The Pliant Writer with Craig Hodgins

Be Flexible, Find Balance

By: Loni Cameron

This month’s member-run workshop had Craig Hodgins speaking to us about how to make the best use of our time. The problem of many people is that we often have too many choices – too many things to do, with too little time in which to do them. We can’t force ourselves to do more than we are capable of or that our time permits. Lists can help, but they can also be overwhelming and unchangeable. We need to find a way to manage ourselves. Craig tells us to go “Agile” (Pliant).


Technically speaking, we need a customizable framework with workflow priorities. We need to remember the customer is anyone we serve – readers, agents, editors, and even ourselves. We need to change and adapt quickly, being efficient and effective.  The Pliant Writer needs a plan, but not one they follow too rigidly. As we create our work, from an idea to a final draft, we receive feedback and adapt accordingly. Here Craig referred to Salvador Dali, “Done is better than perfection that never happens.”

Craig taught us about “Kanban” – a type of flowchart that allows us to visualize our work. We can create a dashboard, paying attention to what is happening in our stories and in our lives. Craig recommended creating something that is meaningful to you, and limiting your works-in-progress to three (or one, or five, – something you can handle). When you complete a task, adjust the chart and repeat. There is software that can help with this, though many prefer to use sticky notes or index cards.


Craig dove deep into not just our writing projects, but all the “hot spots” in our lives. By creating dashboards using the Kanban method, he explained how we can find a better balance. Learn when your “Power Hour” is – When do you do the most work? When is your “Creative Hour?” When do you feel free to explore and create? Reflect, adjust, repeat. Learning about yourself can help you find that balance you need to complete your writing tasks and alleviate some stress in your life.

Upcoming Events:


Ugly Holiday Sweater Party & Open Mic – Saturday, December 8, 12:00pm to 4:00pm at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex


Make Them Wonder: Sparking Curiosity, Surprise, and Awe in Our Readers with Daniel Scott Tysdal – Sunday, January 13, 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall


Page to Stage: with Charlene Jones – Thursday, January 31, 7:00pm to 9:00pm at NewMakeIt


Fact or Fiction? Q&A with the York Regional Police – Sunday, February 10 at Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall

Written by

When Loni isn't reading other people's words or running around after her two young children, she spends time writing stories of her own. She finds inspiration in the little things, but also in momentous events. Loni currently resides in York Region. Twitter: @LoniStorm Instagram: loni_storm Facebook: @LoniCameronWriter

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Kim McDougall
5 years ago

Thanks Craig for a terrific workshop. I’m using my Kanban board and loving it!