My creative practice, I must admit, felt stuck prior to attending AWP. In the last few seasons of my writing life, I’ve dedicated my energy to freelance opportunities and content writing, as well as teaching. It’s not a choice I regret, but saying yes to these opportunities means less attention to my creative work. I know the undercurrent beneath this lack of dedication to writing essays, flash fiction, or memoir is a fear of my work not rising to the level that I crave, and that thought inhibits my creativity.
As I listened to panelists and readers at AWP, I thought about their process and how they made time for their creative work. They also juggled multiple roles, professionally and personally, but talked about the need to return to the sentence in an essay-in-progress or a scene in a novel. These writers were not making excuses, but finding a way to feed their creative endeavors.
In the solitude of my office space, I immerse myself in my to-do lists of writing articles, meeting freelance deadlines, and managing my duties as an editor, but sometimes I forget what is at stake with my creative work. AWP and its voices served as a reminder that building my creative practice deserves my energy.
Every writer will have their own list of takeaways. It’s easy to get swallowed by the swirl of what is happening at AWP, but I walked away with a focus on the details — a meaningful conversation with another writer, an opportunity to listen and read interesting narratives, and a clarity of how to harness my creativity.