by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
Our next WWS New Member Orientation and Submission Party is set for Saturday, December 9th from 10am-2pm at 5481 Santa Monica Blvd 90029. We will begin at 10am with a one-hour workshop on self-care from WWS member and chingona, Andrea Gutierrez, who recently co-led a workshop on self-care at the 2017 Thinking Its Presence conference at the Poetry Center in Tucson, AZ. The workshop will be followed by breakout sessions from 11am-11:30am for a WWS orientation for new members and goal setting for current members. We will be submitting in real time from 11:30am-2pm. If you are looking for places to submit, check out this list of current open calls from Entropy.
New this month, we are gifting up to $200 worth of individual grants to WWS members to help offset the burden of submission fees thanks to the Center for Cultural Innovation selecting WWS for an Investing in Tomorrow grant. Submission fee grants will be given in $25 and $50 amounts and will be based on need. These grants are for current members, but don’t worry, to become a member, all you have to do is show up. New members will be eligible for a grant at our next public meeting in February.
To prepare for Saturday’s self-care workshop, I asked our members for some of their best practices. Here is what they said.
“I scribble in my journal while I watch TV or listen to music or podcasts. (Inspiration for further writing!) I play soccer at least once a week, usually more. (Be present in my body.) I removed FB from my phone. (Less time suck, less FOMO.)” – Andrea Gutierrez
“A long walk before anything online; exercise (swimming laps is meditative); journaling; silence (the world’s gotten too noisy); visits to the beach; one day a week completely off – no work, no news – just fun and friends. And dancing!!!” – Diane Sherlock
“About writing: Leave the house a stinkin’ mess until writing is done for the day. That’s made me very productive. Turn off the emails during that time too. Self-care when stepping away from the computer: leave the emails off. Walks. Cooking a very good meal that is time consuming is something I find restful. Silence in the car (when I’m not driving kids, no music, no noise, just quiet).” – Kate Maruyama
“I do this thing called “whatever I want” which sounds hella snarky but is like a whole body-mind-spirit check-in and then I go based on what I really want to do. Thus, tonight I’m trying to book a massage.” – Alyss Dixson
“Deep tissue massage. If I can afford a trip to the salon, that’s at the top of my list. If I can’t afford anything, an intense 45 min workout.” – Lisbeth Coiman
“Exercise is a big one for me. I’m training for a marathon this year which is a huge time commitment. It also means some of the same time I usually ask for from my partner for writing is used for exercise. But guess what. I deserve it! And I still deserve the writing time. I also celebrate getting work out with clear goals (8 submissions a month). I can’t control if work is accepted, but I do control getting submissions out. That mindset has made it easier for me to handle passes.” – Noriko Nakada
“I get almost nothing done if I don’t start the day journaling, and I wouldn’t live functionally without my regular yoga practice, but specifically regarding writing, I find that running – steady, long, at least 4 miles, but better 8 or 12 or more – outside, with a good dose of trees and maybe water along the way, is essential and intricately tied to my writing work. Unfortunately and fortunately, over the summer I discovered that if I listen to audio books when I run, instead of listening to just my thoughts as I did for years, I can get through many more books, which is of course a benefit in some ways, but now I finish my runs with much less writerly progress than before. (Currently listening to Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, and I have about 4 more runs till the end…)” – Arielle Silver
“Yes to so much of the above! My house is a mess right now (ooops, I’m SUPPOSED to be offline), and I want to exercise/meditate more. But, really and truly when I’m miffed/or despairing about life or writing, an animal video cheers me up immeasurably.” – Désirée Zamorano
“First, to put on a pot of tea. I like to do this early in the morning, when the guys are still sleeping, before the sun comes up. I light an incense and a candle. Try to pray, meditate, read something. Drinking tea and indulging in the sensory experience of the candles and incense feels wholly and completely mine. It is a commitment to me and my creative work– an opening.” – Cassandra Lane Rich
“The only self-care tip I can really offer is inspired by Auntie Maxcine in the spirit of Reclaiming My Time! Sometimes I have to make my own writing retreat! Sometimes I have to ask for or demand the help and the time that I so willingly offer to others. My recent piece about creating a village for parents featured in LA Parent magazine was actually penned in one sitting while I ironically refused to be a parent and instead posted this note on my door! Maybe my tip is to find a door, close it and put a note on it.” – Ryane Nicole Granados
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a first-generation Chicana, is the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation and Poetry Foundation. Her work is published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and American Poetry Review among others. A dramatization of her poem “Our Lady of the Water Gallons,” directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, can be viewed at latinopia.com. She is a cofounder of Women Who Submit and a member of Macondo Writers’ Workshop.