How To Make A Literary Life

The workshops are most certainly about the craft of writing. But they're also about living a writing life. For that inspiration we use Carolyn See's Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers. (Her website has links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Here's another place to shop, the largest independent bookstore, Powell's, in Portland, Oregon). Visit her site for excerpts, videos, book lists and the sheer joy of catching a glimpse of her.

Her recipe for making a literary life includes two versions, the 18-Minute Chili and the 18-Hour Chili. 

The 18-Minute Version:

1. A thousand words a day - or two hours of revision - five days a week for the rest of your life.

2. A "charming note" (that does not ask for a favor) to a writer, editor, or agent you admire - five days a week for the rest of your life (or flowers, lunch, drinks, a helium balloon, etc.).

The 18-Hour Version has eight more joyful and magical items. 

(If you still need encouragement to buy the book, head over and read an excerpt.

About a fourth of our writing workshop focuses on literary life building. Artists from all walks of life, not just writers, consider this book a Bible. It's that good and it's that effective and in See's own words - "Remember, it's a game. The objects are love, fun and truth. If, on any given day, you've written your one thousand words and sent off your charming note, you've already succeeded."

*Note: I buy this book every chance I get and try to stockpile them for others to use. Wherever I hold workshops I tell the local libraries and bookstores what's on my reading list.

I love love talking about this book. Hope you can join me!