Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Writing Classes

Are writing classes worth the time and effort? I’m on assignment 10 of the Long Ridge Writers Course and feel I can look back over the past year and say, yes, absolutely.

I’ve lived just long enough to be skeptical of anything that seems too easy. When I took the aptitude test and passed; well, I was my worst enemy. I allowed all those negative thoughts like; oh, they accept everyone, to dampen my joy. My husband tried to convince me otherwise. Then Student’s Services called and personally praised my essay. I must confess my ego took flight.

I sailed through the assignments until I hit number 8. The instructor wanted a rewrite! How could she possibly ask me for a rewrite? It’s funny, as a newbies, we want honest critiques of our work and on the other hand, we’re devastated when the person reading our work didn’t see the brilliance of our masterpiece. Even some seasoned writers have difficulties with this. I asked one instructor if she has a hard time letting an editor critique her work. She said she’s come to a place where she enjoys the challenge of working with the editor to make that piece the best it can be. This is the attitude I’m adopting, because it’s open and allows for the freedom of learning.

I took this course because writing is what I love. A year ago, I didn’t have a clue what show, don’t tell meant. I didn’t understand the art of writing tight. I’m still not a master, but at least now, I have a glimpse what the editors are looking for. I’ve had my share of bruising and my skin has thickening. I’m submitting more work so now the rejections will start and I’m glad I’ve had a few knocks to prepare for them.

Put your work out there for critiques and open your mind to accept them as a helpful tool. Story Crafters has many places for you to get this experience. Speck recently did a workshop on the art of critiquing, copy and print it out. When you get your manuscript back that has a line-by-line critique, full of marks, read through it quickly. Then put it away for a few days and let it simmer, pull it out and start the real work of writing… the rewrite. Story Crafters has every level of writer, there are bound to be critiques you agree with, and some you don’t. It’s the experience you owe yourself and your writing.

After a year of classes and hanging out at Story Crafters, I fully appreciate the idea of giving to other writers. Let’s help each other reach our goals. Pass it on. Study hard, good writing doesn’t just happen, it’s work and it’s a life long journey. Enjoy.

Laura A. Bethuy

Posted by Speck to get her started. Welcome to the StoryCrafters blog team:--)


madhatter said...

I look forward to and dread the edited manuscript when it comes in the mail. It is so hard to get past having my little feelings hurt. Once I get over emoting,I can look at it from a more professional angle and make the changes. Know what? The editor is right nine times out of ten. Imagine.
Must be improving. Now, the red ink isn't quite so prevalent.

Cheryl said...

Great first post Lori. It sure is a bummer when you send one of your babies off and all you receive is a note telling you, "Thanks, but no thanks." And just as difficult is receiving a critique which you think is less than fair. But as you said, if you put it away for a few days you can look at those suggested changes with a more objective eye.

Being a student at LR was a great experience for me. My instructor didn't always tell me my work was fabulous - like one of my friends might. She gave me useful ways to improve my articles and make them publication ready. Now, I just have to get off my duff and submit some of them.


Jean said...

I've found the editor to be right most of the time too. Naturally I sulked a bit but when I took the time to look at everything calmly and not so emotional, the changes made the work better.

Get busy and send those out or I'll have to get my boot out.