I know, I know, my posts are few and far between to say the least. In fact, if I’m 100% honest, my last post was drafted a fair time before I got it together to post it. Shame on me. I promise that’s all behind me now: I’ve come through the long, long period of anxiety; of course, you’re never fully through anxiety, but it’s not as immediate as it was, that’s for sure. I’ve pretty much settled into my new job as a second in department in English. Much better for me than being head of department as I was before. I’ve written a short romance novel and I’m in the throes of the third draft, second re-draft. Alongside this writing, I have rebooted the writing course that I started – ahem – 14 years ago and then again one year ago. Even more exciting news is that I’ve applied to do a Masters in Creative Writing with the Open University.
This is all good stuff. However, I feel that I need to put some continuity into the way I approach this blog. At the moment, I find myself searching around for a post subject and purpose that is to do with writing and therefore of some possible interest to readers. That’s why I’m not posting regularly. I think I’ve come up with an idea that can run. Fifty ways to deal with being fifty. Or something like that. Or of course, it could just be a sort of journal of the two writing courses. Yes, I think that could work even better. A personal journey journal. Hopefully that will help me as I write and be of some interest to other budding writers like me.
Okay, so here goes: The Diary of a Creative Writing Student. I like that. I particularly like the ‘student’ part; ever since I left college 20 years ago, I’ve been wishing that I could go back to being a student again. I briefly managed to achieve this dream when I gave up my much hated job in recruitment to do a PGCE in Secondary English. But it wasn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it, even the teaching part, but it wasn’t as delicious as studying English Literature full time: reading, writing and drinking like there was no tomorrow, sigh. So the writing course is feeding that desire to a certain extent and the MA will push many happy buttons. It’s a shame that practicality insists that I have to continue to work full time while this happy state of study affairs is taking place, but as I teach both reading and writing as an English teacher, it could be much, much worse.
I am going to count this as my first post in this diary. Today is the day on which I applied for the aforementioned masters degree. I’ll update the diary with regard to that process as appropriate. Today is also the day on which I have decided what my next two assignments for the Writers Bureau course are going to be: a personal memoir about working in a pub next to Smithfield Meatmarket, a piece on Exmouth for a regional publication and a piece on a journey my grandfather made back to places in France where he’d fought in the First World War.
The relief of having made a decision about what to write for these assignments is quite significant. I’ve wanted to get on with the course but I have had real problems deciding what to write and what publications to target. This brings me onto the other achievement in my bid to develop as a writer goes. For months I’ve been a subscriber to Writing Magazine and for months, I’ve not been finding the time to read it. However, as I hate to waste money and I enjoy reading the magazine when I do get round to it, I’ve forced myself to read through several back copies. The magazines have not only given me the push to apply for the MA, but in the Writers’ News section, they feature publications who are currently accepting outside contributions. This has been much more fruitful than standing in my local convenience store staring at the magazines on the shelf and trying to decide which one to try now as a possible opening. It’s even more fruitful than reading the incredibly useful Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook; which while providing a range of incredibly useful and useable information, doesn’t help with my nerves about approaching publications cold. Being provided with information on publications actively looking for outside contributors is a huge bonus.