People often ask me how I first got started on my writing. Well, the truth is, I have always loved reading and writing. There was no particular starting point.
If I had to pinpoint a time, I suppose it was when I saw an advertisement for a creative writing course in my local town.
I jumped at the chance and couldn’t wait for the evening of the first class. The excitement! The joy! The anticipation!
I remember walking into the building and looking for directions to the room. I could feel fluttering in my stomach but I was still excited.
I walked up the stairs and there, in front of me, was the door.
As I reached for the handle, the first doubts began to creep into my mind. What was I doing here? I was no writer! Yes, I loved to put my thoughts down on paper but that was a far cry from being a writer!
I took a deep breath and opened the door.
Ellen, the tutor greeted me enthusiastically and before I knew it, I was sitting among the other students waiting to find out what it was all about.
To my delight, a neighbour of mine came into the room to join the class. At least I knew someone!
By the end of that first class I had already learned some valuable lessons.
Ellen brushed aside my insecurities and made me feel that, yes! I could do this!
As I listened to the first assignment, I suddenly realised that I knew exactly what I wanted to write and I couldn’t wait to get home and begin.
Within a few short weeks, we had become a team, sharing thoughts and ideas while being guided by Ellen’s expertise.
I grew to love hearing her read our assignments and the constructive advice that followed.
That class taught me to discipline myself. To sit and write. To just do it no matter how little time I thought I had. To enjoy it and look to forward to it.
Every week I turned in a new assignment – short stories – and every week I left with a better grasp of how to craft them.
Towards the end of the course, we held a public reading of our works which included a wonderful short play written by one of the students. Carol has since gone on to be a regular contributor to local newspapers and her pieces are well-written and fresh – a joy to read.
I also made a wonderful friend – Ruth, my neighbour. All these years later and I still remember her wonderfully quirky sense of humour which came through so clearly in her writing.
She has a passion for animals and rescued cats ad kittens long before people were aware of the problem. Her calm gentleness and quick laugh are some of the things that still inspire me whenever I sit down to write.
Most of us were in class simply for the love of writing but a few of us have taken it a step further.
Wherever it has led, I still think of that creative writing class as the time in my life when I realised that to succeed, you first have to try.