This is my July post for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers' Support Group. For more posts on the subject of writers encouraging other writers, click here.
Last week, I started my Grub Street writing class: The Novel in Progress. Other than work-related seminars and a grant-funded writing workshop offered by our library two years ago, I haven’t taken a class since college. Since I became serious about my writing, it's been four plus years of self-education, baby--so in the hours before the class, a few spare butterflies floated around. But call them moths, really. For the most part, I stepped from one foot to the other in anticipation of three hours each week in a class focused on the craft I love.
Our first assignment required that we bring page one of our current work-in-progress to read in front of the group, so of course I edited my first page to death. On Tuesday, I printed it out, slapped it into a folder and drove six miles to the class location. Ask my husband and daughter. Normally, when I start something new, I morph into a panicked, pacing monster. But Tuesday, I descended the hill and bumped over the railroad tracks on my way to the harborside office one town over, breathing easy. I didn’t beat myself up that my writing isn’t good enough or arrive a half hour early only to take a walk, afraid to be the first one in. I didn’t quiver that everyone in the room would be more accomplished then me. I simply stolled in, greeted the teacher and grinned.
To be truthful, there are very good writers in the class. But listening to these talented people share their brilliant writing inspired me to keep charging forward in my drive to improve my own. Is there anything more enjoyable than hearing a sentence that spirals down deep, causing you to go, “Whoa. How did she think of that?” I drove home batting words around in my head, embracing a renewed commitment, as well as solid criticism in regard to what I need to look out for when I write.
So for the next seven Tuesdays, think of me, a kid in summer school and the big guys are letting me play with them. So far, it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
Happy Fourth of July to all. Hope you are all enjoying summer!