Posted by: Corri van de Stege | June 13, 2008

Decisions decisions

I wake up early, pondering two important questions:

  • which of the 25 or so odd books that I’ve got piled up on my little coffee table in my workroom am I going to take on holiday next week? More about that tomorrow or in my Sunday Reading Salon.
  • the second one, which is longer term and which I will need to decide whilst I’m away on holiday is whether or not to register for another (advanced) writing course.

Over this last year I think I’ve made great strides and learned a lot – my submitted work has gradually improved from ‘good’ to the ‘publishable’, and of course I’m really chuffed about that.  I now am much better aware of the different points of view, the narrative voice which defines tone and attitude,  the abominable sin of trying to tell too much, rather than showing, the use of poetic language, the cursed over use of adverbs, lifewriting, and so many more.  I have got discussions by authors on my iPod to which I now regularly listen.  My last submission, which will not be returned for some three months (THREE MONTHS) is a rewritten first chapter of my novel.  I have also submitted a short story for publishing (SHIVER).

Yes, my novel has greatly suffered in all of this, really, in that I have written very few additional chapters and have realised that I need to completely rewrite most of it but have found the angle.  So there’s some hard work to do and I am taking my laptop with me on holiday to write. 

Another course, however attractive, because I enjoy learning about all this stuff and it helps greatly, will of course have the disadvantage that it’s not only enjoyable, it will also distract from the real thing.  I will have to agonise over more submissions, write to order, meet deadlines.  I will learn so much more though.

So you see, this is a decision I will have to make – to register for the advanced or not.  Any thoughts?



  1. I’d love to take a writing course, but I admit to being too timid to take that first step. Since you’ve already done that, and obviously learned heaps of good things, I’d be very tempted to go on to the next step, even though it seems that the course work might be distracting from actually proceeding with the “real work,” i.e., your novel. I can’t help but think your novel will benefit in the long run…you just have to decide whether you have the patience to wait for that. I know only too well how hard it is to fit in all the things we want to do 🙂

  2. I agree with Ravenous Reader in terms of the benefits of another course in the long run. But what do you feel inspired to do? where is your momentum now? Is it with study? or is it with writing? If you sense a writing wave coming, perhaps you should ride it. There will always be another course out there waiting to be taken.

    Have a great trip. I’m eager to see what reading you take with you.

  3. I haven’t been reading your blog long enough to know but in terms of taking an advanced course or not, seems to me you know what you’re doing, so if not taking the course gives you more time to actually write, I’d go for the writing time.

    But if the course inspires you socially, by being around other writers, well, then perhaps for that value, it’s worth it.
    Either way, enjoy your holiday and I am very curious about the more than a dozen books you have stacked up, waiting to be read. I always love to know what others are reading and to get recommendations (and any reason at all for going to the bookstore!)

  4. ravenous reader: thank you! I think I wanted to hear that: it’s the juggling of everything that makes the choice so difficult 🙂
    fiona: I’m going to see where the holiday ‘wave’ is going to take me I think, sound advice!
    oh: how nice to see you again – and thanks for helping me ponder! the bookstack will revealed tomorrow 🙂

    I’ll let you know my decision when I get back xx

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