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Monday, November 19, 2012

Creative Writing Class

Creative Writing Class

“Do you belong to a writers’ group?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s a closed group,” she replied.  “For serious writers,” she added, slowly emphasizing each word.

I understand the concept of a closed writers’ group for writers who have been listening to and critiquing each other for a period of time, a group whose form and format are set, a group which is working well.

But the words “For serious writers” pinched at me.  She could just as easily have said, “My group is for real writers like me; something you are not.”  I wondered how she came to this conclusion. 

She knew so little about me or about any of the others; all of us going down the stairwell with her, after the weekly writing class we all share.  The moment I had admitted to writing a blog, she discounted me and my writing abilities. 

A common reaction, it seems.  Not the first time this has happened.

There is no attempt to read said blog or to discover if any additional writing is done.  It’s simply, “Oh, you write a blog,” followed by dismissive comments or dead air.  Myopic?  Condescending?  Oh yes!

Indeed there are bloggers who write about situations of little interest to anyone but themselves, but aren’t there also many writers doing the same?  So what?  This doesn’t mean they aren’t serious about writing.  Or that they don’t write in other formats besides the blog, or that they are without talent.

What does it mean to me to be a serious writer?  Well…

I write each day, usually 3 to 4 hours or more.

I re-write and edit constantly.

I share my writing with others to gain feedback.  A writers’ group is a good place for this.

I take classes, workshops, courses to learn new skills, to reach an audience, to obtain feedback, to fuel my creativity.

 I publish the work, when I can.

I write every day.

I seek feedback even when it’s uncomfortable.  I listen and pay attention.  I take everything in and don’t defend my writing.  I re-write and re-write.

I chase the truth.

I write horrible first drafts and work on them until they’re better and occasionally good.

I write every day, every day, every day.

I am serious about writing; about learning everything and anything I can to improve my work.  I consider myself a serious writer.

To my classmate:  Perhaps you could be less hasty in dismissing what is happening around you and in discounting the other writers around you, those people who are attending the same classes as you.  And allow a new idea to rise.    

You are in a classroom of serious writers.  Otherwise, why would we be there?

And pay attention:  Bloggers are serious writers, too.


Photo and words are copyright © Carol Steel.



Gwen Buchanan said...

Great post Carol! She doesn't want to look 'cause she might see.
Did you tell her "Them's fighting words"!!! I was reading an article tonight about Rejection stimulating creativity and I have always found this to be true.. She better look out, she doesn't know what she's triggered.
I always call situations like that "Fuel for the Fire" and that starts off the next session of "I'll show them!"
I have met many people like her and feel sorry for them, in more ways than one.

Someday she'll be eating her words...

Maude Lynn said...

Hmmm . . . I wonder if she could help me come up with a seriously creative new word for "bitch?"

Feel free to delete this if you find it offensive, Carol.

Carol Steel said...

Hi Mama Zen. No, not offensive at all, merely naming it like it is. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Stay the course. You are on the right track, generating beautiful images through your words, and working, working, working, which is the key. There is so much discipline and focus involved, and the best way forward is just to keep at it.

Carol Steel said...

Hi Gwen,

Thanks for this. I don't mind critiques of my writing, in fact I invite and welcome them as a way for me to learn. I do mind someone blowing me off as not serious about what I am working at learning. I appreciate your perspective on this post.

Carol Steel said...

Thanks Anonymous for the understanding and for the encouragement. I agree that the best way forward is just to keep at it.

Jane Tims said...

Hi Carole. A writer is someone who writes. I like the repeated inclusion of this in your list. I'd also say - blogging is a way to practice writing, to challenge yourself and set goals, and to communicate with other writers. People in stairwells are really just concentrating on not falling down. Jane

Carol Steel said...

Thanks Jane. You are right of course, she meant no unkindness. Perhaps she wasn't thinking and as you suggest, just trying to get down the stairs. Sometimes people say stupid things without thinking about how they hurt others.