As I waited for my daughter at the orthodontist’s office, I read a school’s advertisement for their children’s writing course in a magazine.
Several weeks later, I wrote the entrance essay. I mailed the essay, crossed my fingers, and hoped it was at least entertaining.
In March 2006, I received the acceptance letter and my course manual. This course taught me two important life lessons that I had forgotten.
The first lesson was that I had to accept constructive criticism; which was so difficult for me in the beginning. When I received my instructor’s letters in the mail, I read her comments, good or bad, about my assignments. Otherwise, what was the point for the course? My instructor was polite, eloquent, and extremely helpful in her letters. Her favorable comments spurred me to keep my good writing habits, but the criticism hurt. Then I realized that the criticism either made me a better writer or made me a better quitter.
I took a writing course in college, but I didn’t enjoy it very much. The instructor was too uptight for me and didn’t make many comments, just mostly proofread. Proofreading is important, but I just remembered the feeling when my essays were returned and they were full of red ink!
The second lesson I tried to teach to my own children when they got frustrated. Do you remember when your parents said to you “practice makes perfect?” I forgot to apply this wise adage to myself as I got older. I had too many other daily duties to worry about constantly.
Finally, I set aside “me” time to do whatever I pleased.
As the course progressed, I looked forward to writing after cleaning the house, washing laundry, vacuuming, or caring for my family. Some days, I only wrote for 30 minutes, but this time was the most creative.
The initial course and the advanced course took over two years to complete, but it became a fun and creative outlet for me. I improved my writing skills, enjoyed the learning, and relearned patience along the way.
In my opinion, writing is similar to painting and sculpting; only you use words instead of oils, water colors, clay, or marble but many more rules! In any handcrafted art, which includes writing, people spend an enormous amount of time perfecting their pieces.
Now, in 2013, after I’ve completed a writing course for adults and currently in a novel writing course, I’ve had some articles, essays and stories published. In writing, perseverance and patience paid huge dividends in pride, knowledge and self-esteem to know I created the perfect piece.
revised, copyright © 2013 by Martina Kranz
reprinted from Northern Sentry, copyright © August 2010
STORIES BY MARTINA KRANZ