For those playing along at home, you may be wondering, how’s the writing course, Karen?
The writing is continuing, but I’ve taken this semester off. I want to clarify, I’m not giving up. I’m the world’s most annoying person at finishing what they started (see my crap craft efforts for further evidence of this).
At the start of the year when I couldn’t decide whether to study or try freelance writing, I felt studying was safer; a gradual, guided entry into the writing industry. And it is.
But the more I immersed myself in the readings (swoon!) and the assignments and the student culture, the more I just wanted to get on with the work of writing. Generating ideas and putting them to paper to me is a joy, even when it’s all turning to shit. I like the challenge of hammering out ideas and arguments and sentences until they’re all singing the same song. My greatest struggle has always been backing myself and putting myself out there, so this is what I’m working on now. This is what needs to happen next, and it wasn’t happening in the company of 40 other writing hopefuls.
Before I made my decision, I did attend the first class of semester. One of the teachers – a picture book author and illustrator – told us about her own writing journey. She studied film at university, then upon completing her BA she joined the circus to become a trapeze artist. In her 30s she left the circus to have a baby, then did a short course in illustration at the Centre for Adult Education. The work she completed during and after that course enabled her to land a mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors. The rest is beautiful picture book history.
I don’t know what my journey looks like, because even after several years of writing regularly and honing my craft, I’m still here at the start. Lord knows, I’ve looked all over the internet, read dozens of books, blogs, websites, short stories, memoirs, trying to figure out the best way to make this writing gig happen. After years of researching, I realise it’s all here in my fingers and my eyes and my head and my heart. If I want it to happen, I need to make it happen by banking on myself and putting myself into that uncomfortable place of admitting that I want this badly. I write. I can write. Enough people have told me so now, so I’m starting to believe that perhaps I already have everything I need for that journey to begin, if only I could take those training wheels off. And the floaties. And the knee pads. And the HAZMAT suit. For the creative journey is all about leaving the safety of your comfort zone and stepping into the fray.
Despite the small matter of quitting her class, I like to think I’m taking a leaf out of my writing teacher’s book and seeing what happens when I sign up for the circus. Attempting to establish yourself as a writer is an arduous and long journey, with little reward, full of leaps of faith and crushing defeats, but with success ultimately depending on you trusting in yourself and your intuition. Right now, I’m leaping.
Catch me lord, catch me.