Do you want to be a better writer?

Have you ever signed up to something and later regretted it? Have you a dream but keep making excuses not to pursue it?

Since I began this blog eighteen months ago I have discovered just how much I enjoy writing. I have written about all sorts of everything, stories from my past, moments from my day, thoughts that were buzzing around my head. However at times I have wondered. Was I a blogger or a writer? Was there a difference? small__5188097200

In recent times I’ve had a niggling thought, as annoying as a tickly cough. There was no getting rid of it. I wanted to learn about writing. Or did I? Because in truth, as soon as I had that one thought, I quickly replaced it with every reason I could think of for not pursuing it.

Last week I received an email from Fish publishing advertising online writing courses. Oh my goodness, maybe fate was intervening? I opened the link and became immersed in ‘maybe’. Looking through the link I particularly liked the idea of short story writing, which had been the foremost niggle in my head over the past few months. However as I began to read more, I decided it was not for me and I quickly ‘X’ed my way off the site.

Twenty four hours later I couldn’t help myself opening the link once more. Once again I allowed myself to imagine being a part of that course. Learning, reading, writing, being challenged. I began to feel a bit braver. Why not? So what if it was too high brow for me, surely I’d learn something? Then I imagined how I’d feel if in fact it was full, or if I was too late applying. Would I be disappointed? Yes, I definitely would. So without any further hesitation I clicked ‘enrollment/fees’ and with a couple more clicks I’d spent quite a bit of money and I was in.

I sat back and felt a wash of satisfaction sweep over me. I was delighted. At last I was doing something, not wondering or doubting myself. I could do this. I would make the time. In no time at all I had built up my own confidence to such a level that I even told a couple of my children what I had done. One was full of praise, the other, who is studying in school and is not overly partial to English, looked at me in pity and said, ‘What would you ever want to do that for?’ I smiled, my confidence not dented in any way, then she added, ‘You freak’. Don’t you just love children?

Before I had time to defend myself an email arrived. My ‘teacher’ was getting in touch. I nearly burst. This was real. I quickly opened the email and read it’s contents. Within minutes all confidence had died. Deflated I thought to myself, ‘Sweet Jesus, what was I thinking?’. It is nearly thirty years since I sat an English exam. There’s no fool like an old fool. I looked at the suggested reading list, it was long. I looked at the first module and I felt out of my depth. I couldn’t even figure out what exactly the assignment was, surely that was a very bad start? My ‘teacher’ had stated to be sure and drop a line if I have any queries. Asking her what my first assignment was, was definitely not going to be a good start. So, you may ask, what did I do?

I quickly ‘X’ed out of the email, took a deep breath and poured myself a glass of wine.small__7658051014

After a short while I was once more drawn to my laptop. I opened the email and read, re read, and yes read again, the email I’d received. Maybe it was the wine, but now I could understand it better. I was getting a bit excited about it all. Yes I could do this, and yes I would enjoy it.

Now a few days later I have managed to train myself to feel those positive thoughts, without the wine. I have, you guessed it, re read my assignment a few more times. I have downloaded a couple of books from the suggested reading list and I’ve read what I have for ‘homework’. I’ve not actually written anything yet, but I’m further along than I was this day last week.

So I will keep you all posted. I have no idea how to even present my ‘homework’. There are words I have had to google, and I’ve to learn about ‘pacing’, which I assume is not what I teach my competitive swimmers! God help my poor ‘teacher’. I can only imagine her reaction to my first attempt, but we all must start somewhere, and I am hoping against hope that she is a long time in this game and therefore has come across worse.

Yes it seemed a good idea at the time. Now I’ve blogged about it, not to mention paid for it, there is no going back.

Help me, I’m very thirsty all of a sudden. Where’s my wine?

photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via

14 thoughts on “Do you want to be a better writer?

  1. Good for you! Been there, done that! I like to write, but like to sew more! LOL It seems pretty common that many bloggers are aspiring writers…I was an aspiring writer before I was a blogger! 🙂 For that it’s worth…I commend you for your courage. As ksbeth said – “just jump in” – I think you will be glad you did.

  2. Best of luck with it. If it was a doddle it wouldn’t be worth doing and I think it’s a great way to expand and explore writing. I did a year long Creative Writing Course with the Open University and came to love it, but oddly enough the parts I had dreaded most.

  3. I remember how I felt when I signed up and paid for my first online course. It wasn’t writing . . . it was worse – Accounting! The homework took forever, but the text books and workbook came in the mail after I had registered. I didn’t have a teacher. A few years later, I took a Web Design online class from UW Milwaukee. I had a teacher. I had classmates who commented on the assignments. When I finished that course, I took the second class. I passed both with a B+. My advice? Ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question, and you will find that you learn more. 🙂

  4. Go for it – I started an online writing course once but only got to lesson 3! I then decided I only had my own style or maybe it was time got in the way.
    I’m intrigued to know what books are on your reading list. I ‘ve read On Writing by Stephen King and Part time Writer by Marjorie Quarton and found both to be v good. Good luck and look forward to hearing how you get on

    1. Thanks Lorna it’s a short story online course so there are a lot of short story books to be read, as well as the stories we actually cover.
      I’ve begun my first assignment and I am loving it. To be able to sit down and read and challenge myself to understand what I am being asked is fantastic. It has already forced me to look deeper into the stories and learn to ask questions such as why do I like it or not and how is it written.
      I do think it is a little out of my league but hope I can rise to it. My main purpose is to educate myself not necessarily to change who I am, or my style of writing.
      I really hope I stick it out. I am supposed to have it finished in five months. Time will tell! When I’ve got through some of this reading I’d love to check out those books. I’d heard about Stephen Kings before in glowing terms.
      It’s also great to be able to lie to the kids by saying, ‘Sorry lads I’m trying to do my English writing’, when in truth I’m on facebook or my blog! 🙂

  5. dear Tric,

    I am so glad you are feeling happy and enjoying your first assignment! in these “do I do it?, or not?” times I think it helps to ask ourselves, “what’s the worst that can happen?”. well, of course no one wants to have shelled out big bucks and then lose it. but aside from that ,i think you are in a good place with stating you want to educate yourself primarily and not change who you are or your style of writing. sounds like you are off to an excellent start and I wish you joy and fulfillment in this lovely phase of exploration and possibilities.

    much love and a wine toast to you,

    Karen xoxo

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