3 Benefits to Taking A Writing Class: Even If You Don’t Write?

I was visiting Tennessee a few months ago with some friends.  We stopped by a winery that was hosting the Author’s Guild of Tennessee.  Three authors were there to display their books and talk with patrons.  I was so excited to have an opportunity to network and learn from other writer’s.  I was also excited to have an opportunity to buy a book.  I will take any excuse I can to buy another book.

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I asked author Bobbi Phelps how she got started writing.  She told me that she took a class on how to write a memoir and it taught her how to tell a story.  She started writing her book after she took that class, and recommended that I take a similar class to help me in my writing.

I was able to find a class at a nearby college where I live, and am in my third week of the class.  I am learning more than I ever imagined I could.  In fact this class is life changing for me.  I am at a pivotal point in my life.  There are many changes going on in my life and I struggle to decide what to do with my new found freedom that comes with the empty nest.  Do I continue to blog like a million other people or just be happy to doodle in my journal?

Lessons Learned

1.  There is so much to learn.  During the first class session introductions were made.  I felt as if I was sitting among royalty.  Among the group were a published author, doctoral student, MFA candidate and people with worldly life experience.  I felt as if I was a first grade student sitting in a college freshman writing class.  I was among people who had already lived through what I am living through, who have answered the questions I am grappling with, and who decided to pursue their art and have done so successfully.

I quickly realized that I have so much to learn.  As a novice writer I am more than aware of how I need to hone my craft, but when you attend classes like these you realize you have a lot to learn about life.  The people we meet have so much to teach us. They teach us by their experiences, and their lives.  They can give us a vision for how life can be.

2. We need to experience life to grow as an artist.  Our class instructor refers to us as writers.  She talks about our work.  I have been blogging for a year, and know very little about writing, but she calls me a writer.  She doesn’t minimize our work or potential.  She is helping me take myself seriously and is helping me to grow as an artist.  I have grown exponentially during this class.  I can’t attribute that type of growth to the two years worth of articles and blog reading I have done.  I needed this real life experience to bring it all together.

Oh, you can’t get out backwards. You’ve got to go forwards to go back, better press on. …Willy Wonka

3. We must move forward.  I have started five blogs in the past year and a half.  I am still playing around with three of them.  I grapple with trying to figure out if this is a part of my mid-life stage or something that I am actually going to do.  I don’t know what it all means.  I sense that my family is talking about me in hush tones.  She’s just going through so much.  Let her write and blog.  It keeps her happy and is just a part of this stage she is going through.  It will pass. Hmmmm…

I am going through a stage, and part of that stage is figuring out what in the world I want to do with my life now that my children are grown up and moving away.  I have never done this before.  I have no idea how to navigate this change.  So yeah I am writing, taking classes, going back to get my MBA, and hanging out at the fitness club more, but that’s not just a stage, it’s a part of my new life.

To get back to my life I had prior to raising children I must go forward.  There is no going back.  Willy Wonka got it right.  In order to become who I am I must move forward and experience a new life.  A part of that includes writing.  It’s what I do.

The people in the writing class are talking about their personal stories.  I have heard stories about loss, life change, successes and failure.  My classmates are teaching me that we must go forward.  They did, and now they have stories they want to tell.  They are pursuing their craft as a way to tell their story.  I want to pursue mine so that I can help others achieve great things.

Moving forward at the speed of a tortoise,

Marcy Pedersen

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