A Beginning Writer’s Uphill Climb
Cresting the hill to sixty is an interesting time to take up serious writing. When I say serious, I actually mean writing to get published—a challenging feat at any age. My last English class was in 8th grade, but when my husband informed me he was going to write a book, I boldly offered to help. By the time the final proof was at the publishers, a new passion had ignited my soul. I wanted to write! I enjoyed every aspect of publishing from first draft to final manuscript. I excelled at editing content and flow, but quickly discovered grammar was not my forte.
I signed up for English 50 at Bakersfield College, a crash course in critical writing and thinking. . . . and almost expired. Attending two evening classes a week on top of a very busy work schedule with out of town travel was insane. An additional ten to fifteen hours a week was required for homework. What was I thinking?
I loved every minute of it.
So when I heard about an online Fiction Writers Workshop offered by Iowa University—I signed up immediately—even though I’d never written a word of fiction in my life. What better way to find out if I’d like it? But thinking about doing something new is so much easier than actually doing it. The first assignment almost had me running for the door. They wanted an inanimate object to come to life and have an experience with real people! My very practical critical, brainy self went straight into a tail spin.
I did it anyway.
Promising not to judge myself, I chose a treasured memento in the form of a little porcelain cow and brought her to life. Once allowed the freedom to write without being criticized, my inner creative child perked up and took over. The piece burst into life, and when it was finished I had an epiphany—writing fiction was like being let out of perfection jail. The freedom to make stuff up was liberating—I could have fun with this.
A new world of existence opened before me over the following weeks as I delved into plot, character, motivation, and setting. I was sad when the course was over. I missed the excellent teaching, peer reviews, and participation in a close writing community. However, fertile seeds were sown for future pieces, and the experience encouraged me to explore other writing venues.
Blogging ranked pretty low on my list of writing goals. In fact it didn’t make the cut at all. That said, I’ve found competition pushes boundaries of creativity and I relish a good contest. That’s why I’ve joined the A-Z Blog Challenge with Writers of Kern. Comfort zone behind, heart exposed, mentally focused—against the odds I’ve climbed into the blogosphere.