Sunday, 6 March 2016

First Aid and First Goals - A New Writing Course

A Funny Old Week
Well, this has been a funny old week, as we say in London. I'm determined to get creative.  I'd like to take a class but at present, time and finances forbid. So I get a course in a book.


Beehives in the Park

The Course comes as a big fat tome and a download for my Kindle. I lap it up on the London Underground, in the park with the bees humming around the hives, in the cafe under London Bridge Station (a bit similar to working whilst bricked up in an Egyptian mummy's tomb). I'm a great believer in taking classes no matter how experienced you are - in the same way I still take yoga classes after decades of practice, I trust I'll never be too proud to take a writing class.

When I'm not making jottings I'm busy stretching every nerve, brain cell and joint to pass my First Aid Certificate. In one sense, taking a course from a book isn't the same as going at it live. With an instructor from the St John Ambulance shouting,'two rescue breaths, thirty pumps on the heart', I make very fast progress on my First Aid. Still, I'm determined to make a success of my writing course too. I remind myself that in the past, writers wrote, they didn't spend hours on Facebook or have the luxury of even, necessarily, attending school so very much, never mind attending college.

Thirty Rescue Pumps
Chris Sykes' course has loads of exercises and begins, in the introduction, with asking the student to think about how and where they write. Then, tease out their reasons for wanting to write, and finally to write down three short-term and three long-term goals for their writing self this year.

I jot down a few things about myself, and note a couple of modest successes.

'Lives in the mad, bad beautiful city of London,' I begin. 'Dredges the events of the past for stories, head firmly in the now. Writes on the tube, in the park or best of all, at the zoo. Rather fond of prawns. And ginger nuts. Winner of Coast to Coast Writing Competition ('I Remember Very Well'); Winner of Writer's Village Flash Fiction Competition ('Past Times'). Articles published in Prediction Magazine, Astrology Now, Aquarist & Pondkeeper; titbits read out on BBC Radio 2 by Zoe Ball, and by Anneka Rice.



Writes at the Zoo
Now for some goals to give my course bite:

Three short-term goals:

1. To champ away on my blog and Facebook page weekly for the next three months (5 June 2016)
2. To finish my W.I.P. 'Face The Champion' by 5 September 2016
3. To have completed a basic outline for 'Keep Them Safe' by 5 September 2016

Three long-term goals:

1. To submit 'Face The Champion' to every possible publishing opportunity by 5 March 2017
2. To have my website functional by 5 December 2016
3. To save for and attend the Historical Novel Society's conference in September 2016.


Rather Fond of Gingernuts

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. 
E L Doctorow 1931-2015