In a rush of New Year, new good intention and bushy tailed optimism I’ve entered a new phase of story competition submissions. It all may be influenced by the coincidental cropping up of a few imminent deadlines, or I may have got over my fit of pique for getting on to yet another shortlist and no further ; nevertheless the urge to compete, to step up to the literary mark has been invigorated. In addition to this surge of competitive zeal-or alongside of it-I’ve signed up for a short course of creative writing sessions.
During the time I’ve been blogging I have never mentioned my delightful writing group, who inspire, motivate and invigorate each others’ writing each and every time we meet-fortnightly, to be exact. I joined the group as a rooky ignoramus about three years ago, only to find myself inheriting the task of running it about six weeks later. In all the time I’ve been writing I’ve only ever really learned one thing, which is that the learning mountain for writing is insurmountable, and that I will, in all probability never get anywhere near the summit. In the time that we’ve met together, various members have come and gone, and others have come and stayed, so that now we are a comfortable set of seven who know each other well enough to offer honest critique respect each others’ views. We all feel that the sessions offer an invaluable input to our writing and that the work has improved as a result. Yet if there is one issue we must address it is that we are too polite, too complementary to each other. I read recently that children make more progress in any endeavour if they are not too broadly praised for every undertaking and this may also be true of we adults.
The result of all these ponderings has catapulted me into the new group. We began by acting on the writing prompts [a set of questions] provided by the teacher, who is an attractive, vivacious blond lady. We wrote continuously for fifty minutes-no stopping to check emails, have my online Scrabble turn or read from The Guardian website; no breaks for coffee or gazing out of the window at the garden bird feeder. I wrote a lot. Here was a lesson in itself. I have no idea whether any of it was any good, since I am too bound up with the preparation of another story to look, but I’m guessing it may provide the basis for something new at some time.