I wasn’t pleased with my performance at the writing workshop last night. I wrote a good piece, and read it well, and it got some chuckles, but at least two others’ pieces were much funnier. They were wonderful; I laughed out loud several times during both! Since the subject was humor, and I thought mine was one of the funniest things I’ve ever written, it caused me to fret over my ability to convey funny situations in writing. I know I make people laugh in person; I want to be able to make them laugh in print.
To me, writing is art, and my particular hand at the craft is a good one; I know this. I am ever striving to be better, and I don’t seek empty flattery in order to buoy my ego. Workshops are important to me because I have a barometer of how well I am doing. The piece I wrote is hilarious to me, but I now understand that it’s not to other people. That doesn’t make it a bad piece, but I only have one contribution to make in this particular workshop on the subject of humor, and I wanted it to be a stellar one. Consistently challenging myself to write the best I can is the only way I feel good about writing, because when I challenge myself to produce better work, it happens. I just didn’t do the best I could have with this assignment, and since I only get one shot this time around, I am disappointed. But like I told my mom, I will get over it. I just need to be crabby for a bit.
On the way to my writing workshop last night, I called my mom, hoping to sing her a song. Instead I sang it to her answering machine. I think she was tickled by that. She has such a lovely voice that I have been intimidated to sing to her, although I know she loves it when I sing. Her feedback reminded me that I must measure myself by my own standards and not others’, because there are certain things that other people will always be better at than I will. I strive to find what it is that I’m best at, and then to hone that with all that I’ve got.
Our workshop instructor said to tell everyone you’re writing a book, even if you aren’t. That way, people will ask about your book, and you’ll feel guilty enough eventually to start kicking around ideas, and then you might put some words down on paper, and once that ball is rolling, you can actually write a book. I’m not sure I believe in this sort of deceptive motivation, but I think I can honestly say I am writing a book. I started it for NaNoWriMo last year but never finished after I lost motivation because of all I was going through with Chad. I can’t say what it’s about, because it’s not well-formed yet, and I need to focus on its plot, but I think I will be focusing on it during my daily writing sessions instead of cranking out reams of half-assed poetry. My workshop instructor has already given me a lot of great feedback and she is impressed by the voice of my work, and she’s told all of us that a few people who have taken her classes have gone on to publish their first novels shortly thereafter. I want to be one of those people; I want to write a novel. I think that’s all I need to do, then: write it.
I still have no idea how grad school fits into all of this. I am driven to go, either by moving away and cranking it out full-time or by enrolling in a distance-learning program. All three of the schools I’d like to attend have distance-learning programs. I have just started to put down roots here, after four years, and I am loathe to disrupt what little stability I have embraced. Besides, I still yearn to live in the city someday. However, if I go away to school and do it full-time, it’s possible that I can knock it out in three or four terms. Plus, I would get the full college experience again, which I miss desperately.
There is so much possibility in my life that I don’t know where or how to start.