Made peace with a decision today. I withdrew from the writing course I’ve been taking this summer. The decision was difficult because I’m not one to quit a class. I want the grade & I want to move forward. However, this course was becoming more of a chore than it ever should have been. The course focused on writing & critiquing the mid-section of your novel-in-progress. Over the course of the last 7 weeks I’ve steadily lost interest in the class. And with 3 weeks to go, I knew I just couldn’t go through the motions anymore.

Throughout the course, I was submitting pages just to submit pages, not because I was looking forward to the feedback from either the instructor or my fellow students. And it’s not as if any of their comments were in any way negative. They were all fine; honestly, positive. However, they did lack the depth I think I was craving. I know my work isn’t perfect, and I need people to point out the flaws so I can fix them. I think the real problem was I went into this class expecting to get the same type of workshop experience that I had with my instructor Robert from winter quarter who I loved and who just really dug into my work (actually, everyone’s work) & found those spots that I didn’t realize were good & the ones that were crap. Even better, he gave me direction on how to rectify the problem. I think I wanted the structure of his workshop. And, to be honest, I never really clicked with the current instructor & I’ve come to realize that in a writing course, that is important.

About 2 weeks ago, I found out that Robert wouldn’t be teaching the next class in the novel writing sequence (level IV), but rather the one I’d already taken with him (level II). (I’ve been in level III this summer.) To say the least, I was disappointed when I found out. But after a day or two, I decided to email him & ask whether or not he could accommodate me in the level II class. The level II class is focused on writing & workshopping the first 50-pages of your novel. I’m way past there. I was a little hesitant to ask. I don’t know why; this is the same instructor that said if I ever needed a recommendation to call him. Even though I was nervous about asking, I wasn’t surprised by his answer. He said of course he’d love to have me in class again & that we could work out something so that I could still fully participate in the class & not disrupt the flow of the other students who would be working on much earlier sections of their novels. He also told me he would be teaching level III after level II & then level IV. He outlined a plan for how I will workshop the rest of my novel with him over the course of those classes. Admittedly, my plan is to be done by the end of the year, while his plan is for me to be done next spring if I continue to work in-line with his course schedule. I still want to be done by the end of the year (YES, I’m serious. No more procrastinating! This damn thing will be done by December 31st!), but it’s nice to know that he sees us working together until I finish this. To say that I am looking forward to working with him again is an understatement. I’m thrilled that it has worked out. I don’t even mind that I’m repeating the same course for no credit.

Even though my last two writing classes have been less than everything I wanted, they have definitely helped me understand the importance of having a good mentor & working with people you respect & whose opinion you trust. And it doesn’t hurt if that person also happens to think you don’t suck!

So, now that I’ve withdrawn from my current class I have the next month to get my first 50-pages in next-to-perfect condition to give to my new class at the end of September so that they can get to know my story right off the bat. They’ll all be starting to workshop at page one. So, I have to let them read those first 50 of mine so they will know what they are working with when I start workshopping at page 50. Also, I want to make them as close to perfect because I really want to have something good to show my instructor. I want to show him that I addressed all the issues he raised the last time we worked together & I want to show that I’ve moved forward. So, a lot of work to do, but I’m looking forward to it.

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