I’ve been a little missing in action lately, but I have reason to be, as I have started my Constructing a Novel course with the Writer’s Academy at Penguin Random House.
So far, I’m impressed! I know it’s only week two and I’m so happy and excited to be involved, but the level of attentiveness shown by the staff, the comprehensiveness of the writing studio and the level of detail in the material is excellent. Most importantly for me, the material makes me feel like I’m not a failure, makes me feel like there’s hope and not having it all figured out yet is ok. These things are pretty important to me. Being in a class with others who have similar dreams, goals and varying levels of success is also a comfort.
Rather helpfully, assignments are Wednesday to Wednesday, so it’s not going to be a mad rush Monday to Friday let’s say, I get the weekend also to work on my assignments, which is a huge help! Between the nine to five, looking after puppy, a social life and housework, it is an ongoing struggle to find the time to write or to read, and they are expecting us to do plenty of both. This is the time to be and stay dedicated.
I think the most important things to say about the course so far is, firstly, that it’s helping me come out of my comfort zone. In week one, we had to write a synopsis of the new novel and an elevator pitch, two things I don’t think I’m particularly good. We then had to upload it to our class forum to get feedback from classmates. I was fortunate enough to receive some positive feedback, but I was really nervous. I identified that I always worry my ideas come across as dull or too generic. Identifying and admitting that was a good step forward, as was taking the plunge and sharing whether I wanted to or not. I suppose it boils down to that old chestnut of needing the fear to keep you going, to push you to go further.
Secondly, it has reminded me how much I really want this, how much I want to write for a living. Finding the time is hard right now and that is a bit stressful, but again I need that stress to keep me motivated. It’s now or never, I must make the absolute most of this unique opportunity or else I’ll kick myself later and forever if I never make it as a writer.
Embarking on this venture has been a little daunting to say the least, but I’m already enjoying having the assignments, the opportunity to focus on planning the second novel and getting support from our tutor, who so far has been really engaging and encouraging.
I’m already reflecting on the decision to undertake this course in a positive light; I know it was the right choice for me. Wish me luck! No doubt I will write more about the course here as time goes on!