I’ve been thinking seriously about writing and the craft of writing since I was a freshman at UC Santa Cruz in 2007 (longer if you count the hours I put in during middle and high school), and I am still in love with it. The process, I mean. The challenge. The work of art. Every year, I’ve gained new skills, refined old ones, attempted and aspired to things I didn’t know could be done with the written word. They say every book teaches you how to write it, and I’ve found that to be true. Each story I write (even the ones that will never see the light of day) teaches me something new about writing. And I dearly hope I never stop learning.
I’ve actually been wanting to write about writing and art and work and the creative life for years now. I’ve been tempted to make Twitter threads on voice or teach a class on foreshadowing or share techniques and tricks I think could be helpful to other writers out there. But I never could seem to carve out the time, the energy, the space to do it properly, to give my craft the thought and care I think it deserves.
Then I saw my friend and fellow creator, Wes Sam-Bruce, posting at Where the Questions Live weekly meditations on art, nature, wonder, and the myriad, complex, exquisite relationships between people and each other and people and the world, and I was inspired. What ambition! What time and thought and care it must take to create something like this every week to such beautiful results! (Click the link above to read through some of the meditations and visit Live the Curious Life to see more of Wes’s art.)
There’s a practice, at the beginning of a new year, of choosing a word, an idea, an intention that will focus and guide you toward who you want to be and what you want your life to look like over the next 365 days.
This year, mine is breathe.
Those of you who know me know I get so caught up in doing things: writing, revising, trying new recipes, learning to garden, redecorating my living space. And I never give myself enough time/energy/space to breathe. To be present. To celebrate. Or savor. To live in the world, right here, right now.
Enter: Work and Process, a year-long journey of exploring and reflecting on the artistic process, craft, and working in a creative field. Each Sunday, I’ll post some thoughts, wonderings, explanations, and explorations on writing and creativity, and by the end of it, I hope to have 52 musings/examinations/meanderings/discoveries/bits of joy or inquisitiveness or knowledge to share. In each post, I’ll also include a topic for the following week, so if you happen to be inspired to question/wonder at/consider your own work and process, you’re welcome to join me. We’ll be using the #workandprocess hashtag across all social media platforms, and I hope we find each other to learn and connect and transform on our creative wanderings.
On the one hand, this project is yet another thing to do, another chore, perhaps, but I hope it’s more than that. I hope it becomes not another item on my To Do list but a more rejuvenating practice that ultimately connects me more deeply to my art, my muse, my work, and my reading and writing community. I hope it’s something that teaches me to pause. To dream. To exhale. To nurture my creative soul. To share what I’ve learned. To investigate what I haven’t. To think about where I’ve been, how I got here, where I’m going, who I am, and who I want to be. To work and to process and to savor them both.
Next week: GENESIS. What sparks your creativity? What sowed the first seed of your current work in progress? Where do you get your ideas? What makes a project so captivating that you’re willing to pour years of your life into it? How do you open yourself up to new creative endeavors? How do you choose an artistic path to walk? What really makes you want to sink your teeth into an idea? Join me next Sunday at tracichee.com and/or post your own responses with the hashtag #workandprocess. Let’s go. <3