For the next ten days, I will list a new tip for finding a writing class.
For many, the solitary writing experience can be quite a burden to bear. Scratching away in journals, filling empty pages on a laptop, and plotting innumerable narratives is great fun, but there can be a sinking feeling that all this work is ‘going nowhere’. This is when many turn to the creative writing class for support and guidance.
I cannot praise a good writing class enough. When the right group of people gets together at the right time, it can be a life changing experience. For me, this is one of the reasons I teach; the on-going group interaction in a field that is often incredibly lonely. Also, I don’t just rely on teaching to find this sort of interaction. I’m a member of a writing group, and this group experience is essential to my growth as a writer.
However, the opposite is also true. When a writing group goes bad, or a class doesn’t live up to your expectations, it can be detrimental; often causing the already insecure writer to abandon a life-long dream of becoming a novelist (or poet, or playwright, or screenwriter).
So how do you know if a writing class is for you? Well, you lucky devil, I’m here to give that information.
Of course, these are simply my ideas. If anyone has any further suggestions, please feel free to post a comment. As is the case with in creative writing classes, “the more ideas the merrier.”
Number One: Be Realistic
Let’s say that you find a spectacular writing class. It’s at a coffee shop that serves the best soy lattes, everyone raves about the teacher, and they even arrange for guest authors to speak from time to time. However, it’s on a Tuesday night sandwiched between your son’s piano lesson, your daughter’s karate, and it’s a thirty minute drive from home. If you took the class you’d have to arrive late, leave early, and your family wouldn’t get their dinner until ten o’clock.
Many students over extend themselves, finding they cannot enjoy a class because they’re preoccupied with other commitments, or too stressed about ‘what’s next on the schedule’ to relax.
This is when you must be realistic. If the class is in a time, at a location, or for a price that is unrealistic, then you’re better off not taking the class. Instead, perhaps, you should look for another class or commit to a less structured writing group in which you’ll feel more comfortable dropping in and out of.
Tip Number Two: Stop Making Excuses
Tip Number Three: Research
Tip Number Four: Know What You Want
Tip Number Five: Help from Friends
Tip Number Six: Ask for References
Tip Number Seven: Pay What You Can Afford
Tip Number Eight: Don’t Change the Class
Tip Number Nine: Tradtional or Online Learning?
Tip Number Ten: Keep and Open Mind