I used to be a really good writer. I mean, this thing I wrote back in 2014 is finger-kiss-good mwah. What’s it got? It’s light but weighty. It conveys a point neatly, has my voice, is just the right length, doesn’t prevaricate or diminish itself. It’s me being my authentic self, but where did I go?
I spend my days writing and editing for my day job but it doesn’t flow anymore. It’s like pulling teeth and what does come out is… unsatisfyingly blah. I love my job. But when the writing is uncomfortably hard, I feel like a sham.
In June, I opted-in to The Artisan’s Way, a 5-week writing program with Foster. “…we’ll connect more deeply to ourselves and our craft…” Oh yeah, baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.
You know when you have an epiphany? It’s sudden. Drastic. Gives you a completely new way of looking at the world—that sticks! Yeah nah, that didn’t happen. Instead, I experienced a very slow, achingly slow, awakening. Different parts of the Universe gently nudging me inexorably back to myself. Things that were consigned to the shelves, covered in dust-protectors, were uncovered. (Literally, I stood on a chair and pulled out things I had made from the top of the wardrobe.) And because I was open to the messages, you start seeing them everywhere - a book I had plucked at random from the library shelf: Ursula K Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. Podcasts coming into my ears, interviews with a moral philosopher. Nudging, nudging me.
Thoughts remembered. New thoughts emerged.
You said you wanted to get back to yourself? Look! Remember!? You made this. It came from you. It’s beautiful. See it with your today-eyes. You are a maker. Things came naturally then because you knew who you were. You knew what you valued and what nourished your soul. Is that gone? Changed? Let’s work it out - together. —The Universe
So anyway, Foster. It’s a really cool collective I joined at the end of last year. It gives an outlet to my earnest desire for EDITING - since January I’ve stretched my editing muscles, contributing to fiction and non-fiction, short and long pieces. So much fun! Giving feedback on writing is something that taps into the very heart of me. I love doing it and it’s something I’m good at.
Foster holds a couple of writers programs every year - they’re called seasons. I committed to Season 3, The Artisan’s Way. It was five weeks of workshops, learning, writing, introspection. So, so good! I’ve never attended anything like this before. Hanging out with like-minded people? Big tick from me. Plus experts? Sign me up.
The age of average writing is over. The future belongs to artisans. As the media world gets noisier and more mediocre, the writers who will win—both economically and culturally—will increasingly be the true artisans. At Foster, we believe that focusing on substance, craft, and voice is the only way to matter in the future.
From AI prompts to adding spice, discovering the COMPOSE pattern (“it’s not a framework!!”) and peeking behind the curtain to see how a byline sausage gets made. The season got me unstuck. Yay! I’m doing morning pages again. I took myself on an Artist Date the other day - woah! First time in years. I’m writing this during a Foster co-writing session that’s keeping me accountable. I hope to keep riding this wave for as long as it’ll take me. 🌊🏄♀️
Here’s the poem I wrote as the official outcome of the Season:
Am I here? Raw me: felicity.
Four scarred syllables and eight laborious letters.
felicity, a sacred source of happiness,
Though she blurs strokes and slurs syllables.
Remember that cursive writing connects, she thinks,
As she dots the i’s and crosses the t’s of her
Four seamless syllables. Eight laughing letters.
How many syllables are you worth?
No one’s keeping score.
Felicity yields happiness.
Hear me roar.