Struggling to Find a Work-Life-Book Balance?

Struggling to Find a Work-Life-Book Balance?


I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be giving a Craft Workshop talk called “Going the Distance: Craft and Practical Advice” at Barrelhouse’s Conversations and Connections Conference right here in Pittsburgh.  In my proposal, I told the organizers that hearing Aubrey Hirsch speak last year was a highlight–and while I missed Roxane Gay, the fact that she signed up to deliver the keynote really speaks volumes about the conference’s excellence.  I also appreciate that the conference is geared towards the practical, gritty, nuts-and-bolts of writing.  I’ll post more about the talk and the conference later, but here’s the proposal they accepted:

Dear Conversations and Connections Organizers,

I have attached a proposal for the Conversations and Connections Pittsburgh, and while it’s probably a little different from some other proposals you’ve received, I hope it’s a good mix of new and unique.

As someone who’s taught creative writing for 10 years now, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why certain students publish regularly while others don’t find the same success.

My craft workshop is aimed at students writing longer (think book-length) projects. Obviously, learning how to write is difficult enough, but if a student can’t figure out how to create a work-life-book balance to finish a project–or if a writer doesn’t cultivate an immunity to rejection, then all that work might not serve the writer’s biggest goal.

Drawing on my experience as a writing teacher at the University of Pittsburgh and at Chatham University’s MFA Program, as well as my own writing career (I weathered 39 rejections in 3 years before publishing my first novel) and my experience as Fiction Editor and Web co-editor of The Fourth River from 2010-2013, I’ve designed this craft workshop, which combines practical (and proven) time-management strategies, theory, and an interactive component where students design their own timeline and path for a successful project. In terms of audience, this workshop is useful for beginning and advanced writers of all genres.

As I was writing the proposal, it struck me that this is a talk I’ve been wanting to give for years–and it might actually be one of those talks that I need to give.  Putting it together is going to be a lot of fun, and I’m doing my best to make sure that everyone walks away with something practical and sustaining.