#amwriting: Getting Out of a Dither

I usually use the hashtag, #writingcraft for my first post of the month. Be that as it may, I found the hashtag, #amwriting a little more appropriate for the subject this time. You may not think so at first but please bear with me.

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As I’ve told you, I’ve been taking a free online course at OpenLearn, which, by the way, is part of The Open University in England. [It’s accredited too.] I decided to try this because my mother told me she thought I needed to brush up on my creative writing skills. Let me tell you, when she told me this, it cut down to the bone. True, I don’t look at my style book often enough. I do have more time to read than I’m currently using so I could be reading about writing. Still, I thought I had a halfway good grasp on the English language and somewhat of a talent for writing.

Are you wondering why my mother’s words have afflicted me so much? It’s because if there is one topic she is an expert at, it’s the written English language. She should have continued in college and become an editor. She could have done it all: development, structural, copy, and proofreading. She looked over every paper I handed in all the way up through high school. It’s one of the reasons I got straight A’s in my English classes.

Enrolling in these classes ended up being a Godsend. Even though I was apprehensive at first, It didn’t take me long to enjoy the classes and pick up tidbits of knowledge I had either forgotten or had missed altogether during my two years of college. [That’s right, I didn’t achieve a four-year degree.]

The other day I  astounded myself. I sat here happily doing an outline of a character in great detail. The last time I had that attitude about any of the preliminary work back in 2014.

With each class I participate in I can feel the momentum building inside me. The course is acting as a  catalyst for me even though much of what is being taught I already know. The dither I was in is almost completely gone now. The underlying feeling of disorder has dwindled. The forever distractions of noise don’t seem to be bothering me anymore.

I can even spend time contemplating different aspects of my WiP without worrying about the time I’m using up not actually writing. This is huge for me because there are times when I need to play out a scene in my head to make sure it’s going to work the way I want it to. Having that misgiving about the time I use to confirm my plan for the passage disrupted that very time so it wasn’t as firmly resolved. I was stuck.

Was this act of taking more courses a way for me to alleviate feelings of low confidence in myself? Yes, I believe so. When I’m sure of myself, I have a tendency to be brash more often, which is, in my opinion, a good thing when you’re a writer.

These days I write with more boldness and spunk and, by doing so, I’m enjoying it a lot more.

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What do you do to get motivated?

“I want to take my rightful share of life by force, I want to give lavishly, I want love to flow from my heart, to ripen and bear fruit. There are many horizons that must be visited, fruit that must be plucked, books read, and white pages in the scrolls of life to be inscribed with vivid sentences in a bold hand.”
Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North

 

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12 Replies to “#amwriting: Getting Out of a Dither”

  1. It is great to hear that you are getting something out of that course, Glynis. Agree with you writing time might not actually mean writing. It can mean researching and trying out different scenes in your head with different characters, and it is these moments where you don’t tangibly see progress, but in fact you are making progress. If I’m not motivated, I like to drop writing and do something else altogether and then later come back to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried doing something else when my muse has deserted me but I end up with a feeling of guilt before too long. Doing something related to writing alleviates the feeling a little. I know I shouldn’t subject myself to this feeling but it usually happens just the same. 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand “I need to play out a scene in my head to make sure it’s going to work the way I want it to” Sometimes, it’s important to have an idea of where you’re going. Then you can work on getting the write words in the right order (and all that grammar and stuff).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, you said it. I know I need a brush-up on grammar as well. Over the years, the numerous parts of grammar have somehow gotten larger. For instance, I learned there were two types of verbs: action and being. It turns out there are 12 types [http://www.learnesl.net/12-kinds-of-verbs-in-english/]. Chances are this is just the tip of the iceberg on this subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The first thought that came to mind as I read your post was, How could your mother tell you that? Beyond the basics of writing, there is a lot of freedom to write the way that suits you.

    OK, beyond my initial shock, I also review the fundamentals consistently, to be sure I’m still doing what I should be, or ignoring them on purpose. I like that the class seems to have inspired you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, my mother can be Atila the Hun at times but she was right about me needed a little more instruction, though not for the reasons she implied. Also, after finding out how many types of verbs there really all, I’ll be trying to stay in touch with the academic world more often now. With you being a teacher, you’re in touch all the time so you may not be aware of what can be missed when a person hasn’t paid attention to those things for years.

      Still, Jacqui, thank you for being in my corner. ❤

      Like

  4. I’ve also taken refresher courses at local places and gotten so much out of them. Even to be reminded of what I’d learned decades ago is worth my investment of time and effort.

    I really like the upbeat, can-do tone of this post, Glynis. You know you have the ability to do what you want.

    As for Mama – gotta love her, especially that she’s interested, but maybe look for other folks to give feedback on your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to keep my mom out of the loop but I don’t dare. As I told Jacqui, she can be Atila the Hun sometimes. I have learned how to filter her comments and advice over the many years. This one piece of advice was one of her better ones even though I’m following through for different reasons. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve done a number of writing courses, which I enjoyed and learnt great tips. As to what is my motivation: I love to write, it helps to de-stress, and the greatest motivator is where my characters take me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I finished the course a few days ago. It felt good to complete it. Although I already knew much that was in the classes, I feel more solid in some of my skills now. Good for self-confidence.

      Like

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