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Monday
Nov022015

There's a long road ahead for this writer — and that's ok

I had an uncomfortable moment yesterday in the writing class I’m taking. I realized I am, at best, an intermediate writer. This is not false modesty. Yes, I know some things about writing. I’m published. I make a small income through my writing and people tell me they enjoy it or it makes them think. Those rewards are fantastic but they may have fooled me into thinking I know more than I actually do. There is WAY more yet to learn, and so much practice ahead.

And guess what? That’s ok.

I also know as an educator that you need to have those uncomfortable or “transformative” moments that challenge your assumptions (I had self-identified and enrolled in the course as an experienced writer) to push you forward with more openness.

The course is How Writers Write Fiction through the University of Iowa. It’s what’s called a MOOC: Massive Open Online Course, with more than one thousand enrolled writers worldwide, of all levels and from all genres. We meet on-line to learn through videos, podcasts and discussion forums, and we share writing for peer evaluation. This week my editors came from Greece, Washington and Toronto.

The assignments have been challenging, like managing dialogue amongst six characters in a short scene. Some of the advice has contradicted what I thought to be true, for example to answer the mystery up front. And it’s pushed me to write in styles in which I have no experience, like writing fantasy.

I wrote a scene that flopped. I received feedback that I can write better. And I survived.

So here’s the thing: yes, there is yet a long road ahead of me as a creative writer. But most importantly I’m writing again, and choosing not to regard that road as a long, boring highway but as an interesting path of discovery.

How’s your writing going?

 

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