Saturday, June 11, 2005


Sometimes I am surprised to read articles like this one, and this, and this one too on my favorite blogs!

I love their work and am always amazed that these creative artists have off days, insecure moments and quite a considerable amount of self doubt. I get a sense of relief because it reminds me that the insecurities I have about my ambitions for my writing are not insane at all.

In 2002 I signed up to do a distance learning course through
this school. The clause that attracted me was that I could take as long to do the course as I needed. I have never had any formal training on how to be a writer, so I thought that learning how to write for children would be an interesting way to start.

Just before Pesach/Passover I finally set myself a deadline to submit my first project. After three weeks had gone by, I started looking out for the envelope in the mail and found myself getting quite anxious about what feedback I would get. This is the first time I have ever really laid myself open to possibly hearing that I really should not think of giving up the day job just yet!

After the range of emotions I experienced while waiting for those few pieces of paper to make their way back to me, I thought about how amazing artists really are. They bare their souls in every piece of work they produce. It really is a labor of love. I wonder more than ever if it is an artists deep sense of “ok-ness’ with him/herself or their insecurities that drive them. It has to be so hard to find success and acceptance in producing works of art that will appeal to other individuals on so many different levels to the one the artist might have intended. Each piece of art is like a unique DNA in that every person will have their own unique emotional response to the piece of work.

I am not for one minute suggesting I am an artist in making these observations, but from this tiny little experience, I have found a new level of respect for people’s creative expressions.

Last Saturday, Daniel, Ross and I got into the car to go out. I was the last to come out the house, so while waiting for me, Daniel cleared the mail box. He brought a pile of mail into the car and while going through it, I spotted the envelope from the school.

My heart started racing and I said to him, “you open it and read the comments to me.” You can’t imagine how nervous I felt. I gave myself one of those 30 second instant pep-talks that I have mastered the art in, and quickly reminded myself that this is the very first step in what is going to be a long journey, and I must be strong regardless of the feedback. Of course, as always, I was expecting the worst.

As Daniel read the really positive feedback, I started feeling more and more thrilled and relieved. Before I knew it, I had burst into tears and I was surprised by how I felt this huge weight lift off my shoulders. The feedback was nothing short of fantastic, if I may say so myself, and it was the most incredible feeling.

All the feedback was valid and I was really pleased to see that the tutor I will work with for the duration of the course had picked up on the areas I know I struggle with right away in the first project. This was very encouraging for me as it showed me that I really will learn lots of good stuff from this course and I was grateful for this feedback.

Here are some of the comments that reduced me to tears:

“I can see where your humor will come in handy in your writing. I realize that not all stories call for humor, but when they do, it’s definitely a great tool to have.”

The course material offered three illustrations. I had to choose one of them and write about what was happening in the scene. Each picture represented a different age group. The one I chose was of a young girl and boy, in their teens, standing at a bus station. They could have been arriving or departing. My story was based on them departing and the title I gave it was “JOURNEY TO A NEW LIFE.”

The comments continued with, “For starters, I love the title. What a great and intriguing, one-line way to get young readers interested in moving further into the first paragraph. Titling your stories can be challenging for most new students, so I’m glad to see you settled on a good one.”

“You filled these pages with several sensory images; something else new writers often find difficult to accomplish. All in all, I think you’re off to a great start!”

I have no way of knowing where this will take me, but it is something I know I have to do. Having finally got started, I am feeling pumped about it and that feels good!
Go beyond the ideas of succeeding and failing - these are the judgements. Stay in the process and allow the universe to handle the details. ~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer