Writing Outside & In

Writing asks of me two approaches, one to determine what goes on inside me and one to guide me through the outer world, parsing it into manageable bits. Did I say manageable? Well, let’s see about that.

Internally, I spend time with my notebooks—every morning, first thing when life is still uninterrupted and quiet—writing morning pages, drafting poems, fiction, blogs, etc. Many of these writing hours happen at home in my comfy chair, some in one of three coffee shops that I frequent and where I find solace, because coffee shops make no demands on me. I buy my drink, my cookie, settle in and rarely speak to anyone. Whatever happens on the page comes from me.

Externally—let me count the ways that I function in my writing community. I go to a Goldbergian free writing group in a Denver artist’s studio every other Tuesday evening, usually the same Tuesday when my morning features a long-standing women’s group: we meet at a member’s home, talk, write and share what we have written. There’s no prep for either of these because the talking leads to the topic.

I facilitate a writing group twice a month with seven other writers. I go weekly to a long-running poetry critique group, which requires a fresh poem or revision each week. This one keeps me honest and productive. Then there’s the Friday 500 at Lighthouse Writers Workshop twice a month. I only miss this if there’s a blizzard or hundred-year flood. Today will bring the first of another group. My friend Toi, a chef, is starting a series of cooking classes that includes a mindfulness writing exercise. That’s my role.

Monthly I co-host Cannon Mine Poetry readings in Lafayette, CO. Recently, I added Michael Henry’s monthly free writing event at the Denver Art Museum. He’s the head guy at Lighthouse and an excellent teacher/poet/human being. Add Colorado Independent Publishing Association where I learn the business side of writing. I serve on the CIPA board, so that means all-day immersion once a month, plus planning CIPA’s Focus Forums, small-group meetings centered on a specific topic. Boulder Books has a monthly poetry book club, so I read the assigned book of poetry before hand.

Too, there’s social media: this website, Amazon Author’s Page, Goodreads, Linked In, Twitter, Pinterest, and recently, Smashwords, where my new e-novel, Accidental Child, is sold. Let’s not forget poetry readings that I attend, like the ones at Ziggi’s Grill and the Book Bar, both in Denver. This month I’m scheduled to speak to the Longmont Library Writers Group. And none of this precludes shoptalk with friends. (You know who you are.) Yes, writing is often solitary and must be, but my writing also relies on networking and the other writers who are my safety net. May you all be so fortunate.

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