Sometimes when I write I feel as though I am cheating. The ideas come from somewhere, pass through me and into a story. I am simply a vessel. I don’t mean to get all new agey or metaphysical on you - but I want to point out that I don’t feel responsible for my inspiration. They are in my dreams or pop into my head while I am running, but I myself, am not clever enough to make this stuff up. So look, the truth is I’m looking for someone else to blame when my writing is shit.
Because I don’t feel as though I can change who the characters are or how the plot is driven (those things all seem to happen on their own) I have to rely on honing in my writing skills. That I can control. Much like my job as a technical writer, you give me the content and I will pretty it up for you and make sure people know what the hell you are talking about - what is the message being conveyed?
All this is context you see, to show what motivated me to sign up for the “Art of Revision” class given by a local writer’s organization. I have written a lot but if I plan to be a professional writer I have to learn to edit, edit, revise, edit, revise, pull my hair out, burn the story, edit, revise and then eventually feel like I can submit.
Long story short, I’m never going to feel as though I can submit anything until I am a fluent editor.
Originally, I was going to spend the majority of this post ranting about my expectations for this class and the reality of what I got. Gathered, I have only been to one of the four scheduled classes but I am worried that I signed up for a really expensive critique group. I have a critique group (shout out WBWW) and I adore them; partly because they are wise and supportive and motivating, but mostly they are FREE! We are all at similar stages in our writing and while our backgrounds and ages vary I feel we all take our writing equally as seriously.
The editing class I went to Wednesday was not a class. It was a two hour love fest for the manuscripts that a group of retired women may write (note - NOT "have written"). My frustration does not come from the fact that I felt completely out of place or the fact that they have yet to actually complete an initial rough draft. It comes from the fact that I need to get my ass in gear. I need to fill up my metaphorical tool shed so I can start getting out there. I do not need to go back in time.
(Ugh. I know this is coming off condescending, I assure you that is not my intention. Anybody who struggles with writing gets my respect.)
I am sticking it out and here’s why.
-I already paid for it, and those who know me know I am incapable of saying “not what I was expecting, please refund.”
-I like to support writing in any fashion.
-The teacher is brilliant. This I know to be true and I want to have someone in my life with this amount of experience. I want to reach that Mecca of editing she speaks of, where everything clicks into place.
-I’m bound to learn something.
Truth is maybe I was hangry when I went. Maybe, I had expectations that were different from reality but you know what that’s life and I need to get out of it what I can.
First homework assignment, read MS front to back. No editing (I’ll inevitably jots some notes). I have been really meaning to do this for some time. I have taken a nice long break from my MS and now it’s time to read it. To be honest, I am truly dreading it but I really cannot move on until I get over that.
Okay, so wish me luck!
Current Song: Beyoncé (stop hating!) - I Was Here