Sunday, 31 August 2008

New Beginnings

Even though I graduated from Uni over six years ago, I still think in terms of academic years. Which means that a new year is now almost upon us. And with the new year, I'll be stepping back into the academic system, but more on that later...

I did my BA in Film & TV, but after that I got a job as a Civil Servant. It may not be the greatest job in the world, but it pays enough to enable me to get onto the housing ladder and pay my bills, so I can't complain too much. Towards the end of my course I got more into the writing side of things, and since then I've tried to get some more of my writing done.

Whilst I've put a few of my short stories up on my own website at, I've struggled to find the time to do as much writing as I'd like to do. I've been slogging away at a children's novel for what seems like ages (I finish a draft and then decide to change the nature of the story which neccesitates a complete rewrite) and which I still intend to finish at some point. And last year in November I took part in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) where people challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in a month - for more details see I completed the challenge with a day to spare, but because I had used copyrighted elements in my novel the chances of publication were nil, but my efforts are available on my website.

And so we now come to a new year and a new beginning. I'm already thinking ahead to NaNoWriMo in November. I've decided to set myself an even bigger challenge this year - instead of 50,000 words I'm going to aim for 125,000, and I'm going to try and write something that I can seriously try to eventually get published. That will take a lot of work - whatever I have by the end of November is unlikely to be publishable due to the speed that it was written in, and so it will still need a fair bit of work done on it (the aim of NaNoWriMo is simply to get a first draft done). I've decided to start planning my novel tomorrow, and to try and get the plan done by the end of September...

And I'll also be entering the academic system again. I've signed up for a creative writing course at the Open University which starts at the end of September. I'll be doing one module this year and, if that goes OK, I'll be aiming to do the advanced module next year. And if I pass both of those I'll get a new qualification to add to my name - a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing. Whilst it is still at undergraduate level, it should hopefully be a useful stepping stone... doing a Masters degree. I ultimately would like to do a Masters degree in creative writing (and then possibly to look into teaching creative writing as an alternative career). This two-year Diploma at the Open University should hopefully enable me to get used to working and studying at the same time, and should ensure that I am writing regulary. It will also give me time to save up some money to help me during the two-years that I'll (hopefully) be doing my Masters, as I'll have to switch to part-time work whilst I'm doing it.

And so that should hopefully be four years worth of studying ahead of me. We've just had the Beijing Olympics and we're now looking forward to London 2012, which will be taking place towards to end of my completing my Masters. Whilst I may not have any chance of competing in any of the events in 2012, I still have something that I can work towards by the London 2012 games, something where I can aim to be the best that I can be.

To help keep me on track I've set up this new blog. My intention is to keep updating it regulary so that people can follow my progress, and hopefully keep me on my toes! So please feel free to leave comments and to get in contact with me - and to keep chasing me to get some more writing done! One of the bits of advice for NaNoWriMo is to tell everyone that you're doing it, so that failure doesn't become an option. Likewise, I don't want failure to become an option for me during the next four years. In this case "failure" wouldn't be defined as not getting a novel published, or not getting onto a Masters course. "Failure" would be to not continue writing on a regular basis, and thus not meeting those aims by default. But if I try my very best, to be the best that I can be, to make sure that I continue to write regulary, and to actively try to improve my writing, if I'm still not able to get a novel published or get onto a Masters course, at least I'd be able to hold my head up high and say that I did my best. And doing our best is the most that anyone, including ourselves, can ever ask of us.

No comments: