The Student Becomes The Writer
Last week, I talked about the struggles of confidence in being a storyteller. If you’ve come back to the Margaret River Press blog today, you’re going to notice a certain theme in my writing about writing – total and utter insecurity.
This time last week, I handed in my Masters thesis. While saying farewell to the 17, 000 word research project felt like an enormous relief, it stirred other emotions in me – those of vague fear, unease and triviality.
Saying goodbye to my thesis marks the beginning of the end of my journey as a creative writing student at Melbourne Uni – a journey that I’ve been on for the past 5 years, from undergrad to Masters. In just a few weeks, I’ll no longer be a creative writing student, but simply me, Kate_Glenister, an individual who lives no longer in pursuit of becoming a writer, but as a writer herself. A free agent.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t at all believe that a person must formally study in order to be considered a writer and I’m certain that there are hundreds of interesting conversations to be had about the downside to institutionalising a creative practice like storytelling.
But for me, studying creative writing has always felt like somewhat of a safe guard, like I could excuse any lack of talent or lack of recognition for the fact that I was still a student; a novice, still in training and in pursuit of perfecting my skills. I know this seems like a bit of a logical fallacy, as creative writing – like any creative practice – isn’t really the kind of thing that you can fully master and then be done learning. You’re always learning, formally or not. For me, being a formal student of creative writing has just always served as a safety net for the ever-present, always terrifying real world.
Soon, that safety net will be gone and I feel like I’m at one of those all-important crossroads in my life, where I either choose to be confident in my practice or I don’t. Proclaiming myself to be a ‘writer’ feels like a scary choice, because it returns me back to my original question from last week’s blog – what gives me the right to do so?
Within the confines of class work, I have had a definite reason to write and a guaranteed audience. On the precipice of the real world, I’m saying goodbye to those things and looking around in envy at all the brilliant people I see out here; writers I follow on Twitter, authors stacked up on my bookshelf, the talented company that I keep in ‘Shibboleth & Other Stories’ and I hope that I can find the confidence to become a writer in my own right.