Saturday, May 4, 2013

Returning to Learning

When I was in third grade, I remember writing poems about horses. I also wrote stories about ghosts and kids being haunted. That's a subject that still fascinates me to this day. In fourth or fifth grade, I remember writing a short story very similar to that of "The Baby-Sitters Club." A teacher of mine laminated that story for me and turned it into an actual book. It was complete with mostly copied ideas from books I had read and really awful drawings.

Also, in fifth grade, my parents divorced. A close friend of our family's gave me a journal. I had had a diary previously, one with a lock and entries that actually began "Dear Diary." But a journal felt different. I wrote in the journal nearly every day and I kept a journal every year after up until only a few years ago. Looking back on the journals, I feel like I was going through a really rough time. Not so much just due to my parents' divorce, but also due to the fact that teenage years and my early 20s were kind of a rocky time. It can be for anyone.

Someone told me I should keep the journals, but most of them are filled with fluff. What boy did I have a crush on last week? Would I win the spelling bee? And then later, What was I going to do with my life? And still, more about boys. I threw most of those journals away. I did keep a few, but the rest weren't worth saving. I can't imagine them ever being read in the future and shedding any light into the kind of person I was or the kind of lessons other people could learn from. I was just a kid. I just liked to write.

In college, I continued writing and pursued a Creative Writing degree. This was after I started in Journalism; after switching briefly to Pre-Law, and then finally accepting that if Creative Writing was an option, then it was a choice meant for me. I studied poetry, British authors, American authors, how to write a short story, how to write an essay. Those classes were some of the best times of my life. Maybe except the Brit Lit section. Man, can those writers drone on! But I had a very clear focus. Most of my writing classes required only a writing portfolio as an end project. There was no mid-term or final test. Your writing was to determine your grade worth.

In all the classes I took, I never thought to take a screenwriting class. I never wanted to be a screenwriter. I still don't. I still want to be a novelist, but lately, I thought it wouldn't hurt to understand the crafting a screenplay. It wouldn't hurt to continue learning. Taking a class would be expensive, so the first step into my "returning to learning" is to check out books from the library. These books are entitled: "Screenwriting for Dummies" and "The Idiot's Guide to Screenwriting." Couldn't hurt, right?

Oh, and I have verbally signed on to join a team of creatives for a film festival this summer. It's called the 48-Hour Film Festival, which means that yes, we have 48 hours in which to write and produce a short film. I am the writer. Every writer says that you are supposed to take out time each day to just write. I write every day, but it hasn't been for a bigger project for a long time. But I can feel my creativity being ignited and that need to write for me is something which has never left.

If I'm going to be a novelist, it'd help if I actually wrote a novel. If I'm going to learn how to be a screenwriter, it'd help to start at the basics. It's pretty exciting being a writer. You can start and stop whenever you want. Today, what you write might be truly awful, but tomorrow, you always get the chance to edit it.

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