(Anxious) Writer as (Excited) Student

My class on Writing Memoir starts tomorrow, and I’m feeling like Todd Anderson.

I so resonate with the scenes earlier in the movie where he writes and rips up draft after draft. I can’t remember where my fear/dislike of writing started. In college and grad school, I would always wait until the very last moment to start writing papers. It was only at 2 or 3 in the morning when I was weary and the editor in my head had gone to sleep that I could begin to write. But writing done at 2 or 3 in the morning and not well-edited is not one’s best. I told myself that if I didn’t do as well as I liked it was because I didn’t have enough time.

Over the past several months I’ve had some positive experiences with writing. Part of that is due to the fact that I’ve been writing much more than is typical; I post on this blog, the English Companion Ning, Twitter, and my class blog. All that writing makes it harder to feel like any one piece has to be perfect. I also responded to a call for articles for California English magazine posted on the Ning. I’m grateful to those who were willing to comment on several drafts of the article and was excited when it wa accepted for publication in the September issue.

Despite flexing a few of my writing muscles, I’m still nervous about tomorrow night. It’s one thing to write for the web. It’s another thing to write for/with/beside of living, breathing human beings in a classroom. A little fear never hurt anyone, though. Eleanor Roosevelt recommended doing one thing every day that scares you.

In addition to pushing me to be a better writer, I hope the class keeps me in touch with what it feels like to be a student. When I told a colleague today I was taking a class, she said, “You’re one of those people who loves being in school, aren’t you? I’m not one of those people, but I know the type.” I just laughed, but I thought Yes, I love being a student. Not that I’m only a student when I’m sitting in a desk with a teacher in the room, but I find myself excited for the possibility of that happening again. I love being a teacher, but I really love being a student.

How fantastic is it that I get to be both?

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2 thoughts on “(Anxious) Writer as (Excited) Student

  1. A memoir course sounds like just the right way to flex your writing muscles more. I enjoy reading everything you write–you’ve just the right combination of personal and intellectual topics. I’m always asking students to use their writing to teach me about them. Have you seen Seth Godin talk about Why Blogging is Good for You? It’s less than two minutes–http://isenet.ning.com/video/why-blogging-is-good-for-you

  2. I’m so glad you decided to take this course. You have such a wonderful, natural voice; your natural inclination toward story makes your blog posts so satisfying to read. Here’s hoping you learn tons.

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