Beginnings are very important. So are endings, but the most important thing is to begin.
The title is something that I have come realise afresh over the past two weeks. If you want something to begin, then you should work on that. With no action from you, there will be no beginning.
On a related note, I know some of you wanted a report on what is going on with my creative writing and anxieties about sharing it with my class. So, here, have a report.
Indeed, I have turned into that person who takes photos of her drinks and then shares them with everyone.
So, how did it go in class on Monday morning when I had to read the first chapter of my new novel out loud to everyone?
It went extremely well. It went much better than I ever dreamed… Granted, most of my dreams about this were nightmares, so that doesn’t say much. I cannot describe the encounter to you without sounding like a total jerk, so I won’t. It doesn’t matter anyway. It’s not important. What is important is what that encounter did to me. Walking out of that room afterwards, I believed in writing again. I think I was in high school when last I believed in writing this much. University has a way of squeezing hobbies out of you. They just keep you so busy that you don’t have time for all those things you believed in so much before.
In high school I wrote to survive. I was terrible at it, but I got better. Twice I entered a prestigious writing competition. The first time I received position. The second time I didn’t receive anything worth mentioning. So it goes. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that first time when I received the phone call with the good news and later when I looked at my shiny certificate, I believed in writing. I believed that someday I might make it in this cruel industry. I thought that one day I might become good enough at writing that I would get mentioned again. I was naive, but I had faith in writing. I knew I had a long way to go still, but I looked to a future in writing.
Then I went to university and the dream faded. I wasn’t that good at academic writing. When it comes academic achievement, I’m in the higher part of the middle group. I’m not someone who is mentioned or noticeable. Every day, I realised more and more how small the chances were that I would ever become a writer. I did less and less serious writing. In high school, this would have been unthinkable. Back then, I wrote to cope. In university, I lost that. I didn’t need the coping-mechanism so much anymore and I switched to freewriting instead. I forgot that I wanted to become an author.
I did NaNoWriMo as a way of clinging to the person who I had been, but I had to admit to myself that I didn’t write outside of November anymore. I was a wisher, a pretender, not a writer.
Then I finally got the chance to enter this creative writing course. You know how I panicked and how stressed I was about this sort of exposure. What if I could not handle this?
One can usually handle more things than you thought possible. This case was no exception.
I read my chapter without doing anything weird, like puking. I could feel my ears glowing. My voice broke from nerves a few times, but I’m not a teenage boy and it therefore it wasn’t too embarrassing. The feedback and comments I got were very really, really good and helpful. I hadn’t felt like this since high school and that first writing competition. It was a Patronus-feeling.
I walked out of that room believing in writing again. I know I still have a long way to go. This is, after all, not a Masters in Creative Writing. I’m not being judged as an author. I’m just a student. That was just a workshop. It doesn’t mean that much beyond “We think you should keep at it.” I’m only the apprentice.
On the other hand, it meant the world to me. That was the first time I’d ever got feedback from someone who wasn’t my mum or my best friend. It gave me hope again. Honestly, I didn’t know how much I needed that. I got one ridiculously happy day. When I got home that afternoon, my mum asked how class had been. I just couldn’t stop smiling while I answered. Seriously, that never happens. I’m the one who has to be in control of my emotions. Once, I couldn’t control it. I was hopeful again and it felt so good.
Tuesday, it was back to worrying over small details and being insecure and nagging and being anxious. I spent hours on babynames.com today. I’m a nice one to talk about regular writing, because I was so stuck in details today that I didn’t get anything done. 😛 Now it is back to worrying that if I don’t have Chapter Two done by Monday, I’m going to be so behind!
But everything seems easier now. Because I believe in that one day again. I believe in committing myself and working towards that one day again. You have to start. I finally realised that Chapter One wasn’t going to write itself.
This quote crossed my tumblr dashboard yesterday. I don’t know
much anything about graphic design, but I decided to turn it into a graphic so that I could stick it on my wall. It will be a good motivator.
Feel free to print it for yourself or whatever. Share it if you want to, I’d just really appreciate credit and/or a link back. 🙂
Have you ever attended a creative writing workshop? What was your experience of it like?
I’m going to go be indecisive about my characters’ middle names now. 🙂
This entry was posted on August 15, 2013 by Elana. It was filed under Life updates, Meta-writing and was tagged with creative writing, great news, J.R.R. Tolkien, metawriting, quotes, real-life pics, university, writing.