Tuning In: The Fine Art of Paying Attention

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 @ 2:00 pm -3:15 pm Eastern

Our world is filled with distractions—technological, commercial, and more—that keep us from focusing on, as Camus once said, those one or two images that first gained access to our hearts. How can we know what is worth our own and others’ attention—both on and off the page?

Additional Information

Creating art depends on our ability to slow down and really sense and feel our world and our place in it.  Everyday life, particularly but not uniquely American everyday life, asks us to do everything other than engage in the kind of introspection and attentiveness that is essential not only to creative pursuits but also to living an examined life. In our profoundly siloed world —where we are urged to look at, read, believe, consume only those things that don’t offend us or those things that confirm what we already think is true—writers have to struggle not only to pay attention but also to not look away from the harder truths.

We will focus on how to focus—how to pay attention to small, beautiful, or not-so-beautiful things that draw us in. We will use writing techniques, as well as techniques drawn from healing arts (meditation and mindfulness, in particular), to help us “be here now”—be present, be attentive, and be engaged on a sensory level—and to use that energy to propel our writing forward.

In this webinar, you will:

  • RECOGNIZE the problem and source of omnipresent distractions, as well as the unique dangers siloing poses to writers 
  • PAY attention, slow down, and fight the distractions of the world while refusing to look away from the luminous details we may find challenging
  • USE our new-found focus to sort details from distractions, then apply those details to our writing
  • CONSIDER what details to leave in—and what to take out—to make our work stronger

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for writers of all levels who want to understand how to sort luminous details that drive our stories forward from duds and distractions.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Course Presenter

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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill

Webinar FAQs

  • How do I prepare for the webinar?

    We usually open the webinar 3-5 minutes prior to start time (see webinar invite) so you can check your audio settings and make sure everything is working properly on your end. The host will welcome everyone and ask you to introduce yourself and share where you’re joining from in the text-based chat. Participation in the chat is optional.

    The actual webinar program usually gets rolling five minutes after the start time. This is also when the recording starts if you watch the video afterward.

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    Audio Settings:
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    Getting familiar with the Zoom software

    There are several ways to interact with the presenter and other students during the webinar:

    *Live chat

    *Formal Q & A window

    Live Chat:
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    How to banish the chat:
    We encourage you to make use of the live chat throughout the webinar because it’s one of the great benefits of joining the live event. However, some find the chat distracting and would like to turn it off. As of today, Zoom doesn’t allow students to disable the chat, but there is a way to effectively “banish” it if you do not want to see it:

    1. Click the Chat icon at the bottom of the Zoom window
    2. When the Chat appears on the side of your window, click the small arrow icon and select Pop Out, which separates the Chat into its own free-floating window
    3. Then, using your cursor, drag the Chat off the side or bottom of your screen

    Formal Q & A:

    All webinars include time for Q & A with the presenter. This will be included in the recording.

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  • Can I still register for [x] webinar?

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