Recently there has been an advertisement rolling around for this website called “Master Class”. People who are experts, masters of their craft have come together to create classes to help people unlock passions and potential. For the last few weeks they have been offering a buy one get one membership deal. This year we took advantage of that deal. We gifted the free membership to my parents and Dusty and I are going to share the one we paid for.
On Saturday night I was looking through the different course options and decided the first Master Class I am going to take is a writing course by Malcolm Gladwell. His course focuses more on the non-fiction side of writing while the other courses are more fiction based.
The course is broken down into a series of 24 videos. Each video lesson is around 15-20 minutes long. There is also a work book that supplements the lessons and includes an assignment to work through. There is an online message board component called “The Hub” where students can work through the assignments, provide feedback to other students, and receive feedback on their work. I have not decided if I am going to be using that platform but I did decide I was going to work through the assignments here on the blog.
Structuring Narrative: The Imperfect Puzzle (AKA Lesson 2)
Ok, so lesson one was just an introduction to the teacher (Malcolm Gladwell) and an over view of the course so the real work begins with lesson 2. In this lesson he talks about how sometimes when writing, especially when it comes to non-fiction, the puzzle doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, sometimes the writings that are most remembered are the ones that just don’t seem to fit quite right. He talks about an article he read at some point where the author never actually answered the question that was poised at the beginning of the article. It turns out that the author put in all this time and research into a problem only to be called away to a different project and never got to the conclusion of the research. Rather than scrapping the whole thing he published what he had and left the reader to determine the answer for themselves. I’ll be honest, the idea of this just makes my grit my teeth. I am afraid I will have to work through that for a while before I become comfortable with that concept.
The homework for this lesson is:
Finding an interesting story is a little like standing before a blank canvas. A great writer can write on any topic. But how do you pick the right thing? Make a list of things you’re interested in.
- What kinds of television shows do you watch?
- I tend to find myself watching cooking competition shows. I really enjoy seeing all the creative ways that people use seemingly simple ingredients.
- What are the news stories you find yourself reading?
- I rarely read the news. I don’t find it helpful or informative in the slightest. Everyone out there has some angle they are working and there is some hidden or not so hidden agenda. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not but it’s where I am at in the world today.
- What kind of music do you listen to?
- I listen to a little bit of all kinds of music when I find myself listening to music at all. There are times that I find music being more sound pollution in my world as a SAHM of 3 very active kids so when I do listen to music I have to really be in the mood. HOWEVER, due to my most recent obsession with Refit Revolution and dance based workouts I have been listening to a lot more music that I can work out to rather than just for the sake of listening to.
- What do you like to do on the weekends?
- Weekends tend to be taken up with any number of things. Some weekends we use to just rest while others we are using to get projects accomplished we didn’t get done during the week. Almost always there is some form of LARPing interaction that is done. With the current stay home orders and social distancing all of those activities have been done in a digital manner but once we are able to resume some form of normal sized gatherings again I am sure that will all change.
Mining your own interests for a subject can quickly lead you to a story you’ll enjoy writing. So make a list of five to seven ideas and share them with your classmates here. (In this case, you wonderful readers on the internet) Do any of your ideas resonate with them? (Well? Do they? Let me know in the comments) Which ones? And why?
Based on the questions, and my subsequent answers to them above here are a few ides of topics I have considered expanding on.
- Creativity in the Home Kitchen: How can I take my love of cooking competition shows and translate them to trying new things at home? Is it economically responsible to do so with the chance that my kids (ages 9,7,2) won’t like or eat what I make and then we end up with a lot of food waste?
- Our family’s response to the current world crisis. This one would be more than simply the 5 people that live in my home but possibly an interview style of as many of my family as I can get and how that all translates to how we are interacting with each other.
- My newest obsession: Refit Revolution. How I came to fall (back) in love with working out. How the community has made it so much more than a “work-out” and my plans to further my involvement with them. (Insert potential business opportuinty)
- Weekend Projects: The projects we have already done at the house, the projects we hope to do at the house, and a play-by-play of sorts for the ones we are in progress on.
So this isn’t exactly the way it is working it appears in “The Hub” but most of those writers are looking more at magazine articles and book topics while I am focusing on continual content for the blog so I have had to adapt some. Anyway, those are the ideas I am tossing around in my head. Let me know if any of them sound even remotely interesting.
Eventually I will be diving into a much more in-depth writing assignment so stay tuned. Who knows. Maybe I will begin to write that book after all. But until then, Happy Reading.