Part of my writing struggles comes from my writing education. I was taught free writing. Look at a blank page and start writing on anything at all. Then, follow your thoughts however long it takes to write a certain length of time or page.
It has its place and has really helped me avoid the stage-fright associated with a blank canvas.
Perhaps such a mixed metaphor further illustrates my lack of formal training. Ok, I will ‘fess up. I learned the writing lesson above in third or fourth grade or something.
I’m not trained as an English major. I’ve never taken a course entirely on writing, even in high school, and, to be honest, I continue to think that delving into substance is just as good as any other avenue into writing.
What’s to stop me—or you—from writing? Sure not lacking some degree or class! Nor is a degree or classwork any sort of magic solution for writing woes.
But what about those of us who finally turn from our bravado and want a little professional help (not of the pyschological kind)? We may scour the Internet, but is it “cheating” to do more? Attend a class? Return to education?
Not cheating! Nor is refreshment, enrichment, education some sort of failure. Ever.
If you have an option for classes nearby, look into. I’m not at a point in my life when that’s really an option, so I thought I could look into Great Courses, which are pricey unless you catch them with one of their 75% off sales, and found Writing Great Fiction. It has some pretty great reviews and writing exercises included.
I’m a bit intimidated by the time commitment: it consists of actual college lectures so it takes up real time. But isn’t that what time is sometimes for? I need to move away from thinking writing is always go, go, go. Sometimes a page should stay blank for a little while!
But, tell you what: I’ll keep mine blank for a while and you fill yours up. We can trade places later, whether we’re getting a writing education a traditional way or not.
It makes me a think a little of that beautiful couplet, “And from morn to set of sun, through the Church the song goes on.”