Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things to work on this summer

It seems like winter is the most productive time for me (see the following Q&A with Kevin Rabas and his research project). However, I hope to do the following this summer. (Note: This seems like the best place to leave a note for myself--one I can't lose.)

Work on Radius to continue to send out to book contests
1976: Collage poem around my family at the time
1984: Collage poem around oppression--personal and public

So here is the e-mail interview:

What tactics that you use seem to get the *best results* when doing creative or research work over the break? (For instance, do you block out chunks of time, go to the library, and use that time ONLY for research/creativity? Do you meet a friend to do work at a coffee shop? Do you go on a research/writing trip, say to NYC? Do you unplug from the internet on TR of Fall Break, Etc.)
Because of my wife and two sons, I first wake up early to get reading and writing done. (I like to write with a stack of books for inspiration.) Also, Carrie and I agree on a block of time when I can head out alone to a coffeehouse to get writing done. I am more of a morning writer, so that works best for me. I carry around index cards for jolts of inspiration, too. We often go to the library in the afternoons during breaks, so I do any research there--switching off with Carrie while watching the kids.

Which is your *most productive break period* (summer break, spring break, fall break)? Speculate on how and why?
Winter break is the best time. I write better--maybe because of the isolation and disconnect because of the cold? I also love wintertime, cold and snow both. I don't like summer. Luckily, Carrie doesn't take the heat well, so it's a good time to stay inside, read, watch movies, etc.

Name and detail and summarize one of your *success stories* when using a break (or part of a break) for research and creativity.
This is linked to my next answer. My MFA thesis took off during the winter break, following a disaster of an attempt of the previous summer.

Name and detail and summarize one of your *failed efforts* (or partially failed efforts) when attempting to use a break (or part of a break) for research and creativity.
I wanted to work on my MFA thesis during the summer. Again, not being a summer person, it went kerplop. A lot of "stuff"--sh**. It was me trying to write. I did a better job when school was in during the fall. Plus, the writing during winter break truly shaped what my thesis would be.

Any other comments or advice?  Just try to write for at least a symbolic amount of time every day, break or no break. Train your brain. [and "writing" can be revising, promoting, sending stuff out, etc.]
Find out what season or time of year you feel the most "alive" in. If I'm right, this will fuel your creativity. Write in the early morning or late at night. Write when you can. Carry index cards. Read when you need inspiration. Revise when you can't write. Send things out in bursts.

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