I'm on Facebook when a student who is in the same Creative Writing class as me starts up an instant messaging window. He wants to talk about the piece he'd brought in to workshop earlier that day. He wants to know if I was holding back, trying to be nice about it. The answer is, of course I am. I am a ruthless critic. I am a perfectionist. I am a complete bitch when it comes to editting. Worse even, when the work is my own.
We talk about problems with his piece for a while. He takes it well, maturely weighing up the pros and cons of my opinions. He is a good listener and I feel like my thoughts, as a fellow writer, are respected. It is a satisfying headspace to occupy. I do feel a tad guilty though. Who am I to give writerly advice to someone who has taught people to write outside of taking this course for longer than I have been able to write my own name??
Then, we talk about the problems I am having with my own piece. Talking it through with someone whose opinions I value (and whose approval I seek from week to week) helps me see where I can take my assignment to make it work for me, rather than against me.
I get to work.
THURSDAY I write an essay on Nazism for history, get a DVD stuck in the DVD player and nearly have a mental breakdown because the helicopters flying over my house all day (we have a local mystery) are driving me insane. The overcast weather drives me stir crazy.
FRIDAY I am desperate to write, but I have to go to work. By the end of the day, the inspiration is gone and all I am desperate to do is sleep.
SATURDAY I work again, and then go to a friend's birthday movies and dinner outing. Good friends, good food and great laughs alleviate my stress and put me back in my happy place. Still no writing.
It was 11pm. I'd just finished some pretty intense university notes on the Holocaust, and to get my mind on less depressing things before I fell asleep, I was thinking about the street that I live in. My brain started up like someone had plugged it into my laptop and pressed the power button. Ideas. Everywhere, words, making sentences, making a story, making a story question for me to answer. Just who is the guy next door? How close is he to the character I imagine him to be?
I resist the writerly urge, thinking to myself that I have an early start the next day. There is no time to stay up until dawn scribbling. I will not be able to keep my eyes open. My penmanship will be atrocious. The idea might strike again, and it isn't that good anway. But my journal (purple at the moment) sits on the desk next to my bed and it calls to me. "Write in me!" she says. (Why is my journal a girl? I don't know, I'm just the writer!)
I turn on the light, and I write until I feel like I've been awake for days. The story is very basic, very teenage, very fanciful. But feeling satisfied that I wrote it, I go back to sleep.
MONDAY I go to uni and come home to work on that essay some more. I accidentally watch too much TV. I forget that I am even writing a novel. There is only Cold Case, and Nazi Terror.
I mean to only type up my workshopping piece for the following day, but I ended up under a fictive spell. The story grabbed me and before I knew it, it was 10. 30 pm and I still wasn't ready for the next day of classes (never fear, an early start remedied that... joy /sarcasm). What I ended up writing was nowhere near enough. I plan on writing more. There is more to say. My fingers are itching to type!!
WEDNESDAY a.k.a. today.
I finished my creative writing assignment... Well. The creative part. Also, Metior issue 3 came out at uni... check out page 47 for yours truly. Had my doubts as to the merit of the current piece. It hadn't been allowed to sit for as long as the piece in Issue 2. Oh well. Issue 4 will commence after exams. The theme is "black". Now. How exactly does one write about Black in an unconventional way? And how do I go about recruiting a poetic sidekick for my segment, as requested?
All these and more answered in the next thrilling installment. Provided I remember.