The Rewards of Trying

Like most teachers of writing, I have a way of working. It's a formula I've developed over the years, and I know it's effective. 

The problem comes when you're asked back to an event to teach roughly the same course as before. 

swanwick teaching.JPG

This is the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School from last year. And I'm fortunate enough to be there again in a couple of weeks, teaching novel writing. 

But that gave me a real dilemma - I was worried I'd never be able to improve on my tried and tested methods, which everyone had heard before (yawn). 

Cue a couple of weeks of the usual Hall tailspin of internal agonising and quiet panic, before I talked myself into some sense. 

Look, idiot, I said (I bet you can imagine it.) Creativity is endless, so you can damn well find some new ideas. Stop bleating and get on with it! 

That I did, or at least tried. For the first few days, nothing much came and I got in a tizz again. 

But then a breakthrough moment arrived. I had a new idea! And I was so lifted by that it meant more ideas came along, and they brought their friends and familes, and suddenly I had lots of new ideas. 

Which means I go into the teaching feeling proud of myself for actually trying to push beyond what I usually do, and that I've been rewarded for it with renewed energy, enthusiasm and excitement. 

It was a powerful lesson for me in never resting and becoming too comfortable with the familiar.

That way you risk losing your spark and creativity, and what else is this wonderful writing life for?