Drowning, Not Waving

DunceOh dearie, dearie me. Oh my.

I started the Masters course in Creative Writing last week. How hard could it possibly be? I love reading. I love writing. Simple?

Er, no. I am a fish out of water. Or prawn. Squid?

It started so well. I made my way to induction, swimming and elbowing against the tide of children headed for the canteen. They were very, very young and I felt very, very old. Mumsy. Grey. Got my ID card. The woman who took my photo said, ‘you can smile you know love, it’s not Crimewatch.’

I grimaced, picked up my card and joined the young folk in the classroom. And I loved it – learning something new. Filled with enthusiasm, the first lecture loomed. Wasn’t too bad, took notes, swotted up. Then a different lecture about research. Without warning, the tutor switched to Swahili and the four hours passed in a blur of ‘why am I here, what am I doing and when will they unmask me and chuck me out?’

Then, the first writing assignment. I knew I could do this. I’ve been writing a form of flash fiction for two years with this blog, each post around 400 words but (hopefully) conveying so much more. I was chuffed with my effort, slaved over it, rewrote it, obsessed about it.

Let’s just say, I Don’t Get It. I am panicking. I wrote a terrible story. I adore my course, I love the research. I just don’t think I have what it takes.

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16 thoughts on “Drowning, Not Waving

  1. Sally says:

    You do have what it takes . You just haven’t found your feet yet. Still early days . Just buy yourself a large stripy scarf and wrap it enigmatically around your neck. You’ll soon be full of inspiration.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Must admit, found myself lingering in front of the scarves in the SU shop. Not sure if my fellow stoods think I’m a spy (for their parents) or slightly deluded. Meh.

  2. Luke says:

    You know that you CAN do it, it’s just your nerves getting the better of you (and not in an MS kinda way for once!)
    You’ll soon settle into it, and before long you’ll be wondering what on earth you were worried about!
    Keep at it.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      That’s so sweet, thank you!! I’m very hard on myself. If Im going to fail, I will fail spectacularly!! Weirdly, MS Symptoms flaring up very badly right now. Stress!7 Vertigo?

  3. Tricia says:

    YES YOU CAN, your words flow, so just do what you do, which of course is WRITE.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I really, really hope so. It’s been very sobering. To find out I can’t actually write, lol. I guess I have my style and it doesnt fit with the accepted norm:-( But! I love a good challenge!

  4. Sue Johnson says:

    Who says you can’t write… You’ll shine through, just keep writing. After all the anticipation at least things have taken off and all the very best in the coming weeks. Watch the stress tho and MS flare ups. I have just moved house and suffered from MS hug symptoms! Scary.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! You’re right about the stress. I had the most awful vertigo all day yesterday. Seems better today. I offloaded in the uni private journal we write every week, which only the tutor has access to. He was very reassuring and I have a meeting with him later. Hoping to find my feet soon….
      p.s. hope your symptoms have died down and you’re all sorted in your new house!

  5. stargzrblog says:

    So proud of you — hang in there! The first couple of steps are always the most difficult. And don’t let the age difference between you and your classmates distract you! When I taught college courses, all I saw when I looked out over the lecture hall were “students” … their ages were completely irrelevant. And yes, there were some so-called “non-trad” students in those classes … the “non traditional” students who were a few years to several decades older than the average college kid, and who usually had a considerable advantage over their younger classmates: life experience! This secret weapon often placed them at the top of the class in over all performance. Don’t give up — give yourself the time to settle in and gain momentum!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I love that, thank you! I think I’m the second oldest in my class and as for the kids in the canteen….!
      I’m definitely going to persevere. I’m only on this path ‘thanks’ to MS and I didn’t let that beat me, lol. The only way is up??

  6. You’re being too hard on yourself! I’m sure the story you wrote wasn’t terrible!! You are a totes fab writer (or prawn).

  7. yeah dont worry about any age difference, you actually have a bit of an advantage since you have more life experience than a lot of the younger ones which can come in very handy when writing. ok yes technically I just said you were old, (your not), but just think of all the things those kids will have to go through that you might have already done. you learned from mistakes made, they haven’t yet (or ever will :p)

    you have what it takes, you are panicking about nothing but first week jitters about if it was the right choice. and its good you are having a meeting with your tutor, can air any concerns you might have and put your mind at ease

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I think you’re absolutely right. There’s been sooooo much to take on, even down to just navigating my way round the campus (not my strong point).
      Very much looking forward to meeting with the tutor. The uni staff are all amazing, so hopefully he’ll set me back on the right path again!

  8. julie says:

    It is good you are not satisfied with your work, it means you want to improve, and that is why you are there. You will get feedback from your tutor and it might surprise you.
    If you are willing to take on board what they teach you, and put that knowledge to good use, you’ll fly. xx

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