School's Out!


Well, that’s it. A few days of absolutely no peeping so that I can spot any mistakes when I sit down for a final read-through, then it’s print it in triplicate and send if off to the OU. My End of Course Assessment, the culmination of two years of hard work towards my Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing. Sheesh! I’ve worked hard for this, much harder than when I went through the sausage-machine of university the first time – just goes to show what you’re prepared to do when you really want something as opposed to thinking you want something.

It’s going to be very strange not always having the next Tutor Marked Assignment ahead of me, but there’s lots to look forwards to on the writing front. I’m going to really enjoy concentrating on the current novel, but I’m also hoping to find time to write and submit more poetry too.

The photo is a summary of two years work. My trusty knitted monkey sits on my printer – goodness knows I’m not a soft toy person, and my preferred tea is Earl Grey, but when I opened the tea box and saw this sad, squashed face looking up at me, I just sort of... fell in love with it. The pencil tin used to belong to Dad, so it’s another personal talisman. However, there’s also a pile of notebooks there which probably point to the most useful tip I can pass on to other writers. If you don’t already do it, buy a notebook and write anything you like in it – but keep writing, keep adding to it. Fill it with cuttings – mine contains everything from a gran who knits bosoms (don’t ask me) to how to arrange your own funeral. Don’t censor yourself – just fly. You’ll be amazed at where your notebook will take you.

Comments

Jane Lovering said…
Congratulations on being nearly done!
(I have one of those monkeys too, having had the same response to the little squashy face in the box. He lives on the bookcase in our bedroom. Is that sad?)

Good advice on the notebook too.
L-Plate Author said…
Yes, well done Chris (I'm sure you wouldn't have done so well without the help of monkey...)

Was the course a lot of money? I'd like to do something like that. x
Debs said…
Congratulations from me too.

I agree that you can never have too many notebooks and was so excited when I found one in a bag in the boot of my car the other day (such an exciting life).
Milla said…
I've somehow missed a few posts from you and am, as always, in need of a sit down. So busy. Has it really been TWO years since you started?? I'd've said 8 months. Oh God. And yes, what would we do without notebooks. My purchasing regime is self-limited by only liking blank ones but am obsessed. Congrats on finishing, AND on Tom!!
Fran said…
I have a drawer full of notebooks, some with the first page torn out ... testament to a lot of abandoned projects. Very sad!
Hell I've got one of those monkeys too! And an awful lot of notebooks
Well done you!!
Oh, well done, Chris. You've done something to really be proud of. Can quite understand your yen for Mr Monkey - he's got character. Excellent advice on the notebook front. That bosom-knitting gran sounds as though she may just come in useful somewhere down the line. I look forward to spotting her popping up in one of your novels one of these days.
Frances said…
Bravo, Chris!

You've accomplished so very much this year (of course, the accomplishing began many years back!)

Hoping there will be lots of celebrating around your place. And that many more notebooks will be filled.

xo
Chris Stovell said…
Jane, do you they think those monkeys were designed to prompt that response? I'm not even very fond of monkeys!

Hi Mel - have DM'd you on FB with facts and figs. Thanks!

Debs, having slight panic because I'm running out of my preferred notebooks! Finding some must have been a good moment.

Milla, you sound rushed off your feet, so good to see you whenever.

Fran, Ah! (Halo gleaming) That used to be me! Don't tear those pages out, you don't even have to read them - just keep going.

SBS, it's a PG plot! One day the monkeys will turn on us!

LBD, hmmn, I have been wondering about how to slip a bosom-knitting grannie into the mix!

Frances, hello! Have you got your apartment back to yourself? Thanks for your kind comment.
Jude said…
I'm the same with sketch books..I note things down, draw in them, and cut pictures out..everything that stimulates my creativity!!
We are toying with the idea of distance learning..
Congratulations on all your hard work..
Take care
Flowerpot said…
That monkey is just lovely Chris! And I'm a great fan of notebooks too - very seductive I find. If you know what I mean!
Flowerpot said…
PS I meant to say congratulations as well - brain not working today!
Cottage Garden said…
Many, many congratulations Chris - another achievement in your household - it's becoming a regular thing now!

Monkey is just too cute, and I can understand you keeping your Dad's pencil tin close by.

Notebooks - you can never have too many - some inspiring tips there too!!

Jeanne
x

btw I haven't read Waterland by Graham Swift - but now I want to!! Will check it out at the library.
Joanne said…
Raising my coffee cup in a toast of congrats for receiving your degree! What a wonderful accomplishment! And I love your notebook encouragement, and the idea that the notebook will take us somewhere. I keep journals for each writing project, and it's amazing how they fill up.
Lane said…
Well done Chris - it must be a giddy feeling indeed.

You may have noticed I like notebooks. Can't get me enough of them. Mind you, I can't decide which I yearn for more now - a knitted monkey or a bosom knitting granny:-)
Chris Stovell said…
Jude, thank you for your comments - good luck with the distance learning if you decide to do it... it does get addictive though I'm glad of a rest!

Fp, I do know! There's always room for new notebook.

Jeanne, thank you- it just seems to have come together at once... makes a change from it all going wrong at once though!

Joanne, welcome and thank you - I enjoyed reading about your journals too. So many of us lovingly filling noteboooks and journals!

Lane... good to see you. How about a bosom knitting monkey? Now go back and fill those notebooks! Writing Pants on!
Calico Kate said…
Think I might print this out and pin it to the wall. You are an inspiration, (which is something I am lacking). Though I have signed up to the second part of the same course, I doubt I ill be getting any commendations.
Well done you & I will try to start writing on paper rather than just in my head.
CKx
Nishant said…
well done Chris (I'm sure you wouldn't have done so well without the help of monkey...)
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