For the past couple of years, I’ve taken a few writing classes at an area arts center to improve my skills and expose myself to new styles of writing. It has been a mostly good experience but my last class, while overall I would give it a thumbs up, my schedule was such that I missed half the classes so I was hesitant to sign up for another one this spring. I found one I am extremely interested in called Narrative Nonfiction and it starts tomorrow. Should I enroll? I go back and forth.
I have a couple of vacations and one work trip to California coming up in March and early April which is one reason I’m balking. I found that missing half the classes in my last go around, I didn’t have a great connection with the other participants and while I read a couple of my essays/stories in class, I didn’t get to workshop them like the others. It was still very helpful and I got good feedback (although I didn’t get suggestions on things I should tweak or change). One of my goals for 2018 is to try to get something published (offline) and I think the more I expose myself to these classes, the better chance I will have.
One of my favorite aspects of the last class was to explore and attempt some different writing techniques (like a Wikipedia entry and a metafiction story). Again it was hard because I was missing about every other week so I was always a week off from what we were sharing in class. Our instructor was great and I got a lot from the other people in the class – how they wrote, suggestions everyone made to improve their stories, all the points of view.
I also tried an online novel writing class last summer and it felt like a lot of work because you have to read everyone else’s work and offer suggestions in addition to writing your own. It’s probably because instead of giving the person your feedback in person, you had to type up all your comments and then keep all the different pieces straight from week to week. I also got a lot out of the class because we had to work on specific writing tasks each week like writing the same chapter using different points of view and found I’m most comfortable writing from first person (which was not how I was writing my novel). I’m not sure I would try an online class again, though.
So I still have another 24 hours to make my decision on whether to take a class this spring. What to do! What to do!