|Super Moon - Photo taken by Reg Guest|
According to another definition, an apprenticeship is a way of training in a trade or profession, often while employed but also including studying. As writers we are always in some form of on the job training even if the job is simply our own task at hand; to submit an article, to publish a book or more. Life as a whole becomes our classroom as does the internet, writing groups, and/or writing classes.
This past fall I entered into an apprenticeship that has proven of immense value to me through partaking in two on-line writing classes from the University of Toronto; Intro To Creative Writing/Fiction and Writing Through Reading. Both classes are a part of a larger Creative Writing Certificate I hope to attain. In the first class, although I expected to know most of the material since it was an introductory class, I was surprised to find that there were many things I hadn’t learned previously. I am still more of a beginner than I realized! Writing is a craft after all and we never fully come to the end of developing that craft.
In the Introductory class I was challenged to go deeper with my character and plot development and gained a lot of insight into my own writing style through the comments of my instructor and other classmates. A strength that was pointed out was my realistic dialogue, with the suggestion that I could possibly do well writing script for plays, something I have thought of once or twice but hadn’t seriously considered. A weakness I discovered was Point Of View; learning how to use it best for each piece of writing I did and to not shift out of it. I so appreciated all of the constructive feedback that brought me along in POV.
Writing Through Reading was an immensely interesting class whereby we read various authors works and discussed them thoroughly within the group, thereby gleaning much knowledge as to story structure, plot, character and many other aspects of the piece. We then completed our own assignment based on what we had learned and often had the chance to re-work a piece for another assignment. In this class I developed my critique reading skills and editing skills. I was also strongly encouraged by my instructor and others to keep on writing my memoir; parts of which I had shared with them.
I have been bogged down in my writing life for quite a few years with aimlessness and no particular goals in sight. As Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time.” From taking these two classes I have now set a personal goal to finish my memoir within a year. I also plan on continuing with the classes to attain my Creative Writing Certificate and to start the Editing Certificate through Simon Fraser University in B.C.
These goals are setting the bar pretty high for me and I don’t expect them to be easy. I may even fail at some of them or at all. But as Norman Vincent Peale so famously said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”