When I began my Creative Writing degree I hesitated to call myself a writer. I had been writing since I was ten, sitting at my old computer typing rows and rows of words on the screen. My writing had been primarily fantasy, the lengths were sometimes astronomical reading over 70,000 words. However, I knew deep down that most of it was drivel and that I needed to find my true calling in writing.
De Montfort University's team of tutors encouraged us all to experiment in writing, from prose to poetry. We looked at pieces of art, went on city jaunts and shared work with each other. I was used to sharing my work, but this was new, my writing was new and I was nervous. Poetry was never my strength and sadly still isn't, but I see it as something to work on. I strived to find what I loved to write, my calling in the writing world, and hoped that would come about the second or third year.
When The Demon Crew magazine came about at the end of the first year, I submitted a piece named Liberation: 1972. It was snapshot of one of the first gay pride marches in London, a brief 200 words. In the second year, I submitted a workshop piece to a new literary magazine called Party in your eye socket, and once that was accepted, I felt like I was slowly getting there. Once more, in that year, I sent a new piece to the annual The Demon Crew magazine. It was accepted, and was a totally different, experimental piece of work.
In the Second Year I didn't want to play it safe with my writing. Due to sudden illness and hospitalisation, I had a lot of time to read and dabbled in Japanese literary fiction such as Murakami. Combine that with my English half of my degree and the module of Modernist fiction, I had a crazy urge to let lose with my writing. Cue a portfolio of feminist experimental fiction that ranged from issues of changing of the bride's name at marriage and a youth's disgust with the abomination of a pregnancy. I had writing on magical realism and talking animals.
When it came to my final year and my dissertation, I knew it had to be in creative writing. I now knew that I wanted to write literary fiction, and I could merge genres and experiment. However, I hadn't found a direct genre I preferred as over the years I went from historical to feminism to magic realism. So I revisited historical, after visiting an old abandoned Lido in my home town Ipswich. I spent almost a year visiting the place and grafting this small series of literature. I stooped it in detail, experimented with form and came out with a project I am proud of. Never had I worked so hard on a piece of writing. I may have been writing novel-length works at eleven and twelve but it compared nothing to crafting this piece.
I learnt a hard lesson in the third year of university, and that was that I would never have a 'calling' to a certain type of work. It wasn't a stupid notion to chase after, but it wasn't for me. I like to push myself, to dabble in experimenting to take my work further. I don't think I would ever be happy committing myself to historical fiction or fantasy novels.
Now I am a graduate, and Co-Editor and Co-Creator of The Crane Papers (a small literary magazine that came out of a module of my degree). Although I am going into teaching, I want writing to always be a pillar in my life and my work. Writing not only teaches you aspects of language but encourages you to explore areas of life. That will always interest me and now, I begin my graduate experience of the writing world.