Four weeks in and I’ve established a rhythm of sorts. Mondays are chock full of creativity. Our course runs a regular event – Creative Conversations – in the University Chapel at lunchtime. So far, I’ve listened to interviewees Leila Aboulelah, Alasdair Gray and Ron Butlin talk in depth about their writing. The sessions are open to the public and you can bring your lunch. There’s more info on upcoming writers here. This week Joanna Walsh talked about her new short story collection, Worlds from the Word’s End, as well as her Object Lesson’s volume Hotel and a beautiful digital project called Seed. You can find out more about them on Joanna’s website.
After easing myself into the week in the grandeur of the chapel, I have classes in the afternoon and evening. In the Creative Writing Workshop, it’s my turn to have my writing workshopped this week. As you’d expect it’s both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. I’ve submitted the first few chapters of the novel I’m working on. I did a lot of research and made a start on the first draft over the summer. I have an instinct that I’m finally approaching telling the story in a way that works but it’s difficult to be objective and I’m hoping I’ll get feedback from the group that’ll make me build up a head of steam with this project. Producing hundreds of words on a daily basis is bearable if you feel you’re broadly on the right track, if you feel like you’re swimming through a swamp of self-doubt before you turn on the laptop, it gets unpleasant. What I love about our workshop group is that everything I get from them is positive – not in a saccharine what-a-nice-story way – but in a pragmatic, constructive sense. It’s like taking your car to a trusted mechanic for a service and today I come out happy that, with some tweaks and considerations, my project is still roadworthy.