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Member Dispatch: Post Lit-Fest Letdown–How to Keep the Words Coming?

Young poet Brynn Downing’s sending out an SOS. Anyone have ideas for her?

Brynn reading at the Arvada Center in June. Maybe the person in the white hat could offer some advice on inspiration? Or maybe you can?

As a child, I devoured books about pioneers and mythology–especially stories of hardship, and want. I’d take bread and ball it in water, then eat the mush, thinking I was one of them.

All my life, I’ve struggled with wanting more out of words. Hide the flashlights, I’ll read under the covers. If there’s a sentence I love, I’ll underline, circle, star it, then thrust that page in front of friends’ noses, waiting for them too to be healed.

Despite this gluttony, or perhaps because of it, I hesitate.  The poem that’s brewing, it won’t write itself.

But some days I can barely bring myself to try.

One of the best parts of a workshop is leaving inspired. The classes I took at the Lit Fest made me want to seize all my pens, and write with both hands. But now, days after the last cup of coffee, I find myself hesitating.

I’ve tried setting time for myself, but it feels unnatural–and most days, I get distracted by the internet, or day dreaming, or rereading that one poem I’m proud of.

So tell me, how do you keep the words coming?

7 comments on “Member Dispatch: Post Lit-Fest Letdown–How to Keep the Words Coming?

  1. Chris Ransick
    June 26, 2012

    Brynn, we’ve all been there, and will be there again (and again). I can only speak personally but when the poems aren’t coming, I do other things and don’t worry about it. I write long letters, essays, stories, or inventive grocery lists. I also take time to get outside, to swim in a cold river or hike a mountain, to observe and gather. Mainly, I resist the urge to fight creativity gone fallow. I interviewed Richard Ford once, just after he’d finished a book, and he called such a phase a time when “the tank is empty and needs to be refilled.” So don’t keep the words coming, not now. Let things go silent a while and turn up your powers of observation. The words come back.

    • andreadupree
      June 28, 2012

      I’m going to tattoo that to something. Maybe my dog will be up for it? But it’s wonderful.

  2. JTDubbs
    June 26, 2012

    Come write with us!!! 🙂
    Or you can walk my crazy dogs! Just when you think you’re on to something mid- walk,you have a really good idea going, they lunge after a squirrel and pull you into oncoming traffic. With all that healthy adrenaline of a near death experience, and being so angry at the pair of them, you’d do anything to sit by yourself and write. Especially since all your neighbors just heard you curse your brains out an you can’t show your face outside for weeks.
    They’re available- anytime.

    • andreadupree
      June 28, 2012

      Please send the dogs on over to Lighthouse. Thanks.

  3. danmanzan
    June 26, 2012

    Hey Brynn, Last Friday 500 (6/22) during the 2nd hour there was a group discussion. There was no topic to kick things off. What quickly became apparent among the participating writers, however, was the need to debrief our individual Lit Fest experiences. So much energy was present in the talking, but more, I think, in the relating. Lit Fest was a tidal wave for me and many of us. Slowly during the last two weeks, I’ve regained a writing routine. But before that my beach was clear of everything but sand. The only thing I could do was read. So, I did. I read and read and read.

    • andreadupree
      June 28, 2012

      Ahh, reading. Yes, please. Grand Lake will be filled with reading time.

  4. Kelly Jo Eldredge
    June 27, 2012

    Hi Brynn,
    The words will come back. You have the heart of a writer. They’ll come. In the meantime, read, live, goof off, jump into life, reach out to others.

    I find that my creativity comes in waves. In the times when I’m not burning up the keyboard, I go outward. I help a friend with a project, babysit the nieces and nephews, volunteer, go for a hike, play with my cats, take a bike ride with my husband–I soak up real life during the quiet times. That fills me right back up, and pretty soon, I’m burning up the keyboard again.

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This entry was posted on June 26, 2012 by in Complaint, LitFest, Member dispatches.

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