“The world will not stop spinning if you luxuriate in an hour-long writing session. If you lose track of time, that’s how you know you’ve given yourself the greenlight to be creative.” –Julie Poole
Julie Poole is a poet and a journalist based in Austin. She received a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from the New Writers Project at the University of Texas. Her first book of poems, Bright Specimen, was inspired by the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at UT. Her second book of poems, Gorgeous Freak, is forthcoming from Deep Vellum in fall 2024. She has received fellowship and grant support from the James A. Michener Center, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, the PEN Writers Fund. She is currently a National Fellow at USC’s Center for Health Journalism. She has been a resident at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, The Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency, and Yaddo.
On Saturday, December 2nd, Julie Poole is teaching a class for the WLT called “Applying For Residencies, Fellowships, and Grants.” In this class, you’ll learn how to find residencies, fellowships, and grants, and how to determine if they’re a good fit for you.
Here’s what Julie had to share with us:
Scribe: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write? How did you come to writing?
Julie Poole: I’m a poet, journalist, and filmmaker. I discovered writing as a teenager, when a therapist recommended that I write down my thoughts. I was very quiet. She sensed I had a lot to say, and she was correct. With a few exceptions, I’ve journaled every day since then. I see writing as a means of communion with the self, first and foremost, and, from there, a blossoming dialog with others.
Scribe: In your own work, how do you approach overcoming the challenges that come with writing, be it writer’s block or craft or business-related challenges?
JP: As someone with a mental health diagnosis, my main approach is to be gentle with myself. You don’t have to compromise rigor, productivity, goals, ambition, you just have to be willing to say nice things to yourself regularly such as I am a great writer, I have a delightful imagination, I love words, I am a born storyteller. See what I just did there? Connecting with self-kindness is a wonderful thing.
Scribe: Has there been a moment of epiphany in terms of your work, when you thought, “This is it! Now I know what I’m doing?” How long id that feeling last?
JP: My most profound epiphany is that I write with my body. When I take walks, jog, dance, do tai chi, I’m processing language in a different way. I’m able to return to the page and see, ah, this is the voice I want.
Scribe: What piece of advice do you find yourself giving to writers again and again?
JP: Give yourself permission to write. Remind yourself that your craft is important. That event you don’t want to go to, don’t go. That person who demands all your energy, take a pause. Airplane mode is your friend. The world will not stop spinning if you luxuriate in an hour-long writing session. If you lose track of time, that’s how you know you’ve given yourself the greenlight to be creative. Hit those greenlights, my friends.
Scribe: What is one thing that people will take away from this class?
JP: There are so many opportunities that are out there to support you as a writer, and the more you put yourself out there the more you’ll believe in your work.
Click here to learn more about Julie Poole’s upcoming class.