So I wrote a ghost story and I was pretty pleased with it. The ideas were good but it needed a bit of editing. Then I went into my fiction class. I didn't read it out but it soom became clear to me that my small editing job is going to turn into a major rewrite.
Basically I have fallen into lots of pitfalls that should be avoided in writing. I had an opening descriptive paragraph setting the scene, explaining who the characters were and what was going on. Well that needs to go. Then I had descriptions of how people are feeling and these are cliched - things like "she suddenly felt scared", evidently it is better to use action to show she is scared rather than simply say that she is scared. This helps the reader to engage more with the character.
I understand these things they make sense and I feel like I am really learning something but I did come out of that class feeling a bit demoralised. It was exactly the reason I had put off enrolling on the course for so long (that and money of course) - writing has always been the thing that I am good at and I thought "what if I get to art school and discover that really I'm no good, where will that leave me?" One of my problems is that I have years of bad habits behind me and I have to learn to break them.
I am finding this problem with my poetry as well, I have got into particular habits and that can mean that my writing can sometimes lack depth and sound a bit cliched. I need to let myself go a bit, break out of my self imposed bounaries - when did I ever get so uptight?
This week I have been looking at some short stories that I wrote in my early 20s. They are not good technically and I can see why only two of them ever got published. But what they do have is a freshness of vision and a confidence that my writing sometimes lacks now. I was not afraid then to use language in a fresh and sometimes unconventional way. I wrote on plain paper without lines and I allowed myself to freefall - the words flowing out in a stream of conciousness style. What I should have done was to take those ideas and work on them, editing them until they were accessable to the reader.
I feel like I need to reclaim that free voice, rediscover that fresh way of looking at the world - if it's not too late. To break out of the self imposed confines I have imposed on my own writing and then maybe I might something worth while.