The good news is I have become a much, much better writer. I can look over my work and instantly know what is not working. I am familiar with my writing idiosyncrasies and I can buckle down and fix most of my reoccurring flaws. The bad news is I am never satisfied with my work and I’m convinced everything I produce now is crap. So I can’t stop revising. Takes the thrill out of writing, if you know what I mean.
But I’ve always felt that if you are going to do something, you might as well do it to the best of your ability, so I am grateful I took the time to get an MFA to force my development. In some ways, I wish I wrote with the fluid abandonment I once had, and yet, there isn’t a day I don’t thank the writing gods that I my work wasn’t published previously. I would be darned embarrassed by it now had it been released in it’s raw, unfinished state. When I do get my books published (and now I have confidence that it is only a matter of time, . . not to mention a matter of my actually sending something out) it will be work I’ll be proud of.
I am currently re-writing my first novel, Sisters of Fate (titled Crossing Hearts for a while due to advice from an agent). I still adore the characters and the story. Besides which, I have three other books planned in this saga –the second in the series more than half written. I actually have five books in different stages of completion. Obviously I have some kind of author attention span disorder. But I know me, and in time, I will attend to them all.
For now, I feel most drawn to my historical fiction. The problem is, I wrote the first draft of this novel like a romance writer. Looking at it through different eyes now, I wince every time I crack the pages of the manuscript.
Rewriting is a very slow process for me. It took me a month to change the prologue from 12 melodramatic pages to 6 concise intriguing pages that do the job. I not only keep tweaking and tweaking, but I actually start to fall asleep every time I begin rewriting, as if my brain goes into a lethargic state by the second sentence. I am better with passion and creativity at the helm– but without serious revision, nothing I write will ever be presentable. So, like it or not, I have to sit my butt in that chair and work. Fighting sleep all the way.
Dance taught me that the best way to be very good at something is to teach. So, I am looking forward to trying my hand at personal growth through sharing what I know as well.
I’ve been asked to teach a few classes at Appalachian Tech (a community college) for their adult continuing education department. I begin these classes in late January, which gives me time to plan lessons and think about how I want to present the material.
Here are my class descriptions (in case you all want to move to Georgia and sign up):
Instructor: Ginny Hendry
8 week session – Tuesdays 6:00-7:30
Instructor: Ginny Hendry
8 week session – Thursdays 6:00-7:30
This morning I had to turn in my biography. Eek. I do feel qualified to teach, yet a part of me keeps thinking, “What the hell have I ever done to justify my teaching these subjects?” Years of experiences made me rather significant in the dance world. In the literary world, I’m just a newbie. But you have to start somewhere, right? And considering my experience as a teacher, combined with my recent academic pursuits, I believe I’m capable of structuring a good class for people interested in the craft of writing. The important thing to remember is, I’ll get better as I go. Considering I have some ambition in the field, I might as well get the ball rolling.
Mark made me put the dance stuff in there – partially because he insists so much of the Kiddance endeavors were successful because of the writing, and also because he thinks I must at least gesture towards my vast teaching experience. Subject is irrelevant, he says. Good communication skills, lesson organization and being able to relay information is applicable to any seminar.
I have also been asked to speak for an hour at the Blue Ridge Writer’s Conference in March. They want a lecture on the pros and cons of getting an MFA. Now, I have plenty to say about this subject. I have strong feelings about the value of a writing degree. I went into the program totally naive. Had I a better understanding of what an MFA involved, I might have made other choices. That is not to say I am sorry I went to Lesley. It changed me in the best of ways. But, I might have gotten even more out if it had I known what to expect. I also stumbled through the submission process, and frankly, I’m surprised I ever got accepted considering the work I sent in. Anyway, here is my seminar description. I really look forward to helping potential students gain insight and prepare them for what lies ahead should they seek higher education in the field.
This seminar will explore the pros and cons of pursuing an MFA. We will discuss how the process impacts a writer’s life long quest to develop and refine their skills, changing both how they read and write, compared to alternate avenues of expanding literary awareness. We will then review the various types of MFA programs available today, consider what kind of writers an MFA best serves, and discuss the competitive submission process.
I changed my bio for this brochure to explain why I feel qualified to teach this particular course.