Deep breath… unfold

BrillwrittenAssignment 2 landed in our post slot today. I took a deep breath before opening the envelope and unfolding the paperwork, terrified that I was going to be discovered as a rubbish writer.

Critiqued and returned by Alex Gazzola, the assignments were more positively reviewed than I had expected (read: feared). In fact, many of the pages were devoid of mark-up or corrections! He peppered words of praise and light correction throughout, but thankfully, I can see that none of his marks are just a polite pat on the back gesture. His tailored comments (on a separate sheet) provided in-depth practical advice on how I can improve on what I've done and how to apply the encouraging criticism to my next assignment. I don't know this guy, but am starting to really respect his opinion and guidance. (Of course, if he continues to say things like "brilliantly written" I'm going to need a larger hat size.)

I'm thrilled and relieved to have this assignment back. It took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally, but that was mainly due to the mire I had walked myself into. I have rebounded since and have been working and studying with a renewed self-image and confidence. I think this will show in my next assignment.

"A really good first "proper" assignment, Jennifer. Pursue all your ideas and work, and I look forward to assignment 3 in due course. Best wishes, Alex Gazzola"

Thank you, Alex. Your advice is valued and criticisms appreciated. I'm a better writer already.

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~ by Jen on Friday, 10 February 2006 - 2:00pm.

4 Responses to “Deep breath… unfold”

  1. I just sent my second assignment and searched for Alex’s name again, for the nth time and found your blog :). Looks like we share the same tutor.

    You have an interesting blog and I look forward to reading more of your assignments! (You are ahead of me in terms of the assignments, which is good for me, as I’ll have somewhere to refer too and a healthy competition never hurts 😉 )

  2. Hi Aalekh-
    Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

    Alex is a good tutor. I enjoy his frankness and his interpretation of the assignments. He is honest and can be frank to the point that it knocks you off guard slightly, but that’s possibly what I like best about him. He seems to treat me as I would likely be treated by editors and that is almost more important than the assignments themselves.

    I took a couple of months off between Assignment 4 and 5 to concentrate on my ‘day job’ of web development as well as sending out letters and tips to lots of publications. (I also wrote and sent off a short story to an international competition.) As soon as he says you’re ready to begin letters submissions, do it. Within the first nine I sent out I got paid and published for two of them. That’s my first £20 in the business! 🙂

    Don’t rush your lessons. You are expected to work on submissions outside of the coursework. At first I felt guilty about taking a couple of months off between Assignments 4 and 5, but now I know that my practice and submissions in that time will make for a better next assignment for him to critique.

    Hope this helps and good luck to us both!

  3. Thanks Jen,

    Even I felt guilty when it took me a month to finish the second assignment, but I have understood that it’s a part of the learning process. As soon as I sent the second one, I was brimming with ideas for the third one.

    Congrats on your 20 pounds, but I’m not as lucky as you are haha, as far as my research goes, magazines in India don’t pay for letters. Nonetheless I shall not loose hope. But sometimes I really wonder, when I read people testimonials and all the praises that they started earning within the first few assignments and covered their course fee.

    Regarding Alex, you are very right about the way he treats us. Honest and frank to the point. And to think I was expecting an over zealous guy, who would mail me everyday asking for my assignments!!

    Loved your other blog too. I almost got a tatoo once, when the craze hit all my friends, but backed out at the last moment, thinking “what if I get up one day, stand in front of the mirror and don’t like it?” hehe. Though I still plan to get a barcode tattooed, somewhere in the next 5 years 😉

    I seriously think that there should be a forum for people like us, who are doing this course, to share experiences, ideas and motivate each other. The monthly letter, after all, comes only once a month!! And since you ahead of me in the assignments, I think i’ll trouble you a bit more in the near future and seek ideas, when I’m stuck.

    Bty have you happened to mail him recently? His mail keeps on bouncing back from the past two days, and none of the blokes at the institute are replying to my emails!!


  4. Hiya Aalekh!

    I’m actually doing the course by post, so I’ve never actually emailed with Alex. Perhaps his mailserver is glitchy or something. It happens.

    Feel free to keep in touch over the course- you’re right, a forum could be helpful, but I think no one has done it specifically for this course because so many forums exist for writers already. I belong to a few, but admittedly don’t post to any of them…

    Thanks for checking out my other blog! I found yours too! 🙂

    Chat again soon,

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