Welcome to Creative Practice
A newsletter on finding the time and trying to keep it
Last year, I lost touch with my creative practice in a manner more abrupt and baffling than I ever want to experience again. The estrangement was connected to publishing my first book and the necessary contortions that come with that process.
Partly, it was just a factor of time. During my first go-round on the book-festival circuit, by far the most common topic of conversation among writers was how little time we all had to write. It is humbling and disorienting to meet some of your favorite authors, many of them with long ribbons of books rippling behind them, and realize that they don’t feel like they have enough time to get the work done, either.
But my feelings of separation were also fanned by elements inherent to the publishing process. During the book-promotional circuit, you are expected to be very prolific. A topical tweeter, a canny pitcher of essays, a self-sustaining machine of content and hype and opinion. All of this pressure stopped me up like a drain, in part because of what my book was about and what I was expected to sound off on, which I’ll write about in a future newsletter or twelve.
Between that and the lack of time and a day job and an international move, getting severed from the habit of creating seems understandable. But it’s also something I’m very keen to avoid experiencing again.
Enter this newsletter. I’ve called it Creative Practice for a few reasons: For one, that’s the destination I want to find my way back to. But it’s also, I hope, the trail I’m leaving to help myself get there (I almost called this newsletter Breadcrumbs.) The writing itself will be a type of practice, of attempted habit formation. In terms of the thing I’m practicing for, the answer is also layered. Being a more active creative community member, for one. But it’s also a control thing. It’s about having more agency over the artistic presence that I want to be in the world and the voice that I want to use to do it, which I feel can be curiously, counterintuitively jeopardized by the publishing process.
I also just want a place to have a personality on the internet, which I can find hard in other mediums, especially with the way things are going. It’s tricky to be spicy while riding a mastodon. I need a little more room to stretch out. As I told my husband (who encountered me on neither platform but out in the wild, as a little law student, and decided to love me even in spite of that warning), I was always better on OKCupid than on Tinder.
Finally, I want to be of service. In my day job as an editor, I’m lucky to work with writers at some of their earliest and/or most formative career stages. But there’s a whole gradient of experiences in between pitch and publication that I feel called to throw some more light on. That is part of my goal with this newsletter: to offer some highly personal and subjective insight into certain nuances of the publishing process, the ones that don’t get talked about, and bring that knowledge to a wider audience.
Rounding out Creative Practice will be short-ish, casual dispatches on what I’m reading, (hopefully) writing, and otherwise thinking about. All the murky stuff there isn’t really a formal outlet for but that I hope provides a sense of who I am and assistance to those who are interested in this world and trying to find a way in. I may add more content formats later, like interviews, depending on if and how this thing develops. For now, I’m going to aim for once every two weeks. As of right now, it’s entirely free.
A bit about me, if you’ve kindly read this far without that context: I’ve published the essay collection linked above (and, why not linked here again), published a co-edited essay anthology, edit a daily digital magazine, and recently moved to Brooklyn from Toronto.
I hope you’ll join me in this exploration, especially if you think it might help nourish your own creative practice, whatever form that takes.
Photograph by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash
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