Okay, I'm gonna show my age. When I was in college (the first time) I took creative writing. The class was so popular that the first time I tried to enroll it was full, so I had to wait until the next semester (Kinda like my four-year-old's soccer league. If you don't register an hour after registration opens, you miss out). I was a journalism major and had some idea that I'd get my degree, give Reader's Digest a call, and become a brilliant columnist who typed (yes, on a manual. Computers were around. There were two in the school's newspaper room but neither my friends nor I had one) a few pages that were published every month and then I'd sit around and by patted on the head (You did read the blog about me being raised an only child?).
Back to topic. I finally got into the creative writing class. For assignments, we were to write 2 - 3 pages stories or poems or whatever and then the teacher would copy them on colored paper and pass them around for the class to read (think poke fun at).
The first time I got an assignment back, the teacher had written across the top: Did you really write this?
He didn't mean it as a compliment. Back in those days, teachers didn't have Google to help them look for plagiarism. He truly thought I'd stolen it. I was young and naive and didn't hit him over the head with my three page science fiction story (I was a big Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams fan back then). I also did not drop. I stayed in the class.
Did you really write this? could have caused me to throw my typewriter out the window (Don't worry, I lived in a bottom floor apartment). It didn't. I actually remember thinking, "When I publish, I'm sending this guy my book!" Unfortunately, by the time I'd published fifteen years had gone by, and I couldn't remember the professor's name.
BTW, a plug for someone I don't know... Thanks to Brandt Dobson, author of Daniel's Den, for the idea for this blog. He put in his bio over at the Christian Fiction's Online Magazine that it was during a creative writing course in college that a professor said,
"You're a good writer. With a little effort and work, you could be a very good writer."
Two examples, very different, but with the same affect: to push someone into writing more. If you're not writing today, for whatever reason, go ahead and renew, and get at least three pages on that manuscipt. You might not get a pat on the head, but you can walk around with your head up high.