Here’s a Mini-workshop for Spring

Spring! How I love it—everything is abloom in my neighborhood and daylight savings time started, which means I can take my afternoon walk/Happy Hour coffee break later in the day while it’s still light and enjoy all the aliveness of the season. Yesterday I came home with a sprig of jasmine stuck in my buttonhole and a dozen colorful photographs.

The Spring Equinox writing retreat and workshop I scheduled for yesterday didn’t happen. So I thought I’d offer up a three-part writing exercise we would have done during the workshop.

Here’s how it goes: Spring is a time of healing and renewal. A time for planting—gardens, flowers, new ideas. But before we can plant, we clear away the debris that may have accumulated during the long winter. This time of Awakening is also a time of releasing—of letting go of what doesn’t serve us. We put away our heavy winter things that we may have needed to keep us safe and warm, but now we no longer need them—it’s time for a spring cleaning. What do you, or what does your character, need to release in order to “bloom” in this time of healing and renewal?

Part I: Make a list of what you want to release—old ideas, habits, relationships. Maybe the list doesn’t just contain “heavy” items, but some things that might be fun or invigorating to change—no more binge-watching TV series or maybe getting rid of the old bed pillows or pictures on the bedroom wall.

Part 2: After you make the list, choose one item to write about in an extended writing. Set your timer for 15 minutes and write, writing practice style.

Part 3: Now that you’ve cleared away and made room for the new, it’s time to plant. If you could grow anything you wanted – a garden of diamonds or a patch of poems, a crop of new shoes, anything at all – what would you plant?

Sprout, Planting Seeds, Tending GardensHappy Spring. Remember what Margaret Atwood told us: “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

What did you release in your Spring Cleaning?

The Memoir and the Amaryllis

This is the second year my daughter-in-law gave me an amaryllis for Christmas. Maybe you got one too. They come all packaged up in a pretty box—a disk of potting soil, a large amaryllis bulb and a pot to grow it in.

I followed the directions on the box, soaked the potting soil in water until it filled the pot then planted the bulb, pointy side down, and set the pot on my kitchen table where, each morning, I sit with my coffee and my notebooks and write.

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How will you keep writing during the holidays?

For some of us staying with a regular writing practice is a challenge at the best of times. So what do we do when the holidays come with their time demands and additional madness? Following are a few suggestions.

Set writing appointments with yourself and put them on your calendar. There’s something about seeing an appointment printed on a calendar that makes it more compelling than simply a mental note to write “sometime.” And you know how easy it is to lose those mental notes-to-self.

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