Letter from the director, March 2018
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what writers want. I am one, so I have some perspective on the matter!
I’ve called myself a writer for 20 years, so my challenge, in serving as director for an online hub for primarily beginning and blocked writers, is to remember what it was like to be just starting out. What did I want then? Less challenging is remembering what it feels like to be blocked, because all writers experience challenges and dry spells. Blocked writers want to be un-blocked, right?
What else did and do I want that I can offer to writers who come to the Center?
As a writer, I wanted to communicate with others. I wanted to know other writers, to read their work and to have them read mine, to hear if what they read was the same as, or close to, what I intended–and if not, to go back with my hammer-pen and cloth-paper and keep chiseling away. I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. Does that sound familiar to you? I aim to foster this community of writers through our email list, in our Facebook group, and of course, in our virtual classes and at our retreats. I aim to provide a variety of ways to make you feel like you belong–because you do.
As a writer, I also wanted, still want, things to read. I want to expand my thinking and consciousness by reading everything I can get my hands on. I am trying to write and post more how-to advice here on the blog, and Shawna Ayoub Ainslie has been contributing some of her wisdom as well. I’ve also been sharing more inspirational and motivational reading, via the American Life in Poetry series we are featuring on the blog, as well as links to compelling writing on our social media channels.
I still want those things, the community and the reading recommendations, as a more established writer; but the need for them was more intense when I was still finding my voice, still making my commitment to a writing life. And in moments where I felt like I couldn’t write at all, the community and recommendations were vital in that they tethered me to this world even when I was doubting whether or not I belonged there.
As a writer, I can’t help but see the daylight stretching later into the evening as a metaphor that the “work of winter” (as founder Elizabeth Ayres put it in her text Invitation to Wonder) is coming to a close. The long, dark, cold nights that are so conducive to introspection and self-reflection are nearly over. The first day of spring is in less than three weeks. In my part of the U.S., we’ll turn the clocks ahead to welcome even more light (which I always preferred to keeping the extra hour of sleep, anyway!) in less than two.
Spring ahead, they say. Spring into action.
If winter is a time of considering what one wants, then spring is the time for acting upon those wants.
As a writer, what do you want? What action will you take to achieve your writing goals? And as a writer who wants to help other writers, what can I do to help you? I welcome your comments, suggestions, and wish lists.
Stacia M. Fleegal, Director