I studied with Jack Grapes in his Method Writing Workshops for several years. He recommended that his students wrote every day and focus on the craft techniques he highlighted in that week’s lecture, then each would read a piece aloud at the following week’s class. At the end of the eight week session, every student had many, most unshared, poems and essays. Then Jack would give the final assignment, asking us to make a chapbook of our writing from the last two months.
I draft my creative writing by hand. So creating a chapbook means reviewing my journal, selecting sections I liked, editing them, typing them up, and making a chapbook. Whether done as online self-publishing as a book, or in a word processor then printed, or by scissors, tape, and glue, this a lot of work.
I mean, the hard part, the important part is done, right? The Writing, indeed with a capital “W.” The rest is an arts and crafts project, right?
Well, no. Not entirely.
It’s not enough for me to write open loop and learn techniques. This act forces me to make another round of decisions about my writing and look at what I carry as I enter my next project or phase of my work. Chapbooks are tangible and are a lovely way to honor the months of writing I just finished – to make good on the time and care I have spent as a disciple to the craft of writing.
Image by Sherilyn Lee