Back in March (doesn’t that feel like so long ago?), I was set to begin a class offered through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. When everything shut down, my class switched from in-person to virtual.
At the same time, we were figuring out how to best help our son with distance-learning because Los Angeles Unified schools had shut down as well. So I dropped my writing course before it began.
Since March, I have been writing. Sometimes more than others.
And since March, I’ve been published. Again, sometimes more than others. (You can check my Published Work page for a complete listing.)
But lately I have felt like something was missing.
And I realized what it was – being around other writers.
Most writing classes begin with a general introduction of who you are and why you’re there, what your goal is, what you hope to accomplish by being in that particular class. My introduction doesn’t vary a whole lot. I have a pretty consistent writing practice and know how to meet deadlines. (In case you didn’t know, I’m a regular contributor at MomsLA.com.)
I enroll in writing classes for the people. The energy that comes from surrounding yourself with other writers. Writers who are readers. Writers who read my work, and offer honest feedback, who push me with questions to go deeper and explore further. They let me know what works and what doesn’t work.
Often, there’s a mix of workshopping and writing in class; short exercises that sometimes develop into longer pieces.
In-person classes aren’t an option right now. And while virtual classes are being offered through UCLA Extension, I haven’t enrolled in any.
But I continue to write.
As an added stimulus, I have begun re-reading Kicking in the Wall: A Year of Writing Exercises, Prompts, and Quotes to Help You Break Through Your Blocks and Reach Your Writing Goals written by Barbara Abercrombie (my favorite instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program).
If you’re a writer (and as Barbara says, “Writing is a verb. A writer is one who writes”), I recommend this book. It’s gotten me writing – not an assignment for MomsLA or to answer a submissions call I learned about on duotrope.com, but writing not knowing exactly what it may lead to.
May it help you kick in your own wall.