My first class through UCLA commenced today: a 2-weekend intensive with Seth Fischer entitled: Story Structure for Narrative Nonfiction. I spent most of the day in a hoodie and headphones, absorbing everything I could from a small group of writers in different career phases, a thoughtful instructor, and selected texts.
My favorite things about home school (besides not leaving the house):
1. You can turn off your audio/video and use the restroom or take a break while still listening to the class.
2. Taking breaks in your own home - incredibly comfortable and efficient.
3. Seeing everyone's faces at once, and all the accoutrements of their chosen Zoom space. I like seeing people in their homes, in their zen corners, as cats and daughters and significant others pass by in the background. There's an ease about it.
4. As an introvert, I'm more comfortable in my own space and relax a little more around new people, although meeting 8 other brave and empowered writers with a vast wealth of knowledge and experience was definitely intimidating in nature. Luckily everyone was extremely kind and generous.
I learned to trust my subconscious on the first draft (lots of practice with that). I learned how nonfiction narrators cultivate reliability, empathy, and likability. I learned that the best way to learn how to do something is to read the work of an author who's done it successfully. I learned that if any person or type of feedback makes you feel like you shouldn't write, it's not serving you. I learned through a group exercise how to flesh out deeper, juicier character details--yes, nonfiction contains 'characters' even if they're real people. I learned I have a lot of writing, and reading to do.