Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The Story Begins
About a month ago, my friend Esther tweeted me a link to an online writing course in which she had just enrolled. I think you should sign up with me, she said. It was called Story 101, a ten-week writing course about "finding your voice." Each week had a different theme with assignments and discussion topics. It looked like something that could really benefit me.
I've considered going back to school a hundred times, but don't know what I could go for that would significantly improve my life or justify the sacrifices involved. Most recently I rejected the idea because my main work-oriented goal is to grow as a writer, and I don't necessarily need a degree for that. Well, shortly after I came to that conclusion, this opportunity arrived. But I was (justifiably) concerned about having adequate time and energy to commit 110% to the course – the old perfectionism problem. Finally my sister said, "Even if you can't do A-plus work, you'll still get something out of this. Just do what you can." How revolutionary. I also realized that if I'm ever going to take myself seriously as a writer, I'll have to get over my mindset that investing money or significant time into my writing is too self-indulgent. And the world won't end if I sometimes need to prioritize the course over other things. If I was, say, getting an MBA, no one would blink at me letting some things slide to focus on schoolwork. But even though I won't have any conventional marks of success or achievement at the end of this course, it will still be valuable TO ME. This is my "grad school"… or at least the start of it.
So, I signed up, and the course starts on July 1. As in next Monday. I know I need some risk and challenge in my life, but at this eleventh hour I feel mostly apprehensive and wonder what I got myself into. I'm still pretty fuzzy on the day-to-day details of the class. Mainly, I'm worried that even though it's supposed to be about finding and clarifying your own voice, there'll be a lot of pressure to conform to a certain kind of voice (which many of the enrollees already seem to share). I'm doing this to become a better me, not to learn how to better imitate someone else. Maybe fighting to remain myself will be another learning experience (although I feel like I'm already doing that constantly). Who knows. Regardless, I'm thankful to have a friend in it with me.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll be glad I did Story 101. It's just the anticipation that's agonizing. Over the next few months, I'm sure I'll have some posts spawned by my assignments or the course in general. I'll also need all the encouragement and support I can get. So I wanted to mention it here.