I've had a week agonising about my writing. My OU assignment came back with a mark significantly below what I wanted and even well below what I had realistically expected. The comments and feedback really didn't make it clear enough how I could have improved my grade. I already knew that I was far from the only person experiencing this, which was a comfort.
An email to my tutor did provide some further clarification and I am, of course, not blind to the failings of my work. Indeed I often find faults that others don't see. But for some reason this time the criticism hit me hard.
I've put my OU books aside and spent the rest of the week on my novel. I have recently restructured and savagely edited what was already there and added about 2,500 new words. At last I am feeling comfortable with my chosen style and structure, with the new tweaks I think it is starting to work.
The realisation has been creeping up on me recently that I just want to write accessible fiction, not the highly literary fodder of advanced level university courses. I am a great believer that books can be both commercial and very well written. The two are not mutually exclusive.
I'm not going to give up the course, because it can only improve my writing. But in my novel I intend to stay true to my own voice, which I feel is more commercial than literary. That is my comfort zone, for sure, but if I can get it to work, why would I need to experiment?
Three notable things:
1. We are very proud of son 1, who is having an interview for a college place on Monday and hopefully starting some work experience the following week. His discharge from the day service is planned for Christmas.
2. I spent yesterday evening talking to a group of parents with children on the autistic spectrum, mostly newly diagnosed. I really enjoy being able to show them that the future is not necessarily as bleak as they will be thinking right now.
3. After an appointment yesterday I ventured quickly into Marks and Spencer's one day sale. I took a look at the queues and walked right out again, as I would otherwise not have made my lunch meeting over a pizza.