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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Remember When Writing Was..

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How has your writing and your life as a writer changed since January 2020?

Take your time to freewrite/free association about that. I’ll wait.

Maybe your normal routines were turned inside-out and your once-regular writing habit got hazy. Maybe unprecedented responsibilities and problems pushed writing out of your mind altogether. Maybe you had time but couldn’t focus. Or your brain was so stressed, so lost in negative mind loops, that you couldn’t relax into creative thinking.

Photo by Teona Swift on Pexels.com

Me too. Not on all of those, not all the time, but enough.

We tend to over-focus on our failings and mistakes. We doubt how we deserve good fortune when so many people are losing so much. We overlook what we are accomplishing because it seems tiny comparable to all the misery around us.

Let’s stick a pin in those tendencies for now.

How have you grown as a person and writer?

What have you reclaimed and regained?

Consider how your writing practice (habits, routines, approach) and writing product (actual words) might have improved since the pandemic started.

Maybe you lost a simple habit, but found that reclaiming it made the habit stronger. (The muscles toddlers use to get up when they fall are the same muscles they need to walk – falling is part of growth and development.) Maybe you have a new awareness of complex problems. Maybe you see how your frustration and regret about lost writing time proves how much writing matters to you.

At a bare minimum, you have over a year and a half of field research on human responses to stress, struggle and fear. You experienced varying of degrees of isolation alternating with exposure, sometimes over-exposure, to people in your physical space and via social media.  

Small Certainties in the Fog

It’s hard to tell how long it will be until we return to “normal” or what the new normal will look like. But a few things are certain:

  • We are forever changed
  • The specifics about how you have changed – your ideas, your characters, your emotions, your spirit – are worth writing about
  • These unique changes are the sparks of new stories, essays, poems, plays, articles, songs, bits and pieces given to you
  • Only you can write what you are given to write — what you don’t write can never be written by anyone else
  • But you are not alone — you are part of a writer’s community both locally and globally.

One of the multitude of ways to connect with other writers in the numerous sub-communities that make up the writer’s community is my upcoming Loft class, Start – Or Restart – Your Writing Habit, taught via Zoom, starting November 3, 2021. Find more information and register through the Loft Literary Center.

Class Description: If the pandemic wrecked your writing life, eroded writing habits you used to have, or revealed how much you need a simple, sustainable writing practice, this class is for you.

You’ll assess what did (and didn’t) support your writing pre-pandemic and what perspective shifts and behavior changes you want to keep, modify, or delete as you transition to post-pandemic writing life. You’ll experiment with simple habits and find safe and supportive witnesses during weekly check-ins who help you become accountable to yourself. Discover the power of daily tracking and action-mapping. Learn what writing practice looks like in each stage of the creative process. We’ll use in-class writing, breakout groups, and other exercises to cultivate sustainable habits, identify priorities, generate plans, and develop a support network to maintain your momentum.

This classic course has launched hundreds of writers into satisfying and successful writing practices. This is a creative process class, so we will not workshop your writing (although Rosanne will give you feedback on up to 10 pages of your writing). In-class exercises focus on your habits and tools discussed in class. You will work on your writing (story, poetry, essay, etc.) outside of class as part of your weekly commitments.

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4 Comments on “Remember When Writing Was..”

  1. Sharon Powell September 23, 2021 at 10:59 am #

    I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, Rosanne. I just made up my mind to get back into a writing routine. No excuses. It was a, ‘If not now, when.’


    • rosannebane September 23, 2021 at 1:04 pm #

      That’s great, Sharon. “No excuses, I will…” is so simple and powerful.


  2. Sharon Powell September 22, 2021 at 2:23 pm #

    Thank you for your wonderful post, Rosanne, your inspiration. All of your words resonate so strongly with me.
    I’m happy to say that I’m back in the writing loop again. And with more insight and focus to write than ever.


    • rosannebane September 22, 2021 at 3:11 pm #

      Hi Sharon,
      Thanks for your comment. Kudos on being back in the loop with increased focus and insight! Do you have tips for other writers wondering how you did it?


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