I’ve finally been and gone and done it. I’ve applied and been accepted on a Creative Writing Masters with the OU. Two years’ part -time study on the internet is not ideal in my opinion, as I love the exhilaration of sharing work with a peer group (such as the fantastic Arvon courses) but the prospect of Middle East travel makes it my only choice.
Is it a waste of money? Would I be better off just getting off my arse and getting on with it rather than learning about it? I don’t know. I do know that it will give me some much needed structure and discipline and I’m looking forward to that. Hell, I’ve even prepped a little corner or our shed to do it in (what the photo doesn’t show are the teetering piles of baby stuff behind the desk which we need to sell).
I’m well aware of the Hanif Kureishi piece in The Guardian that such courses are a “waste of time” (worth a read by the way). It’s expensive, I have a child to look after, a home to clean, dinner to make, and is there anything that can’t be learned from a good textbook or two? (I have many btw). Possibly not. But Kureishi’s accusation is based on the following statement about his students that, “it’s probably 99.9 per cent who are not talented and the little bit that is left is talent”. Sod the talent. If I want to get better at writing, I need to practise and to have lessons, as novelist Matt Haig agrees: “I could have 7,000 guitar lessons but I wouldn’t be Hendrix, though I would be a lot better than I am now.” Yes please. He continues, “Like most art forms writing is part instinct and part craft. The craft part is the part that can be taught, and that can make a crucial difference to lots of writers.”
It’s the “crucial difference” that I’m looking for when I pay to learn something. And yep, the first term’s £2000 has been paid with a student loan (welcome back my old friend) and I’m duly working my way through Derek Neale’s Creative Writing workbook in preparation for an October start date. But that’s not it, that’s only part of it, I’m still working on my own Cornish myths collection outside of the course and wrote a couple of haikus yesterday (go me), as well as my usual food blogs. I’m also desperately trying (and failing) to get up early and do my ‘pages’ but I’m not quite there yet.
Wish me luck. I’ll be posting regularly about my more writerly life which is all part of me being accountable for a daily writing schedule as well as sharing my experience of the MA. Here are a couple of haikus from the shed:
my head plodes imwards
beaten by chores, drowned in lists
til I swim again
to be wild and feel
the moon whiten my face the
stars in my pockets