I started this blog with two main goals in mind: (1) to hold myself accountable to writing on a regular basis; and (2) to chronicle my journey into the writing world. As such, I would be remiss if I didn’t write about my first day of school. Yesterday, I started my “Writing the Novel: Introduction” course. And, boy, I feel like I have plunged headlong into the writing world, ready or not!
Strangely enough, I didn’t feel nervous leading up to yesterday. I have been preoccupied with a multitude of things lately – volunteer commitments at two schools (for the second year running, I have somehow ended up as class parent for both kids’ classes); various kids’ activities (hockey, ballet, swimming, the list goes on…); hosting Thanksgiving at the cottage; and planning a girls’ weekend in Florida in two weeks with my closest high school friends – just to name a few. All wonderful things that have kept my mind off of this class (I see now that this might have been intentional).
Yesterday, I started to feel a bit jittery. Of course, this was made worse by the fact that I had a dentist appointment immediately prior to the class. There is nothing like having your gums jabbed at for 30 minutes to ease your nerves! I got to the building early to make sure I knew where I was going. Upon arriving on the 11th floor, I poked my head into the designated room only to find that the classroom was the size of a closet (a walk-in closet, but still a closet) with a handful of chairs arranged in a semi-circle. Clearly this was not going to be the kind of class where I could hide at the back and remain anonymous!
As it turns out, there are only six of us in the class – an interesting assortment of people of different ages and at various stages in their writing journey. The teacher seems quite nice. She has published two fiction novels – one of which was on the New York Times bestseller list! I am quite confident that I will learn a ton from her. The class lasted two hours and I was definitely right in saying that there would be no hiding. The teacher called upon each of us regularly as we went through exercises on showing versus telling and character development. As part of our assigned homework for next week, we were asked to describe the main character(s) in our novel. Yikes! I had thought I would ease into this novel-writing thing. But clearly that is not going to happen!
Something I have come to realize about myself is that I tend to put off that one thing that most scares me. This has always been the case, whether it be at work, at school, or in life in general. As it pertains to my novel, I have been skirting around the subject for the past three months. I bought seven (yes, seven… with another three on order) books on writing which I have been dutifully reading. I signed up for this writing course. And I even started a blog. But I have been desperately avoiding zoning in on this fiction novel.
I think there is a part of me that was hoping that the “grand idea” would come to me in a J.K. Rowling-esque sort of way. For those of you who don’t know the story, J.K. (as I like to call her) has said that the idea for Harry Potter fell into her head when she was on a four-hour train ride to London. She claims that all the details bubbled up in her brain. Can you imagine? We’re not just talking any books here either… this is the best-selling book series in history!!
It is clear that this isn’t going to happen – at least, certainly not before my homework has to be turned in next Tuesday. This is going to take some good, old-fashioned work. I’m quite confident that my “grand idea” will evolve over time. For now, I’m going down the rabbit hole and we’ll see where it takes me.