Saturday, March 25, 2006

To write

My second online writing course is coming to an anticlimactic end. Remember how I hated the first instructor for his lack of motivation/direction, and how I complained until they switched me over? And the new class seemed so much better, with engaged and active students and a dynamic instructor? Well, she all but disappeared, came back with the announcement that she'd had unplanned surgery (that was the extent of the explanation), promised she was still with us, but proceeded to be basically awol the rest of the semester. Luckily there is a good group of students that have bonded despite that (because of that?) and her lectures are still pretty good (likely recycled, of course) and so it's been okay, but as the end nears and the evaluation forms come in... well, I am positive I'm not the only one who will not mark this as one of their favorite courses.

The other terribly self-centered thing is that for once I don't feel that I'm at the very top of the class. How vile does admitting that make me? But the truth is that generally I feel that I'm one of the more talented ones, and the reactions from the rest of the class and the instructors usually bears this out. I'm not saying I'm perfect - and in my last class there was one guy that was so phenomenal it took my breath away (why is he not published yet!) - but these classes attract a range of experience and skill, and I've been near the top. Well, this time, there are several who write really well, have gotten excellent kudos from classmates and instructor alike, and they're not me. Hey, this is my own blog, I can be honest, right? It makes me slightly jealous and discouraged. A ping to my confidence, if you will.

The reality is that I've found myself in a group of stronger writers, and that should be wonderful. I've learned a lot in this class, so it's up to me to apply it and to become a stronger writer myself. I know I can do it, I just have to dedicate the time (which I don't) and the discipline (which I really don't.) I'm lazy, and maybe this is my comeuppance.

6 Comments:

Blogger Pynchon said...

The great Harlan Ellison took a writing class early in his career. He hated it. Everything he wrote was slated by the rest of the class and the teacher. Eventually the teacher came out with the immortal phrase

"Mr. Ellison you have no talent and will never have a career as a writer"

Look Ellison up. He has not done too badly. Apparently he was so pissed off that made a point of sending a copy of every single bit of published work to that writing teacher until the day that that man died.

7:01 AM  
Blogger medusa said...

Wow, luckily I've never been in that bad a course. Usually I get frustrated because it's the opposite - the instructor tries to find something positive to say to even the worst writers and I think it's giving them false hope. It's like a bad episode of "American Idol" - sometimes you just want to be Simon Cowell and say, "You have absolutely no talent. Find something else to do with your time."

4:04 PM  
Blogger Pynchon said...

Ah... But even music people get it wrong.

A guy called Dick Rowe of Decca Records once auditioned a band and turned them down because, "Guitar groups are on their way out". The band? The Beatles.

Then again, he did sign the Rolling Stones the following year.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous BW said...

Would you be willing to recommend your online writing course or another you think might be better? I'll come back to check the comments later.

11:52 AM  
Blogger medusa said...

I've been taking courses through Gotham Writers' Workshop (writingclasses.com.) I haven't taken any others, so can't really compare, but I haven't heard of any that are in the same league. I think the format, structure, etc. are great - the gamble is that the rest of the class plays a big role in what you get out of it, since there is give and take in both class discussion and workshopping your stories. So if you don't get a good group of fellow writers, the experience changes.

I've met a lot of people who have taken multiple classes there, though, so that says something!

8:47 PM  
Anonymous BW said...

Thanks for your answer! I appreciate it!!

7:41 PM  

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