Submitted

What next sign, ruth livingstoneMy final Open University assignment is submitted. Marking awaited. And no, somewhat to my own surprise, I did not leave it up to the last-minute, but submitted with 24 hours to spare.

Feel a bit lost now. What next?

I’m doing a 3 day course in ‘Short Story Writing’ at Knuston Hall in September. That’s next.

In October, I start at Birkbeck. Four years of part-time study, leading to a B.A. degree in Creative Writing. Can’t wait!

Putting it off…

pencils on padFinal part of the final assessment for my Open University course (A174 Start Writing Fiction) is due in at the end of this week. Friday lunchtime, to be exact.

I am trying to avoid tinkering right up to the deadline.

But I can’t bring myself to submit it. Maybe I will miss that one typo? Or maybe I have misread the instructions and there is some vital ingredient I have omitted? Or maybe it is complete rubbish and I have time to start again, if I need to?

Or maybe I just don’t want to say ‘goodbye’ to the course? It has been good fun and the 3 months have flown by.

Morning distractions

Photo of pink spotted notepad, notes on writing - Ruth LivingstoneThe pile of notebooks holds the delicious promise of empty pages – waiting to be filled. Pink with white spots – this is the notebook that catches my eye. ‘Open me!’ it shouts, joyfully. ‘Open me and write.’

But wait. What else must I do before I begin? I write a ‘to do’ list. Number one, top of the list, must be my latest Open University assignment. Be quiet, pink notebook with white spots. Wait your turn. I will get to you soon.

The Art of Procrastination …

After six hours, you might expect the story to be magnificent, the best thing ever written! Sadly. No. It’s not bad. But it’s not particularly good either. Not six hours worth of ‘good’.

Open University work and notebook.Yesterday, I spent a considerable length of time finishing off my latest Open University assignment. It took around 6 hours, from start to finish.

What was this mammoth task?
A simple 250 word story.

After six hours, you might expect the story to be magnificent, the best thing ever written! Sadly. No. It’s not bad. But it’s not particularly good either. Not six hours worth of ‘good’.

Here is a list of things I did between starting the story and finishing it:
1. I checked Facebook to see what my kids have been up to.
2. I played a few games of Zuma Blitz. (OK, to be honest, I played till I ran out of lives.)
3. I checked Twitter. Maybe I was missing something exciting happening in the world.
4. I checked my email account because, it is just possible, somebody had sent me something of vital importance in the half hour since I last checked it.
5. I visited my blogs (and I have three, so that took me some time) to check the stats and see if anybody had left any comments.
6. I remembered a recent article in E-Health Insider about a service I am responsible for and decided to spend some time replying to it. This required some research on my part to assemble the data I needed.
7. I saw a paper on my desk with a deadline of two weeks to respond and decided to respond straight away.

By this time, I was hungry and required lunch, coffee and a catch-up with Neighbours on the tele.

Finally, before the end of the afternoon, I managed to finish the story.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have just remembered I have some urgent ironing to do ….

Yippee – I have been accepted

“Why don’t you just write? You don’t need to do a course. Just write.”
I can write on my own; and I do. But how can I know what is good and bad. I am too close to the process

Photo of child doing some creative writingFollowing my disappointment with Nottingham University, I reappraised my options.

Had I set my sights too high applying for an MA in creative writing? Yes, almost certainly.

My husband said, “Why don’t you just write? You don’t need to do a course. Just write.”

But I feel that I do need a course. And I tried to explain to him why.

  • I need guidance. I can write on my own; and I do. But how can I know what is good and bad. I am too close to the process.
  • I need structure. Too often this happens; I sit down to write and get distracted – check Twitter and follow-up a few tweets, check my emails, look at my blogs, look at other people’s blogs, get onto Facebook, play Zuma Blitz …. You get the picture?
  • I want someone else to read my work with a critical eye and offer advice and suggestions. I want an audience.

So, what did I do since my last rejection?

  1. I applied to do a 12 week Creative Writing module (Start writing fiction) at the Open University
  2. I registered for a couple of days ‘Writing Great Short Stories’ course at Knuston Hall
  3. I applied to Birkbeck University, part of the University of London, for a place on their BA in creative writing

My interview at Birkbeck took place last Monday. I had 15 minutes to persuade two very young lecturers that I was a suitable candidate. They sent me an email on Wednesday, informing me I had been accepted. Yippee. Can’t wait!