The release is the stage when writers share the soul of their project—its gift. Here’s how to thrive and best serve your work once the writing is done.

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Product Code: 5240
ISBN: 9781558969285
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 216
Size: 9 x 6
Published Date: 10/01/2024
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $20.00

The release is the stage when writers share the soul of their project—its gift. Here’s how to thrive and best serve your work once the writing is done.

In The Release, award-winning author and teacher Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew invites writers to lift their heads out of the product-oriented sandbox and find an alternative way to play. By returning writers to their original delight and guiding them in an ongoing creative practice, Andrew helps form habits of mind, heart, and body to support a project’s final flourishing, free from the burdens of seeking validation and measuring worth.

With the same skill and compassion she brought to her other resources for writers—Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir and Living Revision: A Writer's Craft as Spiritual Practice—Andrew writes with deep empathy for the emotional journey when a work is done, through celebration and grief, decisions around publication, the angst of receiving negative feedback or rejection, and the sometimes surprising challenges that come with success.

Anyone—amateurs and professionals alike, those who intend to publish and those who do not, those with book-length manuscripts and those with haiku written on paper scraps—can do this practice. This book is for anyone who wants to release their work with love.

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For me, writing is first and foremost a practice of transformation. I’m committed to making artful literature, as best I’m able, but it seems to me that literature is only artful when it truthfully and effectively uplifts the human spirit, mine included, and that the way we writers offer our work to others should also follow this path. Surely I don’t have to lose my bearings to launch a novel!

I believe creative endeavors have their own life, and part of my responsibility as a writer is to serve that life in the world. Often, although not always, that means sharing it. Before I loved writing, I first loved reading, how I assumed I was reading a story when really the story was reading me, changing me, until on closing the covers I woke to the world made new. When my writing ushers readers through this remarkable phenomenon, the creative cycle reaches completion. My work arrives. I believe what is born in solitude reaches fulfillment in relationship. Just because the tasks required to send my work into the minds and hearts of readers go against my grain, I’m not absolved from finishing the labor of creation. It’s my responsibility to support the continuation of what I’ve made as it evolves into others’ hearts and imaginations.

So I posited these questions: Must I be fettered to the whims of my ego and the market economy as I share my work? Or can I continue to be generative and free? Is it possible to approach the period after finishing as an opportunity for continued creativity—perhaps even an integral part of the writing process? What might it look like to stay grounded—heck, even flourish—during this final stage? My answers have become this guidebook. Today, after I finish a project, I use the principles and exercises here to keep myself on a healthy path. . . .

I offer this guide to writers in hopes that we all might be spared some grief. The process I outline here, which I call “the release,” helps us form the habits of mind, heart, and body that support our project’s final flourishing and keep us creatively engaged. This practice isn’t for everyone, nor is it for every project. It’s for those so compelled that we write without guarantee of pay or audience. It’s for those who write in response to the demands of our hearts, who are open to the work of spiritual transformation and committed to serving the life of our creative projects, who want to thrive as we journey into publishing, or not publishing, or whatever transpires after the writing is done. It is for finished pieces whose inner flame still burns.

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