Overcoming a writing disaster
I still remember the moment it happened.
‘There’s a problem with the dissertation. Unfortunately, it didn’t pass.’
It was like being hit by not just one tonne of bricks, but a thousand, and not in one go either. Instead, it felt like a small child was throwing them one at a time against the back of my head as I tried to walk away with at least a shred of dignity and self-esteem.
Everything I had worked towards over the last four months was labelled as ‘a problem’. Which was actually quite flattering as it turned out there were so many problems they gave up writing feedback after page two. That must be a record? Either way, failure wasn’t something you’d expect from someone who had averaged B’s throughout their Master’s modules.
That was the moment my life started to feel like it was going nowhere.
The worst part though, was having to tell everyone I hadn’t passed. Your brain goes into over drive with all the things that could be said. It felt like yet another hurdle after such an ordeal.
The news was generally met with confusion, anger and sympathy. I remember having a huge crying fit in the stairs and on the shoulders of two of my lecturers. I even cried in front of the exam board. But I’m not ashamed, as it was a terrifying and devastating experience. Not just realising I’d failed, but telling your family and friends that you’d failed after having to enter a room of experts in their field staring at you intently.
You could say my week sucked. And it was only Monday.
This was over two years ago now.
I spent the next year of my life piecing my Master’s Degree back together. Attending sessions with my dissertation tutor and then another when she went on leave. I was also continuing to work full-time and volunteer as a Copyeditor to get the experience I needed to pursue writing further.
It took everything I had to keep going up to Uni on the train and endure hours of talking through errors, misguided reading and what to do next.
My parents (especially my mum), my boyfriend, my friends, all helped me check through the final version of my dissertation. There were tears, hissy fits, mental breakdowns and days when I wanted to give up completely and catch the first flight out of here.
But by September 2015, it was done and handed in. I had to wait two months for the results.
November came around and soon it was results day. I spent the day out the house, trying to distract myself whilst checking my emails every 5 minutes (I will never understand why my brain decided the best way to avoid it was to constantly keep checking away from home).
6 o’clock and everyone had had their results. Everyone … except me. I frantically text my supervisor, apologising for texting, but desperately needing closure as to whether I had the wrong day because I was a retake.
She text back apologising that I hadn’t heard. I had passed. But passed with what? If my dissertation hadn’t passed I would get a Post-Graduate Certificate, but if it has passed I would have the full MA Degree.
I text her asking if I had the full MA and I did.
I went to my parents and told them. My mum cried, I cried, even my dad cried (he felt the need to point at his tears to prove how happy he was).
Why am I telling you this?
Because those two years were my weakest and strongest of my life. It crumbled my dreams of ever being involved in Children’s Literature, but also proved to me that I could do it. It was also the moment that made me evaluate what I was doing and how I was doing it.
It’s what makes me overthink my writing and think twice before posting a blog post. But it’s also what gives me the motivation to continue to prove that I can do something.
My story about overcoming my fear is still ongoing and although it may not be as grand as some famous authors’, it’s an important chapter in my life *cringe at that very suitable cliché*
Have any of you guys ever had to overcome obstacles to write?