It’s a new month and I’m excited. Though September signifies yet again how quickly the year scurries by, it also offers opportunity for me to start afresh. I’ve decided that I need to do something I haven’t done in a long time — I’m going back to school! But before you get too excited, let me clarify. I’m not talking about formal education through a university or college . I’m taking about creating that structure in my life that facilitates lifelong learning.
It all began a few weeks ago when I set a goal to finish my novel — the third draft — on September 5. I was getting lazy again after a brief relapse (remember my Korean obsession? Well, I found a new K-Drama to obsess about). After about two weeks of abysmal idleness, I rethought my process and decided that I needed a new time management plan. Soon I began investing 2 hours each day on my novel in my bid to complete the novel this month.
I’ll admit, writing a novel is very hard — at least for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t have much practice. After all, it’s my first novel — the last two don’t count since I gave up before completing the first draft.
Thankfully I’ve been working consistently on my book these days while avoiding the semblance of anything Korean, especially Fated to Love You, my most recent K-Drama craze.
I love what I’m learning as I write. As characters on the page come to life, they often do unexpected things. Sometimes as I edit I end up rewriting entire chunks of dialogue because a character refuses to say things the way I’d written it. There are ineffable moments — times that make me feel alive more than ever before. Times that seem to open a world inside me, a world so vibrant with light and promise I can’t dare ignore it. In those brief moments I catch a glimpse of the possibilities and wish I could capture them in eternity’s hands, savour the magic…
Then there are days when I wonder why I dared to think I could write a book. Things don’t click. The groove is dead and it’s like I’m trying to dance in broken stilettos.
But I remain encouraged because I know that God can help me accomplish what seems like impossible goals. Advice from writers like Ishion Hutchinson keeps me motivated. He told me after I contacted him with my usual stalking methods that the cultivation of certain practices in my private world is what really matters — for instance a devotion to reading and writing. I’ll never forget that simple yet profound advice. For me those practices begin with the creation of a structure. It begins with organizing a plan or schedule that gives me time to do what I love.
So starting this month I’ll be creating my Lifelong Learning Curriculum. It’ll include the areas of study that I want to focus on such as fiction writing, poetry, science as well as information regarding submission deadlines for literary journals and writing competitions of interest. I’ll modify it depending on how things go.
My plans are still a bit rough but I’m sure if I stick to this structure I’ll get way more done each day as well as in the long term. I’m confident that as each of us evaluate ourselves, we’ll gain insight to know what we need to do to accomplish the goals we seek. All the best to students as well who’ll be starting a new school year this month. Make the most of it 🙂
P.S. I’ll be searching the web for free courses/ resources as well and will share them on this blog. I hope you’ll find this useful whether you’re an aspiring writer or avid learner. Also feel free to share information about interesting opportunities for lifelong learning that you’ve discovered in your quest to increase your knowledge.