I love the way that random events come together in my life to get me right where I need to be. A conversation with my amazing acupuncturist led me to the community college to sign up for a series of 3 writing classes that were due to start the following week.
I was so excited for my first class. It’s all I talked about for the week following up to it. I’m sure Ken was sick of the conversation. So excited. Finally, the day came. As it got closer to the 3:00 start time, I started to get butterflies. I’m the first to admit that I have a little social anxiety. The thought of going into a room full of people I might not know can be hard for me. Couple that with the fact that I’ve never gone to a writers conference, never taken a writing class, never studied writing in college, never really been published (unless you count the handful of online how-to articles I wrote about how to get rid of ants and fleas).
Never one to step away from turning mole hills into mountains, I worked myself up into a pretty good anxiety attack with my mind screaming “what if they find out that you’re not really a writer?!” followed by the vision of being laughed out of the room by the group of REAL writers.
Now, in the past, this whole mental thing would have gotten out of hand and I would have found an excuse not to attend a class that I really wanted to attend just to make sure that none of my vividly imagined events could ever happen. But, I’m turning over new leaves daily and I was determined to overcome and show up. And I did.
It was a good class and it was filled with people at all levels of writing expertise. The class was taught by someone I know and enjoy reading. Ned Hickson is the editor of our local newspaper and the writer of a syndicated humor column as well as the author of at least two books.
Our first class was filled with introductions and sharing our “why” for taking the class. Lots of good information was handed out during our first session but the most memorable part of the class was shortly after we had gone through the introductions and several people had said “well, I’m not really a writer, but…”. Ned said he wanted to get something out there right away before we got further into the class. And that’s when it happened…Validation.
The life changing message that Ned delivered? If you have ever struggled over words, obsessed over the way things are written and what people are going to think of what you write, then there is no doubt that you ARE a writer.
Holy Hell. Can that be true?! If so, I’ve been a writer for years. Really, mind blown. There is not a single blog post I’ve written over the years that I’ve been blogging that I haven’t written, read, re-written, made Ken listen to me read aloud, re-written, published and then obsessively went back and read again and again just to make sure I said things correctly. Even after I’m satisfied (to a point) that the post is ok, I still go back and check for comments and hope that people are reading and enjoying what I have to say and that I haven’t made a fool of myself. I have never taken the things that I write and put of for others to see lightly.
I have a file full of book outlines that I’ve put together over the years and a tea book that I go great guns on for weeks and then set it aside thinking “who am I to think I can publish a book? I’m not a writer!” Except, according to Ned, I am. And hey, if Ned Hickson says it’s so, well, then it has to be.
I’m very much looking forward to using the wealth of information that I got from those 3 classes and finally getting serious about my writing and actually finishing a project or two. It’s one of my fondest hopes that something I write will make a difference in someone’s life one day. To me, that would be a wonderful legacy.