I’m making a couple of changes around here, dusting a few corners, tweaking a few curtains. First thing to go is is my regular Monday morning creative writing slot, not because I have exhausted my supply of exercises (I estimate that I’ve probably got another two miles…and the paper pile is still growing), but because <gentle drum roll – let’s not over do this> I am bringing out an ebook very, very soon about how to be the kind of writer you want to be.
I’m feeling a bit like this about it:
photo credit: McBeth via photopin cc
And also a bit like this.
photo credit: bobsfever via photopin cc
WHY I’M DOING IT
Because I’m passionate about creative writing and I’m passionate about teaching it. It’s a thrill walking into a classroom at the beginning of term not knowing who I will meet and what stories I will read. It’s a pleasure walking into a classroom full of ‘old’ students, watching their self confidence grow and their writing devlop It’s a home coming. And I have never forgotten the advice given to me by the poet and writer Lavinia Greenlaw who was my tutor when I was studying for a Masters in Creative and Life Writing. She told me that she had never taught a class that hadn’t also her taught her something about the art of writing.
That’s been my experience too and while I know that I can’t replicate that face to face exchange of ideas through an ebook I’m hoping that I can pass on my enthusiasm for a creative art that has ordinary everyday relevance because learning how to communicate more effectively, to be able to use the tools of language with skill is always going to be an asset. Word after word after word is power said Margaret Atwood and you know that to be true when you have to complete a job application, read a benefit form or send a letter of condolence.
Because I can. I know that’s not a good enough reason in itself but I’m convinced that we are living through extraordinary times when it is possible for writers to make direct contact with potential readers and produce books and ebooks with high production values without having to apply for a mortgage or sell the family silver. It wasn’t like this 10 years ago and I suspect that it won’t be like it in 10 years time. We are in a time of flux and I want to see it what it feels like to be part of it.
Because I am trying to enter a highly competitive market I haven’t talked to my agent about this or approached a publisher, I thought I’d see for myself if I can enter it. If I only did the things that I knew I would succeed at I wouldn’t have done much in my life. I joined a table tennis club when I was 14, although I was truly dreadful at the game. There were, of course, other attractions. Boys. I didn’t get any better at table tennis – perhaps graduating to the status of dreadful – but I stopped being quite so shy, even sometimes talking to these fabulous creatures and I grew up, a bit. Failure is underrated. So, let’s see what I learn doing this – I’ll let you know how it’s going.