Thursday, January 19, 2006

Biting off more than I can chew?

I've just 'discovered' in my Open University Creative Writing course study pack a booklet with the assignments in. I received the course pack on the 6th January, and I've only just found this. There are so many booklets that I managed to miss it.

Having found it, I am now panicking. How on EARTH am I going to find time to study, write, develop and edit pieces, and then write a piece on how I went about it all?

This comes at the end of a day when I've been doing an extra day for work. I volunteered to design and deliver a career management session for an external organisation. At the time this was agreed, it was going to be a handful of extra days. It is already growing into a much bigger commitment. I shall never volunteer for extra work again. I debated with myself whether to take it on or not, and I really should have thought harder about it. Anyway, the damage is done now, so I'll just have to grin and bear it. It is reasonably interesting work, which is why I found it hard to turn down.

But I really DO want to concentrate on writing, and on developing my art. I want to do more drawing, and start an illustrated journal. I've got an art project to do (more on this later.) And I want to work out how I can run my own business - but that always gets the back seat.

If I could do anything I wanted, I would give up work, do an arts degree, then use art and writing in health and community contexts. But I just can't do it all! Anyway, doing a degree costs money (lots of money from this September). Hence the need to work.

I do like my job (mostly). But - I feel like it's holding me back from the real me somehow. It's the old me, hanging on. I'm struggling to hold the two identities together. It's funny, this business of managing identity.


Anonymous Beth said...

The OU suggest 14 hrs a week. This estimate is always over the top for a bright person such as you.E.g. I did the whole of the first month's reading last night, in bed. So - allocate 10 to 12 hours a week, and that should be plenty.

This is the best course I have been on - for the reason that they allocate a week in which to do the assignment. All the other courses, you fit it in on top of the normal study pattern. This is luxury we have here! So - make sure you keep up to schedule, and then you have a free week to do the assignment in.

Most of the assignment is going to be done anyway, in your daily pages. Use a freewriting session or two each week, to freewrite your insight/reflection - kill two birds with the one written stone.

Same with the chosen prompt for the assignment - bring it in to your daily practice early on, and you will have a wealth of material to cut back when you get to that writing week, and very little to create.

Most important of all - BREATHE!

Feeling better yet?

Oh - and remind me of all this when I am panicking ;-)

9:20 pm  
Blogger Carole said...

*Grin* Will do.

Thanks for the tips. I just need to get organised with my time.

You know Red Dwarf, don't you? Well - you know how Rimmer does lots of timetables, then starts painting them carefully in pretty colours? Well, that's me. I love writing out schedules that will enable me to get everything done. And I am totally rubbish at ever sticking to them, even for one day. So perhaps I need to have my prompts (like the assignment themes) on stickers on the wall, so I can at least focus my freewriting - as you suggest. That is a really good way of looking at it. One sticker with the assignment topics, and one reminding me to reflect on the writing. Thank you!

4:58 pm  
Blogger Sue said...

Hi Carole and Bethl,
Didnt know you had taken on the OU course too Beth ... great!
I totally agree that 14 hours are unnecessary - play the system, allow 10 hours or so.
Only thing was when I did the OU, that there were so many avenues at the time I would have LOVED to have spent nore time exploring if only I had the time ... but with then, a full time job and two kids and two horses, it wasnt exactly possible!!
I always had a panic mode at some time during each year, but was always happy to carry on.
Tell us more about the course please, it sounds great.

7:49 pm  
Blogger Carole said...

Hi Sue,
I guess 10 hours might be a bit more manageable. I don't know how you fitted it all in!

The course description is here It hasn't quite started yet, but the materials look promising. I like it because it is student-centred, and encourages writing from life. I'm impressed with the OU so far - they seem to really look after you.


10:03 am  

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