Going back over my most recent posts this morning, I discovered a major oversight. I never blogged about the creative writing workshop that I am co-teaching this Thursday night, August 4, from 7-9pm, at Cherokee Mills in Knoxville.
Those of you who have read Melting Chocolate Kettles know the basic premise: if you start finishing your projects and meeting your creative goals, then you stand to gain a great deal of joy and the world stands to gain a great deal of beauty.
The first-ever Finally Finish Workshop is about finishing.
I ran across this unattributed quote in a recent blog post from Chris Guillebeau:
“There’s a word for a writer who never quits… published.”
In other words, the aplomb, royalties, awards, and prizes come only if you finish. Creativity isn’t a hopeful staggering from one drunken binge to the next. It’s also not some inherent trait, like green eyes or low cholesterol, that you either have or you don’t. Internet marketing legend Ed Dale said it well:
“Creativity is a habit, not a gift.”
“Habit” is not a sexy word. It sounds a lot like “hobbit,” which makes me think of hairy feet, and after that, J.R.R. Tolkien. He had to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy one word at a time. You don’t finish books like that unless you turn creativity into a habit.
You can’t get around the work. The only way around is through.
This much is true: the writers who get published have to work hard. The artists whose names show up in the annals of history have to work hard. You don’t become Picasso, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, or Bernini by waiting for a certain mood to strike. No, you have to break up a gargantuan creative into small, manageable steps and cross them off the list one by one. You shouldn’t wait to feel like creating any more than you should wait to take out the trash.
Otherwise, foul odors invade your home.
Effective creativity depends upon healthy habits. Ineffective artists already have habits, just not ones that enhance their productivity, and to meet creative goals, you must identify the habits that lead to procrastination and inertia and replace them with healthy habits that lead to finishing.
Maybe this analogy will be helpful: many artists have a series of one night stands with their work. They need to be married to it. They need the sometimes banal routine of cleaning out the gutters, taking out the trash, and arguing about sex, money, and needs. They need to get bored by their work, push past their feelings, and finish anyway. The commitment produces the desired end state, which, in this case, is the joy of finishing creative projects.
The Finally Finish Workshop will focus on finishing and the healthy habits required to finish with clarity and consistency. We won’t be discussing the use of figurative language or narrative arcs.
If you’re going to be in the neighborhood of Cherokee Mills on August 4 at 7pm, then make an investment in that finished novel, short story, or play.
One last thought: People usually don’t change until it hurts worse to stay the same. We’re charging $45 if you pay in advance and $60 at the door. Why? We want to make the investment “hurt” enough that you’ll actually put into practice what you learn at the workshop.
I apologize for the short notice, but I still hope to see you there.