Sunday, 2 February 2014

Mandatory Application

Greetings patient reader. I can assure you this past few weeks I have most definitely not been distracted from writing. The Creative Writing MA is working its magic demanding my focus on my writing, thus Mandatory Application (see what I did there?!).

Stephen Covey sums it up I think, and since spotting this (I'm always on the look out for an apt photo-quote) I've held it in my mind; used it to help me stay on track.

I think there are four different aspects to keeping focused on my writing - as well as NOT being distracted by other things:

1 - Reading as a Writer
This is something we get a lot of direction on during the MA. It's the BEST bit really. Obviously we writers LOVE reading, right! My favourite *work* right here. I still get to read LOTS, and widely.
Perhaps the downside is, the more I read the more I realise HOW MUCH there is TO read!
In order to get the most out of the MA study, my tutor advised me to focus on short fiction - giving me more opportunities to experiment. Also giving me lots of opportunities to discover works by my favourite writers that I haven't seen before because, before starting the course, I wasn't a big short fan.

2 - Reading to Inspire Writing
This covers a range of activities: reading my monthly subscription to Writing Magazine; reading blogs/books/posts about writing; reading books about writers; reading (and responding to) writing as a craft.
It's also about engaging with writers about their writing. The MA workshops mean I get to read and comment on the work of my fellow students and I'm more confident in reading the work of writer friends and giving honest feedback (and very grateful to get theirs on mine).

3 - Writing to Inspire Writing
I write everyday. Seriously, I STILL do this, I mentioned it to you just over a year ago here  and it absolutely works. I make notes, I play around with ideas. Sometimes I just make lists but whatever I am doing, I am WRITING and it works!

I know, talk about stating the obvious but I've had to draw this out as an aspect all of its own to stop myself doing anything but. This, for me is about actually writing the stories, getting them from ideas, through plans, to actual narratives. Getting better at this aspect has been about developing confidence. The MA has really pushed my hand in this - it requires the Mandatory Application of aspects 1 to 3 to make this work but it also takes a leap of faith in ourselves, and support from others.
Of course, along with confidence it takes motivation which is why I'm carrying this photo-quote around with me!

Of course there are no guarantees whatever we do ... but I'm thoroughly enjoying the *training*. 


  1. Brilliant! I have been reading your blog since your first ...I dunno why I'm doing this coz I'm rubbish stuff . And now look at you!!! Confident, authoritative, scaring the crap out of me with your quotes!!!! Amazing!! Keep going..I'm loving it!!!

  2. Thank you MrsH!! My growing confidence is, in no small way, down to support - and I REALLY APPRECIATE yours xxx

  3. The Kevin Ngo quote resonates with me. I'm hopefully on a more creative path this year. Keep us posted, Mrs T! x Claire x

  4. It's a really powerful one isn't it!
    Thanks Claire and good luck with your enhanced creativity this year x

  5. You blogged! Great post too... it sounds like your MA is a proving a wonderful opportunity to develop a whole range of skills in addition to your writing. I love the Covey quote. I'm learning that one the hard way! (and great minds, just before i read your post I'd shared the Kevin Ngo quote on my facebook page!)

  6. Hello Mrs T! Glad to hear you're really getting the most out of your MA. I have nominated you for a Liebster blog award which you may or may not welcome! You can see the details on my blog:

    1. Betty, how very kind of you, and how VERY exciting!!! I shall look into it and *pass it on* xx

  7. Thanks for the encouragement Pooky ;) and I hope you won't mind, I have *boldly* requested friendship on your FB page... More evidence of the merging of my writer/wider self x