DIY MA - Developing a Routine


Current reading for pleasure and insight


I was under no illusions when I committed to this course of self-directed study that hard work would be required and that would only be possible with a clear routine.

To this end I have mapped the next eleven weeks against my current calendar and identified all the periods of time that I can currently commit to study. By ‘period of time’ I mean one of morning, afternoon or evening, each worth about three hours.

I see I have every Wednesday evening available and I shall allocate some of that time to writing a blog post for this Website.


The syllabus has three parts:

1. Craft Seminar

2. Writing Workshop and Manuscript Project

3. Professional Development Masterclass

I am not yet ready to undertake any of the work of the Professional Development Masterclass so this term I shall concentrate on the first two elements of the course.


Craft Seminar 1 Getting Started: Memory Observations, Voice

This week I have read and made notes on Chapter one of ‘Writing Fiction’ by Janet Burroway and Chapter one of ‘Steering the Craft’ by Ursula Le Guinn.

I am hoping that making notes as I read will result in greater recall and understanding.

I have undertaken the ‘Being Gorgeous’ exercise in the Le Guinn and I have begun a Journal as suggested by Burroway.

I have also begun work on the ‘I Remember’ exercise suggested in the syllabus. I have found a couple of extracts from John Brainard’s work, ‘I Remember’ and also a recording of John Brainard reading part of this work on soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/russ-wade-1/i-remember-excerpt-july-70

I am finding this exercise intense and deeply personal. Each memory invoked leads to further memories as it is written, often in unpredictably different directions.


Writing Workshop

Little has been done for the writing workshop so far.

I have used a completed exercise as the basis for a 500-word story.

I plan, during the rest of this week, to undertake more of the exercises in the texts and on Andrew Wille’s website https://wille.org/blog/home/


Current Reading

‘Writing Fiction’ Janet Burroway – Chapter 1 Whatever Works

‘Steering the Craft’ Ursula Le Guinn – Chapter 1 The Sound of Your Writing

‘Reading Like a Writer’ Francine Prose – Chapter 1 Close Reading

‘Fingersmith’ Sarah Waters to page 100

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