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Highlights from our Holiday Panel


Cut corners.


Order in food.


Brush the crumbs under the carpet. -Christine Pakkala


We gathered last night for a wonderful panel on how to write during these busy times. In reality, it became clear that life is ALWAYS busy, right? There are always other things on our to-do list, tasks we could prioritize to avoid writing. So how do avoid getting stuck in the rut of not writing? Especially when it feels like life conspires to keep it away from us? Here are some highlights from the panel from five of our wonderful instructors!


Christine Pakkala: “Emotions are heightened this time of year. Spy on people – can be great fodder for fiction and essays. Keep your writing antenna alert and alive during the holiday season.”


“Set a manageable goal. Maybe it’s two pages. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.”


Jessica Speart: “Find a block of time every day to write and be vigilant about it. Wear the same clothes to write each day and change when you’re blocked.”


“Outline so you always have something to guide you even in difficult times.”


Amanda Parrish Morgan: “Write early to access the less analytical side of your brain.”

“Block out an hour and dedicate to either writing, thinking about writing, reading your favorite author.”


Adele Annesi: “Don’t look at what didn’t happen or what you still want, but rather ask yourself, what do I still desire? What do I yearn for? Pay attention to what your hear is telling you.”


Adele also advised everyone to take your writing life seriously. The AWP conference is entirely remote this year. Subscribe to journals and magazines for writers. Stay on top of the business of publishing. Check out our Resources for Writers page that Adele updates for us monthly!


Jessie McEntee: “Stop in the middle of a sentence or a scene so you’ll always want to be pulled back to your desk.”


Jessie also encouraged us to take a workshop to keep ourselves accountable and have weekly deadlines.


Recommended Reading:


From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler


On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner


The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick

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