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Want to Write Better Poetry? Nap First.

Mimi Herman
DURHAM—Former Piedmont Laureate Mimi Herman will lead the poetry session “Poetry Nap: Relax Your Way to Great” at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2021 Fall Conference, November 19-21, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham/RTP.

Conference registration is open.

Mimi Herman  is a writer and editor, Kennedy Center teaching artist, and co-director of Writeaways writing workshops in France, Italy, New Mexico, and online. Since 1990, she has engaged over 25,000 students with writing workshops. She is a Warren Wilson alumna and the 2017 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate, and serves as a member of the AWP Board of Directors. Mimi has held readings at Why There are Words, Symphony Space, and—with David Sedaris—at Memorial Auditorium in North Carolina. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, Prime Number, and other journals. She is the author of Logophilia and The Art of Learning. Her latest collection of poetry, A Field Guide to Human Emotions, is available from Finishing Line Press, and her novel, The Kudzu Queen, will be released from Regal House Publishing in 2023. You can find Mimi at and

This year, NCWN is asking authors for “one good piece of advice,” either something they were once told that they never forgot, or something they wished they could go back and tell their younger selves. 

“The one piece of advice I’d give new writers is this,” Mimi says. “Write 15 minutes every day. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be smart. It doesn’t have to connect with what you wrote yesterday or what you’ll write tomorrow. Just fifteen minutes every day (though you can certainly write more if you’re inspired). If you miss a day, don’t punish yourself by forcing yourself to write 30 minutes (or 45 if you miss three, 60 if you miss four, etc.). Just start again with your fifteen minutes.

“I wrote a novel that way.

“By the way, this also works for experienced writers who are trying to find their way back into their writing lives.”

If your life feels like one commitment piled on top of another, with no time for writing, to ease your way into inspiration. In “Poetry Nap: Relax Your Way to Great,” you’ll slowly relax, breathe deeply as we rarely get the opportunity to do, and take a journey into the deepest part of yourself. When you emerge from your poetry nap, you’ll be ready to spill ideas and images onto the page, and craft them into poetry. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will give the Keynote Address. Additional poetry sessions will be led by Dasan Ahanu, Fred Joiner, Han VanderHart, and more.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit