The creative process generally feels like a rollercoaster. There are moments of intensity, from the highs to the lows, partnered with a wide range of emotions from fear and anxiety to a sense of calm, to excitement. This is a journey that shouldn’t be taken lightly, of which only many years of practice will prepare a person for the mental game of publishing—for both the author and publishing professionals.
“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference,” writes Stephen King, in his book, On Writing. I always remember this quote wrong, such that Stephen King credits having a supportive someone as making all the difference. A supportive writing community has made all the difference in my own writing practice. And in this, at least, I’m not alone. Many craft books and books on the writing life counsel writers to find a writing community and to get feedback on our writing. A writing group can be a great way to address both of these needs. But how do you find a writing group? Friends, acquaintances, and students who know I teach writing at the Loft Literary Center, often ask: Can the Loft help me find a writing group? The answer is, Yes! Because I get this question often, I decided to compile my response into a list and share it with you here. If you’re looking for a writing group, I hope you find this helpful.
“I write professionally,” I told her. “I’m a freelancer.”
She gave a sniff. “What, are you a trust fund baby or something?”
The question bothered me so much that I spent most of the next morning brooding about it, dreaming up responses I could say to her as soon as I had access to a time machine. I pictured a soapbox speech about how I achieved my dreams through hard work and elbow grease, and she could too, damn it! Anyone could...right?
Something scritch-scratched at the walls of my indignation.
Could anyone pick up freelance writing?
Author Molly Beth Griffin talks about the long and winding road to publication in this blog.
"When I was pregnant with my son, I took a road trip with my mom to see the Sandhill Crane migration.
After that trip to see the cranes, I spent months writing and rewriting this long, complicated picture book called MIGRATION with a dual narrative. On the left side of the page: a girl on a road trip. On the right: a flock of cranes migrating. At the climax of the story, they meet. The girl is transformed. It was over 2,000 words."
Dear Loft Community,
From Day One, you’ve built and grown the Loft into the literary powerhouse it is today. As I’m sure you’ve seen, last week the Trump Administration proposed the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. While this cut would have a minimal impact on the federal budget, it would have a devastating impact on artists and arts organizations across the country, including the Loft and the community of readers and writers we serve (you!).
The stakes of this proposal are high, so I’ll get right to the point: will you help us protect the NEA and the vital funding it grants to the Loft?
In an It’s Lit first, we’re doubling up and speaking with TWO artists in this week’s post. I first met Erin Sharkey several years ago through the Creative Writing Program at Hamline University, where we were both pursuing graduate degrees, and a couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting her artistic partner, Junauda Petrus. Together, the two form Free Black Dirt, a Minneapolis-based artist collective bridging the cultural and the magical.
Committed to creating original theatre and performance, hosting innovative events, organizing local artists, and promoting and supporting the emerging artists’ community in the Twin Cities, Free Black Dirt seeks to spark and engage in critical conversations. “Our primary focus is to create really high-quality, unique narratives around blackness, and particularly what it is to be black in Minneapolis,” Sharkey explained. She continued, “I think literature is at the heart of how we connect with our mission and with community. I think it’s about telling new stories, about celebrating stories, about being bold and irreverent to the rules about what stories are valuable.”
Grab a drink and crack open your notebook, it’s happy hour at the Loft! Our new Happy Hour Classes take place on Friday afternoons with a concurrent happy hour at the cafe downstairs from 3-6 p.m. Students can purchase a half-price beverage and bring it to the classroom. Start your Friday nights off right by mixing, mingling, and learning at the Loft!
This past week of traveling has revived my love for independent bookstores. They’re everywhere! Rather than go to a big-box store, why not visit Seminary Co-Op Bookstore in Chicago, Illinois; Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.; or Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver?
I’ve read a lot of poetry books this past year. Probably more poetry books than in the years working since undergraduate, I’m a bit sad to say. But part of the benefit of being back in school is that you have to read. During graduate school this past year, I read a poetry book every week.
I’m only about a month into my second semester and my life already feels thick with the usual things like books, lesson plans, articles, internship tasks, applications for summer funding, and poems crammed into whatever spaces are left on the ever-growing to-do list. What’s strange and somewhat surprising is my newfound sense of being settled here, amidst the barrage of tasks. Settled, but definitely not stagnant.