The Post-Excuse Life: Care and Training for the Feral Writer

A *free* online class on what it takes to get writing. (Sign up to receive your materials below.)

Eight years ago, when I was living the unglamorous and very literal version of life as a starving artist, I paid my rent in New York City as a “Short-Order Poet” with a little booth next to the painters and photographers in Union Square.

I was an odd sight to be sure—bundled up against the elements and perched on a folding chair for hours on end behind a laminated sign hawking impromptu/custom written love poems, hate poems, letters, short stories, and haiku—and plenty of people stopped to ask me what exactly I was doing out there. As anyone behind a counter will likely tell you, the conversations I had with these curious strangers were highly predictable. The most common version went something like this:

Stranger: What’s all this about, little lady? (Editor’s Note: I could not make this up. LITTLE. LADY. It’s amazing how many people still use that phrase.)

Me: Well, I’m a writer for hire. You pick an item from the menu on my sign, and I’ll write it for you right here and now. Whatever subject you want.

Stranger: Oh, wow! I’m a writer, too, you know.

Me: That’s awesome! What do you write?

(The Stranger takes a deep breath and suddenly goes from excited to forlorn. They get a faraway, sometimes even misty look in their eye. They fidget a little, and then sigh and stare at the ground.)

Stranger: Well, I haven’t started writing it yet, but I have this great idea, and someday I’m going to…

Do you see the problem here? Could you have been one of the people I talked to on the street—someone who keeps imagining the someday when  *POOF!*   they magically become the writer they’ve dreamed of being all their lives? Are you scared that your someday might never come?

What’s the real reason you’re not writing?

Whatever the excuses you might think are the reason (I’ve got at least six good excuses I work with on the daily, and I am a professional), there are real and understandable concerns that can stop any aspiring wordsmith dead in their tracks.

Underneath every “I don’t have enough free time for it,” or there’s something as serious and scary as “I have no idea how to get started.”

When I’ve heard “The right idea hasn’t struck quite yet,” it usually came with a silent side of “Inspiration is supposed to feel exciting, right? How do I know it’s worthwhile to try at all?

And a great many of the “I’ll never make any money at it and I need to focus on my career” or “When the kids are older” seem to be hiding a “What if everyone thinks what I make is bad, or dumb, or worse…just boring? Why would anyone care what I have to say?

The good news? You don’t have to stay stuck!

Whether you struggle with structure and motivation, writer’s block, fear of judgment of your work, or not matching up with your idea of what a writer is “supposed to be,” (and based on my extensive-and-highly-unscientific research, these four issues are the most common to plague both successful writers and the “someday” crowd alike), there are practical solutions. And the right tools (plus a little sweat, of course) can take you from quicksand stuck and staring at the blank page to cranking out drafts with excitement.

If you’re interested, I’m here to give you what you need to get started for free.

Introducing The Post-Excuse Life: Care and Training for the Feral Writer

 Every one of us starts out as a wild, unknown beast of a writer. Learning about what makes you tick is one of the hardest and most rewarding things you can do to set yourself up to kick ass at making things. Some of us thrive on morning pages. Some write best at a keyboard. Some need silence while others need a noisy cafe. After years of carefully thinking through the ins and outs of teaching the craft (and watching people struggle to do what they think writers should do), I’ve put together what I think of as an instruction manual for taking care of the unique animal that is you as a writer. I’ve wrapped it all up in a free class that will take about an hour to give you what you need to support yourself in the process of taming the feral beast so your ideas can get out into the world. When we’re done talking, you’ll be able to give up your excuses by addressing the big stuff underneath them. And the process will feel more like a fun experiment than ever before.

During The Post-Excuse Life, you’ll learn: 

  • The four major components of a successful writer’s life are, and where to find them.
  • How to create structures that work for you and help you build momentum.
  • How to land in your ideal community of writers (and how to maintain it once you’ve arrived).

You’ll also get handouts to help you apply the concepts we cover in class, and a set of exercises to get un-stuck asaptually (in both the drafting and editing process). There will also be a Q&A session to address whatever burning questions you bring to the table.

And best of all: It’s a free teleclass, so you can participate from anywhere and it won’t cost you a cent.

If you want to lose that nagging “someday I’m going to” feeling, sign up. Once you’re registered, you’ll get an email with all the information you need to call into class.