Meet the Teaching Artist: How to Reimagine and Manage Your Writing Practice with Anna Adami
by Writing Workshops Staff
5 months ago
For writers, it is imperative to efficiently manage the creative process. Teaching artist Anna Adami, who has a background in creative writing and yoga, has a new seminar that aims to bring a holistic approach to manage a writing practice.
Anna’s upcoming one-time seminar, How to Reimagine and Manage Your Writing Practice, is designed to aid writers in navigating the often tumultuous journey of being a writer. Are you finding it hard to start or finish your writing projects? Do you feel that your writing practice could benefit from a bit more structure and direction? Anna addresses these very issues, helping attendees to align their creative processes with their inherent values and individual schedules.
By promoting a harmonious balance between the instinctual and the structured, Anna aspires to diminish anxiety and foster a fulfilling creative experience. The seminar promises not just teachings, but a rejuvenated perspective and a valuable set of tools to navigate your writing journey more effectively.
Hi, Anna. Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Hi! My name is Anna Adami. I am a writer and yoga teacher committed to creating a compassionate and ecologically vibrant world. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and am a current Writers League of Texas Fellow. My first book-length manuscript-in-progress is a finalist in the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest for Memoir. I love writing my weekly newsletter - Snail Mail - about practicing creativity and spirituality, writing and yoga, gardening and place. My work can be found in Hobart, Plates Journal, Glasstire Magazine, and other publications.
What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?
In my MFA program, I repeatedly heard from writers I respect "write everyday." Stephen King emphasizes this same idea. As does Kiese Laymon and Anne Lamott. I had friends who woke up at 6am for their daily practice. This, I thought, was the image of productivity. If I could only do it. If I could force myself to open my computer, check “write” off my to-do list, I would be rewarded with words.
But I wasn’t. A daily practice did not work for me, not holistically. It bred guilt, frustration, and exhaustion. It wasn't until I learned that there are other ways to manage a practice that my relationship to writing became more sustainable and (dare I say) joyful.
For me, a writing routine must take into account the realities of my ADHD, the constraints of my day jobs, and the value of maintaining my well-being, my relationships, and my spiritual life. Other writers must take into account parenthood, illness, grief, and neurological differences. These realities matter.
I am happy to say that I am now more content and intentional with the shape of my writing life than I have ever been before. I want other writers to experience the same sense of liberation. That's why I'm teaching this class.
Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?
In just 3 hours, students will craft a sustainable writing plan that is completely individualized to their unique selves at this specific moment in their lives. I will provide prompts for identifying intentions, constrains, goals, and ways to evaluate progress. To show the breadth of possibilities, I will provide plentiful examples on how other writers and artists manage their practices in wild and creative ways. While we'll be tending to the managerial side of writing, this class will not be cold, detached, or stressful. Rather, students can expect to feel nourished, inspired, and motivated. Secret writers and established writers alike will benefit.
What was your first literary crush?
What are you currently reading?
The whole ADHD thing means I'm always reading way too many books at the same time. I'm honestly embarrassed to list them all, but here it goes:
-Light in the Dark: Luz en lo Oscuro by Gloria Anzaldua
-A Manual for How to Love Us by Erin Slaughter
-A Darker Wilderness: Black Nature Writing from Soil to Stars edited by Erin Sharkey
-How to Read the Bible by Rob Bell
-The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?
This is a challenge for me actually. I am an idea generator and it is tempting to ditch whatever I'm working on to chase the next exciting idea.
Where do you find inspiration?
Reading, studying mysticism, being outside, and mindfully tuning into the body.
What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?
I don't know if this is the best, but it's the one that's been most on my mind:
Elizabeth Gilbert writes about Jack Gilbert who “became a poet the way other men become monks: as a devotional practice, as an act of love, and as a lifelong commitment to the search for grace and transcendence.” He could’ve been famous, but he disappeared instead. “He didn’t want to be distracted by too much commotion… He was looking for something richer, more textured, more varied.” He never promoted himself, needed little, and allowed his name to be forgotten. A few decades later, he emerged to publish a book of poems. This became his practice - publication, then isolation.
This story moved me. I think because I am always fighting the capitalistic pressure to produce. To somehow find readers through hours that feel wasted on social media. To apply to residencies. But why? Yes, I want to devote myself to my craft, but not out of obligation. Rather, out of devotion. In Jack’s words, “the search for grace and transcendence.”
The wisdom, I suppose, is to orient ourselves always back to our intention. Why are we writing?
What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?
The book that most informed this class is "Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity" by Louise DeSalvo. She makes an important distinction between the labor of writing and the management of writing. I relate deeply to her saying "Writing pages, I could always do. But the writing life was difficult for me. I worked impulsively, too little or too much. I had no plan. At the end of a day, I didn't feel satisfied because I'd had no goals; I was always "in" the work. I didn't take time to plan, organize my days, or evaluate my performance. I never knew when to take time off."
I'm excited to introduce some of her management techniques to this class.
Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?
My philosophy is to lead with curiosity, not with judgment. Judgement has a tendency to completely shut down our creativity. Curiosity, on the other hand, is generative - full of possibility, wonder, and respect.
Learn More About Working with Anna:
You can learn more about Anna's upcoming seminar, How to Reimagine and Manage Your Writing Practice, and sign up now!
Instructor Anna Adami is a writer and yoga teacher committed to creating a compassionate and ecologically vibrant world. She aspires to nurture spaces for people to express their most authentic selves. Anna holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Certificate from Inspire Yoga. Anna’s creative work can be found in Plates Journal, Glasstire Magazine, Hobart Literary Journal, Yoga Journal, Dallas Doing Good, and Open Minds Quarterly, among others.