Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nose to the Grindstone

What was I THINKING, signing up for an online writing class that started the first week of December?

The class is Advanced Novel Writing, hosted by Writers Online Workshops. The first assignment, due December 16th, was the first 10,000 words of a novel. The second, due, January 6th, was the next 10,000 words. Each was to be a MAXIMUM of 10,000 words. But, of course, to benefit most from the class, it made sense to submit as much writing as possible.

I had the first assignment pretty well finished prior to the start date. But then the holidays happened, and I didn't get going on the second assignment until January 2nd. Since then, I have met my New Year's Resolution daily word count goal of 1200 words, and then some, submitting nearly 6700 words at 11:55PM yesterday (the deadline was midnight).

But I have to admit, I feel like something of a failure. Not only did I fall short with the word count on the assignment I just submitted, I wasn't at all happy with the writing. Maybe it has potential, but right now it is kind of a mess. The pace is slow; the dialogue needs work. The feedback on the first assignment was that the story really didn't get started until the second chapter, and that I consider flipping Chapter One and Chapter Two. I see the wisdom; I will try that. But right now it's all I can do to get the story on paper. Then I will go back and make it pretty.

Although I wouldn't want anybody besides my teacher and my virtual classmates to see my work at this point, I am thankful for the class and the opportunity to share it with them. Because it is hard for me to be objective about my own work.

On a bad day, I think I am just kidding myself. I am not a writer at all. I never will be.

But on a good day, I think maybe all writers go through this. Writing and rewriting. Because sometimes I am convinced I have the beginnings of a really good story. And maybe if I persevere, I will eventually get it right.

Writing is an art. But it is also a craft. And can improve my craft with practice.

Tomorrow, I am going to write 1200 words, come hell or high water. (Or snow on the ground, which is the more likely scenario).

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