My Creative Writing MA was extremely enjoyable. I met talented, interesting people, learned a lot, and wrote my little heart out; striving to surpass myself with every story. I loved the warm, happy, cocoon-like feeling of mutual admiration. And although we were repeatedly warned it would be different once we graduated, no one really believed it. We didn’t want to think outside our little world, where we sat around and ate grapes and chocolate, musing about inspiration. We certainly didn’t want to know that the expansive feedback from classmates, neatly scribbled on the back of our stories, would one day be exchanged for a editor’s line or two of ego-shriveling reality.
They were right, of course. Writing on your own is not the same as having the support and buzzy feelings of a group hug. It is a lonely, often brutal place. Weeks, sometimes months go by without a positive word. It is exhausting enough to put your all into a project, knowing it might never be good enough; the constant doubts and insecurities piling up like early morning traffic.
Before, I had a smiling support group to see me through, we had coffee and drinks and dreamed about how we’d wow the world. Above all, we shared ideas and concepts, discussed our struggles and future writing selves, without really understanding that the echoes of past dialogues would melt into nothingness.
Without someone to bounce your ideas off, the process of writing becomes white and silent. Solitary. A writer without the training wheels on.