Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Lesson from May Graduates:
Time vs. Passion

By Marcia Thornton Jones

The days keep filling up. I try to manage time; to make time; to schedule time. But I can’t even find enough space in my schedule to jot down a few words in my journal, let alone devote quality time to creating story worlds and breathing life into characters. When I do have an opening in my schedule, all I want to do is sleep. Or watch TV. Or, a-hem, pay too much attention to social media.

That’s why I am so impressed with this year’s Carnegie Center Author Academy students who receive their certificates on June 1st.

The Carnegie Center Author Academy is a student-driven certificate program that provides writers with support to grow rapidly in their craft as they prepare work for publication. Students receive 75 hours of one-on-one mentoring, have unlimited access to Carnegie Center classes, attend monthly Academy seminars, participate in a weekend writing retreat, attend the Carnegie Center Books-in-Progress Conference, and end the year pitching their work to a literary agent.

It’s an intense 9-month program, and as the coordinator, I know that this year’s class is comprised of writers who are parents, work full-time jobs, and have experienced illnesses and tragedies. And yet, they found time to meet with their mentors, attend classes, and to write and revise and write and revise and write and revise some more. So how is it that they found time amidst busy lives full of family, work, and life’s ups and down--but I cannot?

Perhaps it’s not so much a matter of time but one of passion--of having an intense desire to see characters and their worlds appear on the page. Maybe it comes down to a need to create.

In every class, every workshop, and every conference I attend or teach, the question of how to make time to write always comes up. I can recite plenty of strategies for scheduling time, but what I haven’t figured out is how to teach (and encourage) passion, desire, and need.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Until then, I congratulate all the Carnegie Center Author Academy certificate recipients—along with everyone else that is celebrating during this May season of graduation!

Applications for the 2017-2018 Author Academy are now being accepted, and
registration for the June 8-10, 2017 Books-in-Progress conference is now open.
For more information visit www.carnegiecenterlex.org


8 comments:

  1. Wow, this is fantastic. Do you ever teach passion, or is it something that just has to BE there (like love)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good question. Can passion at least be nurtured and encouraged? I heard an interview with Olympic skier Hanna Kearney who said she didn't like doing flips. She knew she had to do them to compete so she pit up sticky notes that said something like "I love doing flips." She said that worked for her!

      Delete
  2. I'm not sure how, but I do think passions need to be nurtured and fed or (for most of us) they eventually burn out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I totally agree. But how? The above suggestion from Hanna Kearney is one idea. Learning to love our characters through writing is another, perhaps.

      Delete
  3. And also, like love, passion seems to have stages, some of which feel more showy than others. But when I realized passion is still passion when it is more mature, quiet and steady, that was when the door to ongoing progress and productivity was unlocked. Wonderful work you're doing, Laurie! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea that passion has stages! I agree, Laurie does fantastic work and is so generous to share!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for giving such a lovely shout-out to the students of what sounds like a mega-terrific program. Hooray for the Carnegie Center Author Academy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a great program, and the students (and mentors) definitely deserve a huge shout out!

      Delete