Sunday, January 9, 2011

Working on my story

Voice: What are you doing?

Me:  Well, I'm trying to write my story.

Voice: Looks to me like you are reading blogs and news sites.

Me:  It's research.

Voice: What's your story about?

Me:  Cough. It's about ...

Voice:  You have already lost me. You hesitated. 

Me: I didn't hesitate. My throat was dry.

Excuses. Ah, they are easy to come by. First, it was difficult to write what I needed to say (and some days it still is). Then, it was the whole having a baby thing. Later, it was packing up our house, moving to another state and searching for a new house while living in a hotel with a baby and two dogs.

Today, those pesky details are resolved and it's time to write. While I keep working on a memoir manuscript, I signed up for a personal essay class. I want to brush up on my skills in this shorter format.

This will be the first class I am taking through the WOW! Women on Writing. There are plenty of writing programs and classes available online. I have taken classes through MediaBistro and had positive experiences with the program, the instructor and my virtual classmates.

The WOW! class "The Art of Truth:  Writing Your Life Into Short Creative Essays" seemed to fit everything I was looking for — short course length, a good outline of the class, weekly assignments and instructor feedback. It is reasonably priced as well.

On Saturday, I received my copy of Courage & Craft: Writing Your Life into Story by Barbara Abercrombie. The online essay instructor Melanie Faith suggested it along with a handful of essays to read for the class.

My son allowed me to read a few pages of the book. He sat beside me on his fuzzy, blue blanket beating plastic balls together and randomly turning toward me letting a string of drool moisten the corner of the pages. I enjoyed every word and then ... well, he tired of this exercise and we moved on to a nap.

I can't wait to begin the class. While I feel 100 percent that I have a book-length memoir waiting to get out, I know that many episodes in our lives are really magazine articles and not books.

I have a lot of writing to do, so for now I'm saying goodbye to the Voice (the Internet filled with all its advice, tips and distractions). I just need to sit, butt in chair and write.

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