By Kim Boykin
I envy young writers. Their craft isn’t necessarily their lives, although for some it is, but their lives are less cluttered than a seasoned writer like myself. “Seasoned” meaning old enough to have too much “stuff” that keeps me from parking my butt in the chair. Or having too much on my plate and my mind so that when I do sit down, nothing comes out.
Last year, I took a week off from four dogs, one husband, a son who was home for the summer, and elderly parents to go to Wildacres, an artist’s retreat in the mountains run by the incomparable Judi Hill. During her address to the 100-plus campers, Judi said, “Whether you come to Wildacres or not, every writer should dedicate at least one week to their craft. It’s your time to write, to think, to read, to eat, and of course drink. And then you write some more.”
I’d called myself a writer for years, carving out time in between raising kids and a gazillion other responsibilities, waking up in the middle of the night to write something down because I knew I wouldn’t have time the next day. So as a caretaker, this concept of giving myself a week off was foreign and monumental. What would happen if all I did was tend to my craft, eat good food, and listen to bluegrass music?
Well, my husband and son didn’t kill each other, my parents missed me but did just fine, and the world as I knew it didn’t end. After a week in an almost holy place, with a bunch of creatives I was reborn, refueled, revived, whatever you want to call it, and my writing was all the better for it.
Sometimes, life is so crazy it’s hard to remember what happened between the time you woke up and the time your head hit the pillow. And in this economy, not everybody has the resources to give themselves a week or even a day to dedicate to their craft. So start with an hour. Carve 60 precious minutes out of the 168 hours you have this week and give it wholly to your process.
If you’re willing to give yourself more, come to the free workshop the Rock Hill SCWW is offering Saturday, June 11 9a.m.-5p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. The workshop is entitled “From The Mind and The Heart To the Page.” A session called, “Write Your Story,” is lead by award-winning author and poet, Judy Goldman and author/Charlotte Observer reporter, Rich Rothacher. Contact Kim Blum-Hyclak at firstname.lastname@example.org to register, but do it fast because it will fill up.
Whatever you choose to do for your craft, unplug anything that is a distraction, and tell the ones who can’t be unplugged you’re giving yourself completely to your writing. Even if it’s just for an hour. What a concept!