Saturday, September 8, 2012

Building Pyramids out of Writer's Blocks

Yeah, baby. Don't call me unconstructive. (Photo: ScienceDaily)
My creative life is on life support. First there was book launching for The Beresfords, with all the partying, hustling, and pleading for attention that entailed. Then came summer. Then came a random chat by the swimming pool that gave me a new book idea--never mind that I was on Chapter 8 of my WIP. I threw aside the latter to spit out two chapters of the former. And then came vacation. And then came the back-to-school rush.

All of which is to say, I don't think I've done a lick of creative writing (blogging notwithstanding) for several weeks. Every writer will tell you this is bad for you. That writing, like working out, requires very frequent stints at the keyboard/gym. That, if you take time off, your brain and creative muscle quickly morph into jiggly, flabby decrepitude. You won't know a verb from a Valentine, or a plot arc from a pickaxe. We shall see.

But I haven't been wasting my time by any means. I was helping a couple lovely new authors with their books and discovering it was great fun. Another woman asked me if I ever thought of teaching Creative Writing. I hadn't. It'd been years since I was in a classroom, teaching (cough) "Writing and Critical Thinking," but the idea of teaching again stuck in my brain, wedged behind my stalled book projects.

Of course, who has time for a classroom anymore? Physical classrooms involve logistics and commutes and time-frames, and so many writers nowadays seem to be working on books in the margins of their lives. That's when the brainstorm hit me: how about a writing class aimed at just these, I-love-it-but-I-get-to-it-when-I-get-to-it kinds of writers? An online course aimed at polishing your writing and getting it publication-ready? A class that helps other writers realize their creative dreams?

That's where I'm at. I've lined up a few guinea pigs to take the course I'm developing. I'm working on the website and the private blog, and I'll keep you posted! If you or a friend have a manuscript in the drawer, yellowing with age, it may be time to revisit it. Because there are few things more satisfying than pursuing your creative side and turning dreams into realities.

And now, we interrupt this inspirational message for a completely unrelated aside:


I've been reading a fascinating, true-story, computer-hacking thriller set in Berkeley, California, just a couple years before I was there myself. Funny how it's so dated--almost historical fiction, with its "modems" and explanations of what the Internet is and talk about how some of the newest telephones will tell you who is calling when the phone rings. But it's a great story, and in it I found this exchange featuring an expression which really needs to be revived. I quote:

"It's the luck of the draw. Sometimes you get the elevator..."

"...and sometimes you get the shaft."

Ain't that the truth.

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