be in my novel, and that’s not a tease, I just don’t know because I’m still writing the book.
Stuck Somewhere? Time to Write.
Another time, I was driving one of my favorite roads in the Rockies, on the way to Maroon Bells, for a late afternoon hike with my mother and daughter. As we wound around e-bikers, Aspen groves, and avalanche debris, we gained fifteen hundred feet in elevation. When we parked, I realized my travel-worn toddler was asleep in her car seat. She needed the rest, and my mom needed to walk, so there I was without my notebook or laptop, but I scrounged up paper and a pen and wrote in the backseat for a good hour. The result was a scene about diving for lobsters in Florida, and I love that scene too.
Sneaky Time to Write
These time-harvesting moments encouraged me to do more of it. At this very moment, I don’t have time to write a five-part blog article about The Forge, but my daughter is beating my man at Candyland downstairs and I am determinately typing this post in hopes he challenges her to a rematch.
Next Up: The Forge Writing Program Series
As I mentioned before, the 2022 program is finished, but I’m smiling like a creep in the Afterglow of The Forge. My aim now is to keep the fire lit, stay close to the heat of my work, find kindling in unexpected moments and write into the salvage-yard of time.
The next installment in this series on The Forge Creative Writing Program is Shaking the Pawpaw Tree and explores switching writing genres.
Video: Closing Thoughts on The Forge Creative Writing Program
Don't take it from me, these people learned a thing or two at The Forge Writing Program too. It was time well spent, if you ask me.