Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

What to do?

with 3 comments


If you’ve been reading my posts over the last few weeks you’ll know I had a writing wobble over the summer. Life intervened to stop me writing and I didn’t fight against it. I went with the flow, and I didn’t miss it. By the end of the summer I was wondering, is writing really what I want to do? I find it difficult writing in a vacuum without feedback, so I started to think about courses and also attended a literary festival.

The literary festival was held mid-September at City Lit in London. It was small – it’s only in its second year – and focussed on Irish writers and writing. Poets and prose writers gave readings prior to brief question and answer sessions. I enjoyed the readings, and the poetry made so much more sense in the voice and with the inflection of its author, but the Q&As were most interesting. For me, I love to hear about process, the how and why, nuts and bolts of writing. And that’s what the Q&As gave to the audience. Once again I learnt that published, internationally recognised authors do things the same way the rest of us – some see pictures, some hear voices; setting can drive a story or develop from it. As with David Armstrong’s How Not to Write Fiction it was encouraging, even if it does raise the question, why not me?

What is it I am searching for? Feedback and how to get it. I am isolated on the writing group front – there aren’t any locally. There was one, but it’s defunct (its Facebook page hasn’t been updated for 18-months) so I thought about education – get on a course, speak to fellow students, receive feedback and constructive criticism from tutors. Again, there is nothing local, and I’d forgotten how expensive study has become. Still, at the end of September I attended Oxford University’s continuing education open-day to learn about their Master of Studies in Creative Writing. It sounded perfect, with residentials four weekends a year to fit around full-time work, to which I have just returned after a break of over ten years. But as it costs more than I’ll earn in the next two years, it is prohibitively expensive.

I need part-time, I need local. I feel distance learning won’t provide the input I desire and so I’m a little stuck on how to proceed. However, in the meantime I have undertaken to do the University of Iowa’s How Writers Write Fiction MOOC at to see if I can fit in online study with work. The suggested reading so far has been really interesting, the writing exercises thought-provoking and taxing. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up, but at least the learning resources will still be there on if I fall behind, and I am enjoying the challenge.


Written by Sarah Ann

October 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Have you thought about forming your own writing group?


    October 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm

  2. Sarah I wish you well 😊


    October 15, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    • Thank you. You can see how welll I’m not doing by how long it’s taken me to get back to you. Hope all is good with you.

      Sarah Ann

      November 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm

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