Hello and welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, otherwise known as the official meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). The IWSG is a super secret, crazy exclusive group of writers who band together to support each other. If you’d like to get to know the other members, read about their writing adventures, and perhaps sign up yourself, click here to discover everything you need to make that happen.


This week my mind is full of Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass. I plan to review the class here when I’ve completed it, but I’m taking my time to glean as much of Neil’s story sorcery as I can. I’m on Lesson 4 of 19, a week from beginning and I am buzzing with quiet inspiration and small thrills of discovery. This is a sensation I often get from taking writing classes, which I get to do every few years and not often enough. The alchemy of immersing myself in writing craft with a guide I admire is a delight.

There are such nuggets of Neil gold in there too. I’ve probably worn my readers’ ears off raving about Neil Gaiman. Fun fact: while he is my favorite writer, I do not love, or always like, everything he writes which somehow makes him stand out all the more.

Two quotes from the class have made it into my notebook, to be tattooed across my writing desk’s wooden flesh in some distant future. The first, has elicited a few gasps in conversation, and let me tell you, packs a wallop in the lecture, is about showing vs telling:

“I’m not going to tell you to feel sad. I’m going to kill a unicorn and break your heart.” – Neil Gaiman.

That line got to me. Wow.

From another lesson, this quote helped me pick myself up on a day with multiple rejection letters, which always gets to me. I can handle one per day. Two hurts.

“You learn more from finishing a failure than you do from writing a success.” – Neil Gaiman.

I have written multiple failures, and I’ll write many more. It’s good to be reminded that those stories do have a purpose.

(FYI that line does ring a bit familiar from an essay in The View from the Cheap Seats, but there is little regurgitated material thus far in the class).

In terms of output, I’ve outlined a new short story from the assignments in Lesson 3, and I will have to complete another before moving onto Lesson 5. This second one I’m expected to write in a single setting but as a toddler’s mother… I expect it will have to be flash fiction for me to pull it off. Unless you’re willing to babysit, hmm?

This is the most writing heavy course I’ve taken before, which is perfect for a hibernation-friendly month like February in Canada. It’s going to be an inspiring month.

20 thoughts on “IWSG: taking Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass

  1. Those are good quotes. As I recall, there was a dead unicorn in one of the Harry Potter books, and that moment did come as a bit of a shock. But the thing about learning from your failures is, I think, a more important lesson. It’s something a lot of struggling writers, including myself, need to be reminded of from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here from Alex’s blog. As a fellow literary wannabe, your post resonated with me. Rejection is the hardest part of the business, IMHO. It’s also an inevitable part. Even the greats like J.K Rowling and Stephen King, received rejections. At least we’re in good company, LOL. This said, I wanted to leave you with words that have carried me through since I was 18. I don’t remember the name of the poet, but I’ll paraphrase for you–“Each failure is a rung in the ladder to success.” Essentially, keep climbing and someday, you’ll make it to the top. Happy writing.


    1. I noticed they have a year’s subscription that is the price of two classes. They’ve sent me a few offers already to pay the difference and turn my one class into a subscription. There are several writing classes, so it’s tempting, though perhaps not in the budget at this time.


  3. Sounds like a great class! That unicorn quote, wow…

    Ronel visiting for Feb’s IWSG Day Being an Insecure Writer — And Happy About It


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