Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 43


Our third snow day. The time that wasn't spent on my bio lab was spent desperately trying to tap into my creative side. 

A little less than a month ago, my English teacher e-mailed us about the Young Writer's Conference at Champlain College. How could I resist. After all, publishing a book is pretty high on the bucket list. 

Attending the conference obviously requires an application, and since I'm really hoping on attending the fiction workshops, I have to submit a piece of fictional writing no longer than three pages by the 15th of February, to prove myself worthy. 

It's driving me insane. Creatively writing fiction on a strict deadline is unpleasant, to say the least. Especially when you haven't written fiction in so long that you're willing to work with. 

Back in 7th and 8th grade, creative writing was everywhere. I was never too impressed with myself, although I churned out a good handful of short stories, poems, and one longer untitled story about 40 typed pages long that I shared with a small group of friends. 

I stuck with the longer story for a little over a year, starting in April of 8th grade, and I kept telling myself I would finish it and it would be golden. For a short while, I was completely convinced that I was writing my first novel. I named one of the main characters after my best friend, Colin, and he and I would get so excited and brainstorm ideas of what would happen next in the story. 

Part of the problem was that I was writing entirely "by ear," so to speak. I did very little planning ahead. One day, I figured out how the story would end for one of my favorite characters, and I frantically texted away with Colin about that. He kept asking me how it would end for everyone else, and the fact that I could never give him even the most vague answer bothered me immensely. 

Now that I look back on it, I'm not too proud of it at all, as a whole. There's no use in finishing something you're not proud of, so I'm filing that story under "Gold Star, Younger Sonja. You tried." However, I might snatch a few strong characters out of that story and throw them in other stories in the future, so the year effort wasn't a total waste. 

I'm sure it was a "valuable learning experience," or something like that. 

There were times when I skipped gym to sit on the bleachers with all the regular skippers, and just scribble down the next chapter until my hand was begging me to take a break. My beautiful neat handwriting was compromised in those situations. I lost a fair share of sleep over it, too. There were nights where I would sit at my desk and type away, and then drink caffeinated tea the following morning during Science class; I was under the impression that that was a perfect substitute for sleep. It's not like I had a deadline to make, I was just too eager to get it down on paper, and share it with Colin. 

As valuable as this experience was, I sure hope no one ever finds that story. 

My seventh grade English teacher, who ran the creative writing club back when I was in the Jr. High, was kind enough to lend me the book in the picture: Spilling Ink. I've read a good fraction of it today. She was shocked to hear that I wanted to write something fresh off the grill, as opposed to working with my older pieces. 

Now I'm scratching my head, reading that handbook, doing everything I can to conjure up the creative side of myself, to prove to both myself and these people at Champlain College that I can still write fiction that I'm proud of. 

Part of the problem is I have zero ideas in my story idea bank. Hmph. 

Cheers,
SWH













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