Sarah Shaffer is a writer and freelance proofreader/copyeditor, a recent transplant to Seattle, and a lover of the outdoors and simple living. She is an MFA graduate from Lesley University (January 2012). Her fiction has received a Glimmer Train honorable mention and has been published at The Glass Coin. Her non-fiction can be found at Hothouse Magazine. (21:23)
Read Running and Writing Unconditionally on the Hothouse blog.
I know many writers have their favorite concoction of atmosphere, food & drink, time of day, pen, paper, or writing software. I used to try to find that sweet spot for myself. I’ve labored over words in my study, on the couch, in my bed, at the dining room table, in coffee shops. I’ve written in the morning, in the afternoon, after midnight. I’ve tried music. I’ve tried writing longhand, I’ve typed. Always with inconsistent results. I’ve blamed my lack of productivity on not having figured out my perfect conditions for writing. The truth is, I just didn’t sit down to write very often—anywhere, anytime. I’m not saying it has to be a set-in-stone routine, I’m just saying the marathon taught me I need to do something regularly in order to get better at it, and that means doing it when I know I should even if I can think of a million reasons not to.
Writing Retreats & Conferences
Hindman Appalachian Writers Workshop: Kentucky’s Premier Writers Workshop.
Hedgebrook: A global community of women writers and people who seek extraordinary books, poetry, plays, films and music by women. A literary nonprofit whose mission is to support visionary women writers. Writing residencies, master classes and salons are offered at the 25-year-old retreat on Whidbey Island.
AWP 2014 in Seattle
[On the Lesley MFA Residencies] “We would all be on campus together for ten days and there was an instant feeling of family, like, we’re all sort of in this boat together. And we got very tight very quickly. I felt the same way at Hindman.” — Sarah
“I think all of us… having gone through the low residency master’s program, are sort of primed for this idea of going away and writing with other writers.” — Audrey
“Before [the master’s program], I kind of had this vague idea that I should be around other writers and really get that kind of challenging input… after the residency I not only knew that but I craved it, because I’d had that experience. It became a priority to be able to find something like that to keep the well fresh and flowing.” — Sarah
Other Fun Stuff
We do need to bring to our writing, over and over again, all the abundance we possess. To be able, to be ready, to enter into the minds and hearts of our own people, all of them, to comprehend them (us) and then to make characters and plots in stories that in honesty and with honesty reveal them (ourselves) to us, in whatever situation we live through in our own times: this is the continuing job, and it’s no harder now than it ever was, I suppose. Every writer, like everybody else, thinks he’s living through the crisis of the ages. To write honestly and with all our powers is the least we can do, and the most. ~ Eudora Welty