Yesterday the materials for my Creative Writing course arrived. I signed up for this through the Writers Bureau. I actually started this course once before, many years ago. It could have been as many as twenty, as my children were young at the time and they are in their thirties now. If it was that long ago, it says a lot for the quality of the course that it is still going after all these years. Another writer friend of mine told me that he has done it too, a few years ago, and that he was impressed.
So, I was really excited when the package arrived and I couldn’t wait to get started. I have read modules 1 and 2 already. The main thing that resonated with me was the importance of making writing a part of your daily routine and taking time out to write every single day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or so. As the course recommends, I have started an analysis of how I spend my time each day for a week, to work out when I might be able to make time to write and what I might have to stop doing to create more time.
As well as that I have taken a few other actions as a result of reading these modules. Among other things these include:
- Identified a Bank Account for my writing income to be paid into, and set up a spreadsheet to record my writing related income and expenditure for tax purposes. I set the date that I declared myself self-employed as Sunday the 7th August – the day I made the “big decision” and signed up for the course. Further down the line when I actually start earning, I will notify HMRC and re-engage my accountant.
- I also set up a spreadsheet to keep a record of the manuscripts I have written, submitted for publication, published and been paid for (I hope this is all not just wishful thinking).
- I made a list of things I have experienced or “know” about as a source of potential writing topics.
- I undertook a short exercise on describing things using all five senses. I wrote about Miami Beach, my favourite place in Barbados.
- Signed up to the Writers Bureau Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Decided to read more widely including things I would not normally read to gain exposure to different genres and writing styles.
My first assignment has two parts. The first is a short piece on why I want to write and what I want to get from the course. The second is a short description of my observations of a visit to a specific place or event, using all five senses. My plans for this coming weekend will present me with the perfect opportunity for this exercise.
I have taken a couple of days leave today and tomorrow, before the weekend, to spend four days in an Air B&B cottage in Watlington in Oxfordshire with my partner and my best friend and her partner. The highlight of the trip will be lunch on Friday at Belmond Le Manoir Quat’ aux Saisons, to celebrate my partners 60th, and my friends 50th, birthdays. I have wanted to visit this restaurant for many years so this will be a very special day.
Every mention of Le Manoir always takes me back to the time when my daughter was taken there by a man she was dating when she was in her early twenties. I was truly appalled that she had been there before me, especially as she was a ridiculously fussy eater. There were some food groups that she would never touch and she knew nothing, at that time, about fine dining. The experience was wasted on her, and they even stayed the night in one of the rooms. The whole trip would have cost a fortune. It was nothing short of a travesty.
She knew how I would react when I found out and waited a few weeks before she told me. As she had predicted I was a bit shocked and very jealous. However, after my initial outrage we sat down and she told me all about it. I wanted every detail of what it had been like and what they had eaten and drunk. I was so proud of the fact that, despite her personal likes and dislikes, she had tried everything that was put in front of her. Looking back, I think that experience marked the start of her own journey of appreciation of cooking and good food. She still won’t eat eggs though!
So the trip to Le Manoir tomorrow will be the subject of my first creative writing assignment. I can’t wait……..in fact, I’d better start packing and getting ready for the trip now……