I guess out of all the classes I've had so far (Magazine Writing and Editing, Modern American Drama, Poetry Writing), Poetry may be the most intense and challenging for me this semester. It's also not my stongest suit, compared to the other types of writing I can do. I've taken two Creative Writing classes last year, and my experience in both classes, especially last Spring, was kind of mediocre (I felt). It had to do with how I participated in class, how I was prepared for each class, comments I gave, etc. (That last one was an asset I generally lacked.) And I feel a greater pressure this fall as I believe the course/experience will not so much be what I write or what I turn in, but more of how I participate, how I interact and pay attention in class, in group discussions, workshops, and so forth. In addition, I'm asking my self,
How can I do better than I did before?
Not can I do better, but How can I do better? For instance, my syllabus indicates that participation and assignments (to name a few) will be taken seriously. That, to me, means not just showing up to class for the sake of showing up, but actually being prepared to talk, to work, to disect, to engage in conversation, etc. It will be intense, as I feel it will. Yet, I wrote a note to myself, saying, Use it. Use what you can do and learn to be disciplined and to break out of your comfort shell. At the same time, I fear this may mess with my conscience and turn me away from others.
But I can't fear; at least already. It's only the first week of classes, and I need to take it one to two weeks at a time. (I'm kind of back-and-forth with this challenge, but it's a good reminder for me.) As I wrote in one of my last posts, I've been through this several times in my life, as I'm sure we all have. It's just a new stepping stone, a new challenge, a new level in growing and in saying, "I can do better." It's just a question of How.
My advice: If you have a study method that works really well for you, go with it. And, if necessary, grow in it. Experiment, see what works, what doesn't, and see where you can go from there. In that sense, one has hope and anticipation. In closing, here's a passage that is extremely significant in this area of life. I hope it will give you some encouragement as well:
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
~ Hebrews 12:11