Touted Eureka author Dragonwagon teaches planning

Dragonwagon has a plan for planning

Best known as a poet, an author and a creator of regional cuisine in the Ozarks, Crescent Dragonwagon also has a less publicized talent — she teaches artsy people how to plan. And she's doing it this holiday season on a "pay as you can" scale.

(Courtesy Photo)
Best known as a poet, an author and a creator of regional cuisine in the Ozarks, Crescent Dragonwagon also has a less publicized talent — she teaches artsy people how to plan. And she's doing it this holiday season on a "pay as you can" scale. (Courtesy Photo)

If the left brain is more analytical, and the right brain is more creative, it's hard to imagine anyone more right-brained than Crescent Dragonwagon. An author known for her poetry, her children's books and cookbooks, she was also the creative force behind Dairy Hollow House, a country inn and restaurant in Eureka Springs that set the standard nationwide. It's now the nonprofit Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow, which she co-founded with her late husband, Ned Shank.

But Dragonwagon -- yes, it is her real name -- also teaches a variety of workshops and seminars about writing, including one, every year for the past four years titled "Left Brain Planning for Right Brain People."

"I have been quietly developing this particular offering for awhile," she says, targeting the "funky" week between Christmas and New Years to help "other people who are as smart or smarter than me, and often much more talented, to use the time they have to build the lives they want."

"No one has ever done a story about it, nor have I ever pursued this until now," she says, but she has found this particular component of her teaching "one of the most deeply satisfying pieces of my later-life career."

"I have been self-employed as a freelance writer for more than 50 years and have had reasonable success, or what the outside world sees as success, with it," she continues, citing a total of 58 traditionally published books. "This was not so much a matter of self-discipline as it was learning how to think about and work with time."

People erroneously talk about time management, Dragonwagon says.

"Time is a force of its own that can't be managed, but it can be worked with collaboratively," she explains. And it can be done in such a way that it highlights living life with intention.

"LBP begins by changing how you think about time, and how much of it you have -- in your life as well as in any given day or week," she goes on. "At its core, LBP is a self-created, one-of-a-kind, infinitely customizable how-to manual for your life. Once you grasp the basic LBP principles, you can easily customize your LBP planner. You'll be able to fuel, practically and step by step, your biggest aspirations, and make them happen on a day-to-day basis."

Dragonwagon says growing up in a "fairly chaotic" household and having a learning disability forced her to figure out the small things, like how to get the laundry done, and the big things, like getting a book published or an inn opened.

"I view time in a very different way now," says Sally Baker Williams, one of Dragonwagon's students. "LBP 2020 came along right as I was in the throes of massive life changes. Newly widowed and living alone for the first time in my life, recently unemployed transitioning to self/freelance employment, finding my voice as a writer and creator was a lot to navigate. Fully relying on myself to create these structures and schedules was daunting.

"Over the years I have used a variety of ways to attempt to meet the demands of home and career life without dropping too many balls," Williams explains. "The box where abandoned planners and journals go before returning to dust is the evidence of the varied levels of success.

"Fast forward to now. I have taken LBP three consecutive years [and] each year I take away new nuggets of wisdom that resonate. Each year helps as I iterate systems that finally make sense for the way my brain works. Planning is now fun, approachable and uniquely mine."

The other thing that makes the December workshop unique is that Dragonwagon invites students to pay "whatever you can afford comfortably."

"I've had people attend for as little as $10 -- and others, who have worked with me before, sometimes pay as much as $250 because they know I do 'scholarships,'" Dragonwagon says. "I feel LBP is such a useful thing -- learning how to work with time, which is to say, one's life -- that I didn't want income to be a barrier, especially as so many people in the artistic world suffer from perplexity about getting things done, organization, meeting deadlines, being on time, etc. -- and are often short on cash."

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FAQ

Crescent Dragonwagon:

'Left-Brain Planning For Right-Brain People'

WHEN -- Dec. 27-28

WHERE -- Via Zoom

COST -- Pay as you're able

INFO -- dragonwagon.com; for information on discounted registration email [email protected]

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