Sunday, October 14, 2012

Writing Classes and Holding Myself Accountable

I mentioned before that I took a writing class with Jackson Pearce this summer. August to be exact. I'll start with that writing class. 
It was an epic 14 hour road trip. Yep, you read that right. I willingly drove 7 hours each way to attend four writing classes (well, two actually, unfortunately I didn't make the last two because of interviews). 

How it all started:
I'm on twitter. Enough said.
No seriously, I follow my favorite YA authors on Twitter to keep up with their books, funny comments, and writer-life experiences they share. One lovely day Jackson Pearce tweeted. It went as so:
Something. Something witty (I'm sure). I'll be teaching a writing workshop at Georgia Center for the book. Link to class info. Something else she squeezed into the 140 word limit.
I was curious. I clicked the link and the rest is history.

I immediately went crazy for supplies.
Then it was off to GA!

The four classes were broken into weekly Wednesday night sessions to allow for outlining, writing, writing, more writing, revision, and query drafting. The classes started at 6:30 PM. I took the kids to school and left at 10:30 AM to allow for any wrong turns, etc. I mean, that one time right after senior year I was sure I'd found a short cut on the map, but-

MUCH of this was needed!
Some driving drama ensued. For example, has anyone heard of, or been on, Spaghetti Junction in the middle of Atlanta. In 6PM traffic. OhMyCraziness! I was not prepared, y'all. Not prepared at all. And a bus tried to kill me. Just saying...


I LOVED everything I learned from the two classes I attended (I missed the Revision class and Publishing Class, which I was mighty upset about. Especially since the interviews I missed them for didn't work out). I'd share all the amazing class information with you, but per Jackson's wishes we are keeping the class special to those of us that attended. 

Although, I will say this: she may teach another in the future, and if it's taught through Georgia Center for the Book again their programs are free to the public. And most importantly: You will learn SO MUCH from a working, published author. 

That's why I drove 14 hours to sit in a 2 hour class - having a published, working author give me insight while willingly sharing personal tips was totally worth the drive. Mathematically put: I easily spent 10 times the amount of gas it took to get to GA and back for every screenwriting class I attended in grad school. It's that simple (and I'm not usually that excited about math). 

Now, if you're still reading this (sorry for the length), you may be wondering when the other part of the blog title will be relevant. Well, here it is: I attended Jackson's class in August and learned a great deal of valuable lessons. I worked on the idea I had while job applications, interviews, and more stress continued to pile on. 
Then I was blocked (not like ICan'tThinkOfAnything writer's block. This was all FEAR). I wasn't writing on my idea anymore. I obsessed and over-analyzed EveryLittleThing I wrote, or idea I put on paper. I was letting my past creative writing classes, rules, and formulas get the best of me even though I knew (KNOW) better.  

So, as the story goes:
I was on twitter. Enough said. 

I've found a writing workshop that demands I Fast Draft. If y'all aren't familiar with this, here's a quick summary: multi-published novelist Candace Havens hosts workshops and a Yahoo Group for writers that need to hold themselves accountable and get pages out quickly. She created Fast Draft as a method of drafting a crappy first draft in 2 weeks - to just get it out and have something to work with. 

This is everything I need at this stage in my writing journey. I need to let go and get that crappy first draft out before I have time to hate it, or revise the words before they're on the page, or go crazy analyzing every single plot point/character motivation. Because we all know we can't edit a blank page. 

I need to try something new. I'm looking forward to having a deadline. I'm thrilled to push myself past the inner-editor and break into subconscious writing. And I know holding myself accountable by showing up every day to write, and checking in with the workshop group, will give me the results I've been scared of lately.

Best part, this one is online. And it was inexpensive. So excited, y'all!

Okay, I promise to stop now. If anyone is still reading, thank you for your time. Go get something lovely or sweet as a reward for reading all of my words on writing classes and such.

And feel free to discuss any classes you've taken in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment