Getting ready to workshop

Happy Monday everyone!

As I sit here at my desk (and it feels great to type that because I’ve been parted from my favorite piece of furniture for far too long), sipping my tea, I am thinking about the week ahead. There’s a nice to-do list for my job, a party on Saturday, and oh! Workshopping!

That faint sound you hear is the sound of my anxiety.

First, I should explain what workshopping is to people who are unfamiliar with the term as it applies to writers. Basically you take the novel you’re working on, you sit in a room with an instructor and a few fellow writers who have all read your work before class, and then they rip it to shreds in front of you. Sounds like fun, right?

Well, sort of. It’s not fun to receive criticism, but as many people will tell you, it’s necessary, especially to improve your work and your abilities as a writer. That doesn’t make it any less nerve-wracking. The last workshop I took was an intro one, where the class focused on exercises for writing, setting goals, and generally trying not to get bogged down by all the negativity surrounding the passion for writing. It was a great class and I learned so much, but it was definitely a ‘let’s sit around the campfire, hold hands, sing kumbaya’ kind of thing. Which is great to start off, but the class definitely left me hungry for more.

The class I start on Saturday is an intensive, meaning that it’s a shortened time frame with long classes and lots of work in between. It’s also taught by a guy who looks super friendly in his bio picture and is a published writer. The thing that made me sign up and fork over the coin for this class was the fact that I’d be getting direct feedback on my idea and writing. That, to me, is priceless. It’s exciting because I’ll hopefully get some much needed direction, advice, and a little excitement injected in my system. I need it. At the same time, it also makes me want to barf.

Sometimes I feel like there is some sort of smarmy, pessimistic, evil miniature vulture sitting on my shoulder whispering sweet negatives into my ear. One of those negatives is that I’m going to go into this class extremely hopeful and optimistic and this William fellow is going to tell me either I suck at writing, or I’m too young to be doing this, or my ideas are shit, etc. I know it will send me spiraling too, considering how much I have set aside, rearranged, and just plain abandoned to put the writing thing at the top of my list of life priorities.

I still feel all of this even after I’ve received pretty good validation that I should be a writer (humble, I know).  It’s scary to start this part of the process. But I can’t let the fear overshadow the excitement, which is the reigning feeling, at least five days out (perhaps that will shift to fear as we get closer). The vulture sits on my shoulder, but he sits on lots of people’s shoulders. I am not unique in having doubts and worries. Being scared says something about you, but I’ve always been more interested in what you do even though you are scared. That says more.

I’ll be sure to update on how workshop goes (cross your fingers for me!). Until then, I’m out.


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