“As a once self-proclaimed ‘failed fiction writer’ and late bloomer to poetry, I try not to be too hard on myself these days—it’s challenging enough to just exist. If the words aren’t coming, I allow that time and space to refuel my brain and soul with a sense of play. We’re not writing machines (unless you’re a journalist, and mad props if you are, seriously), and I for one do not write every day. Maybe it’s wishful thinking or part delusion, but I subscribe to the notion that observing, thinking, reading, pacing, and revising—or osmotic writing as I like to call it—are integral parts of the process. And as a poet, thankfully, it’s more about quality than quantity.
Being curious about everything (art, architecture, nature, animals, history, music, politics, social justice, astrology, spirituality, tarot, witchery, etc.) while staying present keeps me grounded. Other times copious amounts of wine and weed usually do the trick, especially if I need to silence the inner critic while revising big chunks of work. When I need a total reboot, I like to take myself on a series of dates. I’ll go watch a film or visit a museum or gallery then grab a nice meal with a good book or magazine, or I’ll plan a little getaway to discover and experience something new. Writing is a delicate dance, so be kind to yourself. Another nifty trick: Start applying for a slew of artist grants and soon you’ll be begging yourself to write something, anything creative!”
—Su Hwang, author of Bodega (Milkweed Editions, 2019)