Two years ago, I finally conquered my misgivings and enrolled in a Creative Writing class in the evenings. I had previously been wary that a classroom setting might dampen my enthusiasm for the craft of writing, just as a course in college on Mozart had deflated my appreciation by reducing his compositions to AB, CD, AC, DB or some such crap. Classes had often managed to ruin many subjects for me.
Over the years, I had often flipped through the course offerings in the catalog of Adult Continuing Education classes at the University near me and paused thoughtfully at the Creative Writing option, before quickly dimissing it at the memory of torturous days spent listening to someone destroy the beauty of nocturnes by reducing them to patterns.
The day I saw the course was being offered at the remote University annex not five minutes away from the factory where I work in the countryside, I decided it was a sign that I should finally bury my misgivings and make the leap.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the instructor was a funny warm woman with an infectious passion for writing. She was incredibly encouraging to me, and flattered me greatly by asking me to be a part of her writing group outside of class.
She was the one who finally broke the spell of inaction for me. Like most everyone else, I had written in an assignment that I had always dreamed of writing a novel, but had been afraid to. She picked one sentence from each of our compositions, and told us to use it as the first line of our next assigment. She picked a sentence out of mine that had described a short story I had written a decade before in college. I sighed when I saw it, thinking I had already done what I was capable of doing with that story, but eventually resigned myself it must be the thing that wanted to be written. When she handed me back my composition two weeks later, she said, "Quit worrying, you've started your novel."
That was all it took. So simple. Someone I considered an "authority" in writing to tell me that what I had written was worthy of a novel.
Thanks to her encouragement and my boring weekend job as a receptionist, I wrote 18 pages of my first novel. I saved it on a hard disk.
As I was packing the other day, I found the disk and decided that since my laptop had no hard disk drive (old fashioned little ol' me) I should print it out and retype it later onto a CD. The disk was damaged and unreadable. All I have now of my original 18 pages is 7 or 8 of a very first draft that I had thankfully printed out at some point for class.
Well, it's a start. We'll see where I go from there.