Using Process as a Portal + Works in Progress
I need different strategies at different times, but when I’m scattered or anxious (anyone else holding their breath in advance of mid-terms?) I’ve learned that I feel best when I dig down into creative work and let the process serve as a portal. I walk through the door of “doing” and enter a different imaginal realm. My gaze focuses. My nervous system settles. My body knows the moves. It feels good to work on a poem. To make small decisions and see how they improve my work.
Soon enough, I’m glowing with that lovely sensation that only comes from making something; that sweet rush of having written my way out of a rut.
I love revision because this is the part of the process where we take the uncertain, claylike material of our early efforts, including messy/embarrassing/bad ones, and transform them into something shapely and true. Something necessary and beautiful. To do this, I become the alchemist who understands how to transform base metals into gold.
Revision allows me to complete a gesture that begins when I make those first few marks on the page, probably without even knowing what they will become (if anything). Even so, I am interested in their potential. I treat this possibility as I would any other thing that matters to me.
Working through all of the stages of a poem or other piece of writing is a way of being present to whatever wants to come through my body and mind. These signs and signals require some translation and the act of revision is as much about word choice, form, and music, as it is about uncovering hidden messages and surprises. What did I mean? What could this be? It’s genuinely interesting and fun to see what emerges, and it feels POWERFUL to use my imagination in this way.
Even if you don’t already enjoy or feel confident in this aspect of CREATION, and maybe especially if you feel this way, I’m excited to share my process so that you can feel powerful and gratified, too.
I have assembled an archive of exercises and resources that will INSPIRE you to turn your raw *writing* into words that can matter and move other readers.
Works in Progress begins on Friday, November 2, with one clear step. After that, participants will receive a lesson every other day for ten days. At the end of the session, we’ll all meet in a webinar to talk about our progress and share what we’ve done. You can join me from anywhere in the world, as long as you have access to email and the internet. If you can give 30 minutes a day to your work, you will conclude the course with much stronger poems.
I know how frustrating it is to be surrounded by unfinished drafts, incomplete thoughts, and good intentions, and that’s why I want to empower writers to finish more poems.
First, this work means becoming present. It means not giving up, or disassociating, or manufacturing reasons it’s not actually important to you to treat your writing as something real. It means believing that your words are worth the effort and attention required to see them through to a final form.
Next, it requires some time.
Works in Progress
November 2-11, 2018
Lesson One: Bring in the Harvest
Lesson Two: Principles to Guide the Process
Lesson Three: Expand and Contract
Lesson Four: Resee and Rehear
Lesson Five: Prepare, Submit, Publish
*Live Q&A: Wednesday, November 7, 12:00 Noon (EST)
*Live web workshop: Saturday, November 10, 11:00 am-12:30 pm (EST)
(A recordings the sessions will be provided to those who are absent)
Enroll here: https://www.poetryforge.us/product/works-in-progress