At what point does a fuzzy reflection turn into a defined ambition?
Around this time a year ago, I started my first creative writing course at City University. The poster I saw every day walking up Barbican station to my job in the London finance world, had gradually burnt itself into my mind until one not so busy day, I browsed and search, eventually finding myself drawn to “Creative Writing.”
From the deepest dark caves of my memory, a childhood self (a little girl always thought to be a boy by others) beckoned me, pushing me to remember the first answer I ever gave to the question “What do you want to become when you grow up?” A writer.
Despite this ambition long forgotten, graduating in mathematics I scratched the larger field of writing once becoming a financial news correspondent in Tokyo for a a large US newswire, and left quickly ticking an imaginary box of accomplishment. But what if the dream could be revisited, not just lightly brushed but fully soaked?
And so, in January 2013, I found myself attending “An Approach to Creative Writing,” a handholding Kindergarten-like experience of the subject of writing gently told by an ever so patient and not too expectant Caroline Natzler. Not life-changing though mind-stimulating enough, after the 10 weeks experience, I joined yet another course, Katy Darby‘s “Novel Writing and Longer Works.” This course, just as the previous one, had no entry requirements and one of the more practical aspects for signing up was that it ran at the same time as the first course, making it easier to coordinate with my work colleagues. If the first was the Kindergarten version, this certainly had more of an A level feel to it, Katy Darby setting clear targets on what had to be produced: a 500 words synopsis to a novel idea and an up to 5000 words first chapter. It was a steep learning curve but at the end of the course, I found myself with exactly those two pieces, encouraged by the feedback and constructive criticism from my fellow students, workshopping writing for the first time. (for more detail, see my older comment on these courses here)
Creative writing was gaining a new shape from a capricious evening activity in an attempt to wind down from work to a more defined hobby I wanted to share with the world. A very raw first chapter and an idea in hand, I applied and was accepted to the “UEA/Guardian Masterclass: How to complete a first draft of a novel.” Although just a number, the larger financial burden was a big step towards a committed relationship with writing.
With the course starting in September, I have since, apart from working on my novel, attempted to increase my writing output in any sort of form. “Just write!” was all I demanded from myself at first, creating a Twitter alter ego linking myself to all forms of writing related personalities and working on resurrecting my own blog from its comatose state, documenting my life in London.
Several months down the line and an entire year of writing to look back to, I’ve decided to step up my commitment another notch by creating yet another blog, this time dedicated to creative writing only. Why did it take me this long? (Or is it really that long?) It was the fear of the result possibly being an empty blog with nothing to say. Still, the ambition and commitment have triumphed and I’ll take the challenge to fill these virtual pages with something creative and meaningful.
So I thank all of you in advance, who are here to share this experience with me. x