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Trust More, Worry Less: The Aftermath of a Writing Conference

From: BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog

By Armen Bacon

Maybe you know the symptoms. Long forgotten memories bombard every inch of your being, clog veins, arteries, and leave you breathless. Light bulb moments left and right – the kind that cause sleep deprivation, anxiety, existential crisis. An exceptional few wait till you’re in deep REM sleep, then strike with a vengeance. You stumble from bed hunting down pen and paper. Stub toe(s), walk into walls, jot what seems brilliant (in the moment) onto a wrinkled napkin, grocery receipt, white space from yesterday’s newsprint. Head returns to pillow while prayers beg that you can decipher scribbles in the morning. None of this, by the way, amuses your sleep partner (human or feline).

Recently in recovery from a two-week creative nonfiction workshop, yes, I’m inspired, but now suffer the aches and pains of said affliction: severe withdrawals, missing new friends, guest artists, early morning writer talk, even the anxiety and angst of assignments, final project deadlines, a showcase reading.

And so unfurls the life-altering experience of being sequestered in a room 8-10 hours a day, asked to respond to thought-provoking and sometimes terrifying prompts beginning: “My sharpest memory is of a single instant surrounded by dark.” Volunteering to read aloud what you hope is a solid sentence or story line, you welcome criticism, revise essays, remind yourself good writing takes more than passion, desire, and love of the craft. It demands equal parts time, discipline, risk-taking. Madness and grit.

Read more at BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog.

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