Yes definitely – that’s how it feels: crawling up to Christmas, ticking off the things that are done and the ones that need doing. Why do we make life so stressful for ourselves? There ought to be an easier way.
And yes, in fact, I’ve decided there is an easier way, one that does not pile up extra stress where it’s not needed. I have resigned from the course, oh yes, the OU one, and feel hugely relieved. I wondered for a while whether this course was doing any good. I mean, good in the sense that I felt I was improving on my writing. I decided it did not do that. All this course did was impose a regime on me that felt hugely uncomfortable, one that focused on assessing me on something I was not actually prepared for, or rather, did not want to engage with. Why should I? I want to write. But I want to write because I enjoy writing, not because I need to conform to a certain structure, one that asks you to fill in the dots and the structures just so (the endless, showing and telling, making people talk, laugh smiles just so….) No, I decided I’ve had it and suddenly I feel like I can write again! Isn’t that amazing?
For the last few months I have been struggling. With writing, with my blog, with reading and writing about my reading. All the time, in the back of head, there was the pressure to use my time ‘sensibly’, to do the next exercise, do it just so that it would conform to the demands of a creative writing course. I have now decided I cannot do it and don’t particularly want to do it.
So from now on, I’m simply going to enjoy the very limited spare time I have to read and write again for the sake of just that: words, sentences, imagery, the way people say things, the way they look, behave, the way they write things. And I’m going to read what I want to read and not feel pressurised. There’s too much pressure as it is.
Of course, I have not been able to square this course with my day-job: all the research and writing I have to do anyway, which has nothing to do with ‘showing’ or ‘telling’ or where the balance should be! Oh no, I write serious research reports. And then, for the sheer enjoyment of it, I want to have the space and time to indulge in my bog, my novel, my writing, and to interact with others who blog, read and write. That’s it.
So, today in the Sunday Salon? There’s lots of course, especially with Christmas coming up. On the train to and back from London last week I greatly enjoyed Patric McCabe’s Winterwood and I will spend some time writing the review – it’s quite a different approach to story telling from what I’ve been reading recently, but it was definitely worth it!
Then, of course, I’m busy trying to get my house in order, to make sure that sons, partners and granddaughter are going to have beds to sleep in, comfortable environments, presents under the Christmas tree (oh my: just wrapping the present takes ages, let alone buying them; but then, books and subscriptions are just wonderful, don’t you think?) And later on this Sunday I intend to enjoy Handel’s Messiah , I’ve bought the tickets, reserved the seats – hurray, I don’t have to edit/finalise a play that I have lost all interest in!
In the meantime? Oh well, I’m beginning to pick up (mentally) the threads of my novel agan – that is really what I want to write – not some exercise that pleases assessment criteria!
And then, there are the Sunday papers. And of course, there’s Oh’s challenge to me to compose my list of favourites for 2008. Yes I’ll take that up – so will be working on that as well! Promise!
Have you ever felt so hugely relieved when you’ve decided to give up on someting?