Monday, May 30, 2011

Finding Your Inspiration – Take a Writing Course

You’ve heard me brag before about my writing group, that awesome bunch of women who bear reading my work month after month with no complaints and much encouragement. How did I first get together with such a great group of writers?

I enrolled in a writing course.

Yes, it was as simple as that. A few minutes online. A few hundred bucks (ouch!). A little preparation in terms of sending my writing to the course coordinator in advance of the actual course starting and then showing up on the day of the first class (albeit, as a relatively new subway rider, I was a few minutes late).

Why did I take the course in the first place? For one thing, it fit into my schedule. I was in between jobs and I slotted the course into my first “free” week. For another, I was at loose ends as far as my writing was concerned (some would say, my career too, but that all turned out very well). I had written a lot of manuscripts and I didn’t know what to do with or even if I should continue on in that genre. The key was: I didn’t know much. I still don’t, but that’s another story.

The course I chose to take was a week-long intensive course offered at a local university. The students came from across the country but many were from the city (and some ended up forming my writing group, yay!). We were all working on different types of novels: from romance to historicals to mysteries. But what we all had in a common was a love of writing and a common courtesy towards others. Although much of our class time was spent critiquing each others’ works, we stayed polite, professional and constructive in our remarks. We praised each other but we also took issue with each other. Courteously, of course.

What were the results of this class, aside from the obvious reward of giving rise to my writing group?

At the time of this course, I was 70 pages into my manuscript, 30 of which I had presented in class as a stand-alone short story. Three months later, working more or less full-time on my book, I had completed it. It was a fantastic feeling. Even though I later spent months editing and polishing my manuscript, and have searched in vain for more than a year for a literary agent, I still credit the completion of that book to the writing class I took a few years ago.

Try taking a course yourself. I promise that you will find your own source of inspiration.

Photo courtesy of nuttakit at

No comments:

Post a Comment