I’ll warn you now, this is not a blog about my love for the sweet dessert. It is all about a writing class.
Last night I attended what purported to be a creative writing workshop. I had visions of writing exercises, discussions and a general feeling of togetherness with other writers. That didn’t happen.
During the break we had a choice of chocolate cake (why did I not touch this?) and sourdough ginger cake. Before I go further I’d like to say this, get between me and cake and you’re likely to be trampled underfoot. If I turn down cake I’m either ill or dead (well, not quite like that but you get the idea). Now I was promised the rest of the cake at the end of the evening which would have been a great result, yet I left before collecting it.
Why did I leave free cake? Because it was the one highlight in an otherwise bad evening.
As writers, I feel we bring our own unique individuality to the art of writing. Life is a highly personal experience and because of this we have a rich literary history. Humanity has been very fortunate that storytellers have existed for so long. I’m not going to give you an exhaustive list as such things are subjective. We each have our own favourites which we love and cherish.
Last night’s speaker (will remain nameless) had ideas that were different from the norm. Not content to follow their publisher’s advice they went their own way. I’m sure we’ve heard of various authors trying different publishers in order to get their story into print. As the author you have to believe in the story. You need a large amount of stubbornness to get it off the ground.
But what if it stinks? What if it is a load of rubbish? Then the stubbornness becomes an issue. Instead of listening, you are ignoring good advice. Before you know it, you’ve given up your day job in pursuit of something unobtainable.
After reading an extract from his book I had to wait for an explanation for it to make sense. In the first sentence alone, several assumptions must be made. Without them the story becomes confusing. Even with them its was still hard to follow.
After an hour of standing on his soapbox lambasting the publishing world along with reading his material, we had a reprieve. I know I took the opportunity with both hands and I could see many felt the same.
The call to return filled me with dread. Was the second half going to be as bad as the first? Were we finally going to get a chance take part in exercises, stretching our literary muscles? Short answer, no.
Long answer, the speaker felt we did not had enough time to do any exercises. The second half then was basically a repeat of the first. More lambasting, more talk of his book, more confusion.
There came a point where I decided as soon as it was over, I was going to leave. Sure there was delicious cake luring me but it wasn’t strong enough to hold me back. Willingly staying longer in his presence was not on the cards.
So what did I get from the evening? I hope that my love for writing never develops into the negative attitude I experienced last night. I also hope I am never too stubborn to take a hint. In essence then, I hope I will become a better writer than he is, one that is able to listen to constructive criticism and take note.
Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com