I met Portland-based writer and musician Nick Jaina in 2016 at a small show he played while passing through Salt Lake City. In the back room of a dive bar he read excerpts from his book Get It While You Can out loud in between spells of his music, weaving what I'd describe as something of an auditory mixed-media artwork. I bought his book that night and quickly proceeded to develop somewhat of an infatuation with Nick's work. I eventually brought my fawning to action and emailed him about teaching a workshop next time he was in town.
This month Nick is back for his third workshop with us, and I'm as eager as ever to learn. For more information or to sign up for the workshop click here
Read an interview with Nick below
When you were a child, what did you want to do or be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an NFL running back, but as a really short kid with glasses, that was pretty impossible. Still, I loved Walter Payton so much I couldn't think of anything else worth doing.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started
I've been teaching writing for years, but have made it more and more a focus in the last few years. Because I've toured the world so much with music, I've been able to find communities and spaces that are willing to host these pop-up workshops, and I hope they provide something unique that people in those towns can't find every week.
What has been a piece of advice that has been helpful to you as a maker or entrepreneur?
Spreadsheets! Organization! Treat it like a small business even when it's making no money. If you want it to grow into something, you can't just wait for the magical moment when you have tons of time and capital, you have to have a plan and take some risks. People always ask me how I "get to do" certain things, and I think it's funny, because I really just have an idea to go somewhere and set up the event and book my ticket and do it. No one's telling me what to do.
Who are you inspired by?
I'm inspired by people who really cultivate their life as a piece of art, and whatever they do is a statement of what they want to see in the world. It can happen with any trade or discipline. You just have to see it as the magical thing that it is.
What's your favorite aspect of your process?
Getting to have intimate conversations with people about writing. There's nothing better than that. Writing allows people to be vulnerable and weird and a little witchy. It's a great shortcut to really deep connections. It's amazing how quickly that can happen.
What do you do to help yourself get out of a creative rut?
I think creative ruts always come from a resistance to face something in your life, something that is prominent and needs to be dealt with. If you really don't want to face it, you can always talk about why you don't want to face it, and that can start to ease your way out of the rut.
Describe one of your goals or dreams
I would love to have a small space somewhere that is dedicated to writing and writers. It would host workshops for adults and also offer some free services for kids. Ideally it would just be a creative space where people feel supported to be vulnerable and tap into the magic of writing.