I went to my writing class last night - and I'm really pleased I went. It was surprisingly tough but really quite inspirational, memoir writing taught by a Malwaian poet and author called Jack Mpanjie. I forgot what studying is like - I have done quite a bit in my time: my degree in English Literature, my Masters in American Literature and my teaching qualifications as well as a couple of other post-graduate courses - but I haven't done any for 5 years, and I think it showed. Along with working on our own writing, we have a reading list of other people's memoirs to read and discuss - and the first one has to be read by next Thursday. The others in the class are older and don't have small children - I really don't want to use the kids as an excuse but it is going to be difficult to manage everything. I'm determined to manage though if I can. How I fondly remember my student days when I could read all day if I liked - and spend all evening in the pub if I liked too!! But it was great to be back in a university environment even if I'm only there as a 'pretend' student for a short time. The other great thing was that I left the kids at 4.30 before their tea and got back after they were in bed - the break from the usual evening routine was lovely in itself.
We were discussing the importance of 'the reader' when writing a memoir. The sense that writing a memoir is often a confessional - and it made me consider aspects of writing a blog which are quite unique really to the form it takes. Obviously the reader is very important to someone who blogs - in that way it is very different from writing a diary for example. One is very aware of who might be reading the blog, and as one collects followers and builds up a picture of who they are from their blogs and comments, I think this can have both a positive and negative impact on the writing. Blogs are confessional, but I know that at times I've had to struggle to keep my blog true to what I want to write, rather than write what I think my readers might expect or approve of, or to write more in the style of 'successful' others. And despite my best efforts I do always look to see if I have new followers and I do sometimes wonder why mine seem stuck at 18 while others have literally hundreds of followers. And that can be dispiriting. I guess one of the most positive aspects of blogging is the very strong sense of the reader but that is also one of the most negative aspects of blogging too.
Anyhow - I've got some ideas for my writing and I'm excited to see where they'll take me. If I can be strict with myself and take time to actually sit down and regularly write, maybe for the first time I might get somewhere.
Finally on a different note - it's Ed's birthday party tomorrow.... In our house.... with party games.... and a party tea..... Aaaargh!! I've bravely - or crazily - told the parents to leave their children so it's just my husband and I fielding and entertaining!! I may be a shadow of my former self by tomorrow evening - another pizza and wine and X-Factor evening beckons I think, even though I've actually decided I hate X-Factor and am deeply bored by it. I can never resist the ridiculous temptation - it's kind of comforting, I think.
Advent, day eleven...
17 hours ago