I am taking a creative writing class this semester. It was supposed to inspire me, to make me want to write every day, to encourage me to really dig in to that novel I’ve been planning for two years.
I am not enjoying it.
My teacher is nice enough, although the phrase “overwhelmed with extra assignments that were not on the syllabus” comes to mind every time I think of her. My classmates are great, and we’ve had some excellent discussions about writing.
I am NOT enjoying it.
The problem is simple. I feel stifled. I feel limited. I feel like I can’t write what I want, but that I have to write what my teacher wants to hear. I have to write what it takes to make the grade.
I AM NOT enjoying it.
If I were honest with my teacher, and told her that I feel this way, she would reassure me that I needed to write what I enjoy, because I am at the place in my life where I know what kind of writer I am, and that is what I should write. But I feel like I am not free to write the stories and characters that I truly want to create.
For instance, I want to write time travel. I love time travel stories. I want to write stories about different types of time travel. Maybe one story uses a time machine of some sort, maybe the other is just an open portal in a random location. I want to write stories about fantastical places that only exist in my imagination. Stories that happen on other planets, or in a different dimension.
My first story of the semester was a time travel story. And my teacher tried to get me to take the time travel aspect out of it. That doesn’t exactly sound like someone who wants me to write the kind of stories I want to write, does it?
So, for my second story, I wrote something realistic, based on a story that happened to my grandmother when she was a child. And, honestly, I hate it. I love my grandmother’s stories, but I hate the story that I’ve written based on it. I feel boxed in, trapped by unspoken restrictions, and it is making me wish I’d never signed up for this class. I don’t like feeling that way. I want to take as much from this class as I can, but right now, I don’t even enjoy walking in the door.
This blog post is a long, roundabout way of saying that I have writer’s block at the worst possible time in the semester, and I completely blame myself for thinking a creative writing class would help to stir up my creativity. Writing prompts aren’t helping. Reading isn’t helping. Watching TV isn’t helping. Nothing is working, and I feel like a writing failure.
I AM NOT ENJOYING IT!
For what it’s worth, it has helped me to see that I am not a “realism” writer, but that I am definitely a fantasy writer. I also, typically, like my stories to be wrapped up with a nice little bow, which is something I’m trying to change. Stories need to be a little messy, and I’ve never been good with messy writing.
So, here I am, trying to revise a story that I don’t even like, to turn it into something that I do like, but that will also satisfy my teacher, and I have nothing. It’s like all of the creative juices in my brain are on vacation and they forgot to leave behind a substitute.
I’ll keep writing, of course. What else can I do?
The story has to be written and I am a writer.
For better or worse, I am a writer.
I keep telling myself that.
I am a writer.
I am a writer.
I AM a writer.