I’ve managed to stay out of the political chaos that surrounds my home country so far and I’m hoping to avoid the aftermath as well. Honestly, no matter which side of the political fence you stand on, all the emotional sensationalism that’s out there creates a reaction and it’s that reaction I can do without. The increased heart rate. The anger. The frustration about how the other side can be so (insert word of choice here). So I’ve avoided it. Because I have better things to spend my emotional energy on. I have a family and two jobs and a dream and hobbies and a million other things I can be investing in. 

For the past few weeks, I’ve been taking part of the University of Iowa’s online MOOC How Writers Write Fiction. It’s kept me busy enough I don’t even feel tempted to check the latest news updates. It’s the third year I’ve signed up. Loved it in 2014, got a little overwhelmed with life in 2015 and didn’t really participate and now here I am in 2016. How productive have I been in the course? I’ve written at least the skeleton framework for two new stories and I’ve ran across scores of talented other writers. Sometimes I think I learn more from reading all of their stories than I do from the course video and assignment.

To avoid the aforementioned political aftermath from one of the most chaotic elections in years, I’m off for a writing retreat in Poland filled with workshops, inspiration, writing, and the company of other writers, where I hope I can refine the stories I’ve started and gain some traction on works I have in progress. I’m trying not to look at specific production results, though. I already have some great material from this class and if I can walk away knowing I pampered my writing soul by letting it out for some much needed freedom to play, explore, learn and share, I will be happy.

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