Inspired by Others

After reading several inspirational blog posts lately of people enrolling in online courses I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Last night, I found myself an online Creative Non-Fiction writing course and enrolled. Apart from parting with my money – not too much, I discarded those asking for my entire bank balance – what I’m really in for is yet to be discovered.

I had a few criteria when looking, one being it should cost as little as possible. Another criteria was the time frame. I lead a strange life at times when it comes to work load, so I didn’t want one requiring me to work furiously at for a few weeks or a few months. My chosen course, http://continuingstudies.wisc.edu/lsa/online/writing/creative-nonfiction.htm will allow me to work at my own pace in my own time for up to a year. This sounds my kind of course.

What am I hoping to learn from this? Well, having just published my 1950s school memoir I’m looking for support and guidance as I branch out beyond my comfort zone to write a little local history coupled with memoir about the old swimming pool I grew up with, almost in, during the 1960s. I’m hoping the course will keep me motivated as well as provide me with feedback along the way.

I did this last time, participated in a couple of little courses to help me along the way. They proved useful in keeping me on task over a journey that took longer than it should. I’ve allowed myself more research and writing time for this latest project, but decided a course might be more useful at the beginning of the journey than further down the track.

So, thank you to all those who’ve shared posts about the courses you’re undertaking. You are my inspiration. Now all I need do is sit back and wait for the first module to roll in. What have I let myself in for?

One Mistake is One Too Many – Check Your Facts

In my recent 1950s school memoir, I made a small mistake. But even one small mistake is one too many. This mistake involved a date only one person would notice. I wrote a year date incorrectly, giving one person longer at school than the average person. Most people wouldn’t pick up the error, but my brother did. He wasn’t impressed.

A quick phone call during the writing, to check with him when he left school, would have eliminated the error. I chose to think I could work it out for myself. That choice, while not too harmful, was a bad choice.

One thing I’m learning, as my writing turns more toward creative non-fiction, is the need to get my facts right. Simple phrases, while seeming to add my personal touch to the story, often need to be altered. For example, I recently started a sentence in my work in progress on the trees of my district, “Since the beginning of time ……”

Whoa! I can’t write that. How do I know the trees of the once magnificent forest had been there since the beginning of time? I don’t and neither does anyone else. The realisation enabled me to change the whole paragraph and, I believe, give me a far better piece of writing.

Writing creative non-fiction is a new venture for me and is proving a fascinating challenge. I can’t make anything up, but I’m enjoying telling a story my own way. I’m enjoying the research involved, even for such a short piece as 1000 words, such as the tree piece I’m working on.

At the moment I’m reading and researching more than I’m writing, all for the sake of 1000 words. This is definitely proving to be worthwhile. The facts need to be right. I’m not a historian. A reader out there is bound to have more expertise than I do.

The message then is to verify all the facts, make sure they are the truth. The way I’ll choose to write the story is slowly taking shape in my mind. But I need to remember, one mistake is one too many – I need to check my facts.