Kathryn Mockler: How has your writing been impacted by the pandemic?
Chelene Knight: I find it hard to admit that my writing has been directly impacted by the pandemic because I wrote in the same short, burst-y way I always have. And since I have been working for myself (and from home) for the last three years, I am seasoned to meeting and teaching online. But that doesn't mean there have not been challenges. When I realized that the pandemic was more serious than initially reported, I found that I needed to pivot, make space, and support other writers and professionals in the community who were not used to working virtually. Some of my writing time had to be given up in order to make sure I could mindfully and intentionally support the writers who have given so much of themselves to me and my team at Learn Writing Essentials. My team and I wanted to brainstorm ways to support writers who had lost their day jobs, lost interest in creation, or were bombarded with the new task of having to homeschool their children virtually. I think we did pretty darn well! We launched our “Essentials” membership community during the pandemic too.
But when I turn the lens back on me, the writer, I can say I made good use of the tiny pocket of time that I had left for creation. I made sure to focus on quality time vs being irked that I couldn't dedicate a whole day to writing (not that I ever could nor would I ever want to be left alone with my words for that long LOL).
I am a lover of the short writing burst session. I often only have 20 minutes here, 15 minutes there and I needed to remind myself that it was ok to get my ideas out in visual ways instead of just hitting some arbitrary word count goal. I started to use mind maps as a catalyst for my bigger stories because I could quickly map out an entire idea in mere minutes. I built vision boards. My characters had real faces, homes, pets, and jobs. I broke out the colourful pens, Post It notes, and old notebooks. I called in my community. I hopped on Zoom and shared my ideas with students, friends, and other writer pals. Pandemic or not, we as writers will always find reasons not to write, so the more we get used to this notion of pivoting, the better. I like to think outside of the traditional and see what pivoting can take me and my business.
Chelene Knight is the author of the award-winning memoir, Dear Current Occupant. She is the founder of Breathing Space Creative Literary Studio, teaches poetry at the University of Toronto online, and is an associate literary agent at Transatlantic Agency. Chelene is working on a novel due out in the fall of 2021. Follow her on Twitter @LWEstudio. IG: @learningwritingessentials and @BSC_literary_studio
Learn Writing Essentials: Write Polish Publish, a self-paced online writing course. This self-paced five-week course is for new writers who want to start sending work out for publication. Whether you want to write micro fiction, prose poems, or verse, this course will tighten your work and even inspire you to write new stuff—with confidence and authenticity. You’ll learn how to establish routine, and to write daily with discipline while being mindful of self-care. There will be a heavy emphasis on hybrid forms. *end of course bonus* Unlike other courses you will receive personal feedback on up to ten pages of pre-existing writing, and a one on one manuscript consult with me to discuss your work, and of course ... publishing opportunities. Something else this course teaches you that no other course does: how to navigate the Canadian Literary scene. We talk about author care—something that has been missing from the publishing landscape for much too long. The course itself is a mix of videos, audio, and text.
Issue #2 of Send My Love to Anyone
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