Winter writing retreat, day 1

My grading finished and my weekend over, I spent the last hours of Sunday night planning my writing time for this week. I say all the time how I’m not usually one for rigid writing schedules, but when I’m doing a writing retreat — even an informal one at home — having a schedule helps me focus.

But, of course, I’m already off it.

Our cats had a vet appointment this morning — that was already on the books — but it was late, nearer to lunchtime, so I figured I’d get an early start on the writing just to get my head in the right place for the rest of the week.

But then, as I headed off to bed, I started thinking about a couple of chapbooks I’ve had ideas for (NOT the thing I thought I’d be working on this week!) and I wound up staying up late to work on one of them. And then this morning, as I headed into my study, I remembered what a mess I’d made of it in my last frenzied bits of grading, so instead of writing, I spent my morning cleaning my study.

“Clean,” for me, is usually a relative term. It mostly means “places to walk and sit.”

All of this is fine, by the way. I’m not losing any writing time — I just bumped the first couple of hours forward into last night, and I was going to have to clean the study anyway. If anything, I’m ahead of schedule now.

So, this is how I work.

In the afternoon, I had planned to wrap up that chapbook work I was doing last night so I could get back to my novel, but then my chapbook publisher, sunnyoutside press, passed along an interview opportunity, and since this is day 1 and I’m still trying to establish working habits and a daily-writing mindset, I figured starting in on the interview would be a more productive use of my time than staring at the computer all afternoon wondering what to do next. So I did that.

And I still got some work done on the chapbooks. In fact, one of them is a story away from being complete, and the other is mostly just in need a title (which is my least favorite part of the process).

So, day 1 = success! Not a lot of work done, but more done in one period than I’ve managed in a while, and I’m certainly eager for tomorrow, when I’ll have the whole day to spend writing!

While I’m thinking about it, I went ahead and pulled down all my chapbooks:



In case you’re wondering what all is in this pile, here’s the list (note, some of these — especially the two I handmade in college or the one by my friend Curtis Thomas, who hand-stapled them at a copy shop and gave them away on street corners — aren’t widely available, so good luck finding them):

  • Christopher Bowen, We Were Giants
  • David Breeden, Building a Boat
  • David Breeden, The Guiltless Traveler
  • Matthew Burnside, Infinity’s Jukebox
  • Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Whatever Don’t Drown Will Always Rise
  • Jodi A. Drinkwater, Blood and Water
  • Sarah Rose Etter, Tongue Party
  • Beth Ann Fennelly, A Different Kind of Hunger
  • Tom Franklin, Poachers
  • Kirpal Gordan, Deadpan Parables
  • Jeffery Hecker, Instructions for the Orgy
  • David Jewell, Ten Poems
  • Matthew Klane, Friend Delighting the Eloquent
  • Matthew Klane, Sorrow Songs
  • Jodie Marion, Another Exile on the 45th Parallel
  • Hosho McCreesh, For All These Wretched, Beautiful, & Insignificant Things So Uselessly & Carelessly Destroyed…
  • A.M. O’Malley, What to Expect When You’re Expecting Something Else
  • Carol Priour (ed), Butterfly Mother: Poetry from the Children of the Hill Country Youth Ranch
  • J.P. Reese, Dead Letters
  • Ross Robbins, All in Black My Love Went Riding
  • Ross Robbins, Sexxxy
  • Barbara Rodman, Flying Suacer
  • Ethel Rohan, Hard to Say
  • Daryl Scroggins, The Entropy of Hunters
  • Daniel M. Shapiro, How the Potato Chip Was Invented
  • Samuel Jeremiah Snoek (yep, that was me before I got married), A Book Full of Poems
  • Samuel Jeremiah Snoek, Closed for Repairs
  • Samuel Snoek-Brown (and this is me married — and happy: see how much better my art is?), Box Cutters
  • Parker Tettleton, Ours Mine Yours
  • Curtis Thomas, The Magical Kingdom of Now
  • Meg Tuite, Her Skin Is a Costume
  • Ryan Werner, If There’s Any Truth in the Northbound Train
  • Ryan Werner, Murmuration
  • Ryan Werner, Oh Lie, I thought You Were Golden

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: