Nonfiction | Bootcamp

The Writing Life for Procrastinators

Why is it that can we perform our “day jobs” with passion, dedication, and for many hours every day and yet have trouble sitting down for our “real” work: writing. The answer is simple, complex, and, of course, very deep. This class will help you explore your resistance and develop solutions from the framework of creativity and discipline, which must go hand in hand. We will break down what is keeping you from your heart’s desire and inspire you to step up, right now, and do this vital work.

Explore the idea of the “block” and how this mindset is inhibiting you from writing on a daily basis. Are you waiting for inspiration? Debunk this confusing misconception. We will discuss the deep creative imperative of writing and unpack why it drives you and learn to harness that feeling and knowledge into action. We will explore, through readings, how others in different artistic disciplines address and work within their creative process: musicians, dancers, artists, architects, actors and other writers. Examine the process of prioritization with a cold unemotional eye – we are all busy people – why do some get it done and others can’t? Begin to understand what the mindset of procrastination reinforces within us and what are we gaining from it; what is the payoff which is actually counterintuitive? And we will dissect what does work in your daily life, and how to harness that and transpose this success onto your writing practice.

By approaching these issues from myriad points of view, and with class discussion and brain storming, you will walk away with concrete tools and behavioral and mental techniques to help you become the writer who actually produces. You’ll leave with a list of ways to manage resistance, reinforce what does work, and inspire you to think outside your personal box. You will leave this workshop with the idea that writing is your “day job”. This class is for writers at all levels.  

Marcia Butler

Marcia Butler is the author of the nationally acclaimed memoir, The Skin Above My Knee. She was a professional oboist for 25 years. During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned of New York and international stages, with many high-profile musicians and orchestras. Marcia was a 2015 recipient of a Writer-in-Residence through Aspen Words and the Catto Shaw Foundation. Her work has been published in Literary Hub, PANK, Psychology Today, The Aspen Institute, BioStories, and others. She lives in New York City.


“Marcia Butler brings the same passion and knowledge to teaching that she does to music and writing. I have been able to watch her teach at the Kenyon Review writing workshops, and she was wonderful. She has exciting ideas and is eager to share them; moreover, she works hard to make her ideas and areas of expertise clear and engaging. She challenges others while always remaining supportive of them. She is organized yet not rigid, very prepared yet able to be extemporaneous.”

Nancy Zafris Kenyon Review Adult Writers' Workshops

“Marcia Butler has written a beautiful memoir – meticulously nuanced, daringly honest, and utterly inspiring.”

Tim Page Pulitzer Prize winner

“Marcia Butler has composed her own music here, and it is filled with passion and yearning and ultimately the kind of beauty that can save us all. This is a gorgeous book.”

Andre Dubus III NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of TOWNIE

“Gorgeously written, THE SKIN ABOVE MY KNEE takes the reader from the world’s most lauded concert venues into the innermost sanctums of musician’s lives in New York.”

Profile Photo Marie-Helene Bertino author of 2 AM AT THE CAT'S PAJAMAS

“As a writer, Marcia Butler is compassionate and generous, so it should be no surprise that she delivered an inspiring craft talk at the Kenyon Review Writers' Workshop this summer. Equal parts entertaining and informative, Marcia is able to get to the heart of what matters. I left her talk feeling excited about writing. She knows how to share her passion for craft and encourage people to find their creative path.”

Geeta Kothari Faculty, Kenyon Review Adult Writer's Workshop

“Marcia Butler has the unique ability to connect with any writer, no matter their level or experience. Her generous and inspiring presentation to the Aspen Writers' Network exceeded our expectations. She was engaging, heartbreaking, hilarious, and extremely instructional, providing guidance on the writing process, finding an agent, developing a manuscript, and the creative imperative.”

Caroline Tory Senior Program Associate for Aspen Words