For most of us, writing is a lonely pursuit. We squirrel away time from loved ones and friends in order to spend time with the thoughts in our heads, hoping to transcribe them onto the blank page. This is followed by lots of revision, more time alone with our project, only to hopefully find someone willing to publish this work and share it with the wider world. A hedge against this loneliness is to find the writers among us, to share our passion, our thoughts, our resonance with these projects that we’ve created mostly alone. Writing classes can create a sense of community, a sense of belonging if only for a few hours.
Taking a class is a marker of good faith to yourself that you’re taking your writing seriously, that you believe in the ability to make your writing better, to make yourself better in the elements of craft, in the ability to perceive and see the world around you, to bring meaning, and resonance to your life, and hopefully to the lives of your readers. Writing well is a commitment, and taking a class safeguards the promise of your commitment.
Taking a class often pushes our unconscious thoughts or knowledge about craft elements to our conscious, where we can readily apply them to current or future projects. Writing, unfortunately, isn’t like writing a bicycle. It isn’t often a rote experience where we can rely on muscle memory alone. We must learn and relearn often the separate elements of craft to put the whole thing together to create a story, essay, or poem. What has worked before might not work in quite the same way, and learning from instructors and our peers, can bring fresh ideas to our projects, to our ideas about the use and tactics of each craft element.
Finally, hopefully, it’s fun or engaging or both. An opportunity to step out of the pressures of our busy lives. An opportunity for play and exploration, to get back to our imaginations. To create in a safe and inspiring environment. To do the good and necessary work of creating stories.