I joined another Creative Writing Class last year. I do it a lot. Every time I think of what I would really, really like to do, I say writing, so I join a class. I do love it, but the only trouble is you have to write something then, and maybe even read it out. This really focuses the mind for a while, but then I have to search for a way out – you can be a retiring writer, and a bit shy and have writer’s block. It’s so hard to actually be a writer. It’s so much nicer thinking about it, and dreaming about it, and wondering what to write about, or where to write, and to find the space in your head too. There are so many ways to avoid doing it, that I am actually getting impatient with myself at this stage, so I’m just going to write about everything and anything, and then maybe a story will evolve, and well, I will just write it down.
I think what I really love about trying to be a writer is that it’s my space. Nobody can decide whether it’s good or bad only me. I have full control over my thoughts and how I put them into words. My words expressed in my own unique way, explaining my very personal view of the world, and the people who inhabit it. It’s quite a euphoric freedom. Maybe it’s similar to parachute jumping, or rally car racing, or other exhilarating sports, but for me writing is the only way I have ever found such freedom to be myself. In a creative writing class people are very sympathetic, and caring. This really suits me, because then I know I can hide in the background. I have often heard writers say they write because they do not know how to do anything else. I think they really mean that writing is the only way they can get the satisfaction of doing something meaningful and real that reflects their very being, and nothing else compares. Whatever the reason it is similar to a drug, the more you do the more you want to do.
I remember the very moment I fell in love with writing. I was about 15 or 16, and I was in an English class with this really inspirational teacher. We had written essays, and the teacher was going around the class encouraging each one of us. I remember she praised my work too, and read out a particular line I wrote. I was chuffed, and decided I loved English and writing from that day on. I began to write for myself after that. Just little thoughts and observations about the world. They did not really amount to much, but I got a lot of pleasure in writing them. Over the years my writing got buried under all the other stuff that is expected of us in life. Like finding myself, growing up having babies and getting married. It was all quite wonderful and dreadful in equal measures, but having survived it all, I find myself being drawn back to writing again and again. Now I’m at a period in my life where the pace is a lot slower, and less is expected of me. I still have lots of stimulation around me, 4 grandchildren under 6, a little part-time job, and other family stuff. It’s less pressured, and much more fun than the previous half of my life, and I have more time to write about it all.
When I go to creative writing classes I always feel like a fraud. It’s like I got in there under false pretences. Everybody sounds so knowledgeable about publishing and writing competitions, and websites to check out. I feel so far removed from all of that. I just want to write for myself, but need stimulation, and tips and techniques on how to put my ideas down on paper.
Sometimes I wonder what I really expect from a creative writing class, and I suppose it’s the unpredictability of it that really attracts, because it depends on the personalities who are there that sets the tone for the course. It’s always exciting and different. Everyone is open to new ideas and new ways of looking at things. There is huge respect for each other in their own personal writing journey, and support too in their search for their individual style and creativity. I love the ambience and the goodwill that circulates around the room. In my last course I was quite touched when I was contacted by the course tutor at the beginning of a class and encouraged to come, as I sat at home deliberating on my lack of talent as a writer. It’s a very inclusive class, and although you may not have the confidence yet to contribute – that’s ok too.