I finished my first writing class Writing 101 at the Lighthouse in Denver. One of my goals, or resolutions for 2014, was to improve my writing skills. While several of my other resolutions are stalled right now, this one has moved forward.
What did I learn in this four week class?
- Relax and let it flow– Don’t worry about punctuation or spelling, just write. Exercises with writing prompts and time limits forced me to put something down on the paper. I’d get started and somehow, finishing the first rough section would lead on into other thoughts.
- There is and should be more than one style- As our class shared writings, I found they were so different. The same prompt ended up in so many different places…and each one was amazing in its own way.
- Not every story deserves to be in the light- Some stories, or what I would consider to be my ramblings, will never be shared. I’m still glad I put them down on paper and someday, parts of them may evolve into future stories.
- Write it by hand- I’m not sure what it was about writing in a journal, but the flow of my writing improved when I got rid of the keypad. Our instructor and the majority of students agreed that it made a big difference.
- Most importantly, I can do it- As many of you know, I was afraid of taking this class. I needed to overcome my lack of confidence to even show up. Let’s face it, some of my writing sucks, but there are fun glimpses of hope for future success.
So what’s next?
The other students and I are starting a writer’s group. Not everyone is participating, but I’m excited to be challenged by those who are. The first meeting is tomorrow night at a local coffee shop. That’s a logical place for this part of the journey.
I signed up for my second round, Four Week Craft Series: Plotting the Plotted Plot, starting this Thursday. While there are other classes that might have been the next logical step, they didn’t quite fit my schedule. I received an email from the instructor a few days ago letting us know we would be working on one of our stories. I looked back at my writings from the first class and found one that might work. That’s a relief.
A writing challenge:
The writing prompts in class were really helpful to leading me in new directions. So here’s a suggested prompt for those of you interested in giving it a shot. Remember, no perfection allowed.
Look around the room and find a newspaper, magazine or other written material with pictures. Go to page 23, or the next page with photographs. Select one and write a story about it. Don’t think about it. Just set your clock or cell phone timer to seven minutes and write.
Only seven minutes of your time could be the start of something big.