Max Hipp on Writing, Retreating, and “Getting Messy”

Hi Max! You will be joining Nancy & me for Create in Costa Rica in January. Thanks! We’re so excited for this retreat. What, if any, has been your writing workshop/retreat experience in the past? How do you find ways to honor your writing in your day-to-day life?

I did a Barrelhouse Writer Camp last summer in rural PA (Barrelhouse does great work for writing culture—not only do they publish a journal and many books, they also offer a grant for up-and-coming lit journals!). A creek ran through the property and we’d all get together, a few dozen writers and editors, to eat dinner and watch a terrible movie. I was able to get a lot done.

I make time for writing every day, at least a couple of hours. If I can’t do that, if I don’t have time to even sit down, I’ll write things on my phone. Even if it’s just a paragraph or an idea.

Respond to this quote by Brenda Ueland: “So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”

This is from one of the four million books on writing I’ve read that I wish I owned. Of course I agree. Personally I’m trying to spend less time “dawdling and puttering” so more of it has an end result.

What is your favorite story that you yourself have written (“favorite” doesn’t have to mean “best” or more successful or whatever). And why is it your favorite?

The truth is my favorite piece is whatever I’m working on. I’ve got a few new things bouncing around, though, that I think are pretty good. Even though nobody has taken them yet, the rejections from journals have been complimentary and specific rather than boilerplate, so that’s somewhat encouraging.

Tell us something we don’t know about you that you are happy to share. AND/OR What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming retreat in Costa Rica?

I write songs, short stories, flashes, and aborted novels. I used to compartmentalize the forms because I was thinking they should all be made so differently. Now I get messy and let them leak all over each other.

I’m looking forward to a community of writers in a new place. It helps so much to read works in progress with other writers and editors–people who are great readers–and just talk about what you’re making.

I love what you say about allowing different forms to “leak all over each other.” And I agree wholeheartedly about the value of community for writers! Max, thanks for taking the time to chat. Nancy and I look forward to creating in Costa Rica with you!

NOTE: A few spots remain for Create in Costa Rica in January! Join us!

Bio: Max Hipp is a teacher and writer living in Mississippi. His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, New World Writing, Unbroken Journal, and Five 2 One. Follow him on Twitter: @maximumevil

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