There is something about being in a room of 400 writers that makes you think you can take on the world. The energy is high, adrenaline is pumping (especially in those classes that requested that you actually READ your work to whoever was sitting next to you!) and inspiration abounds. You are surrounded by authors with various levels of success and yet – everyone seems to be accepting of each other with wherever they are…today. While there is discussion of long term plans, and all of those unwritten books, manuscripts or ideas floating in our heads, there still seems to be one common goal for every participant of the Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop – that you call yourself a writer when you leave.
Why is this one little task or one adoption of a title so difficult for us? I think because we base our definition of a writer on whatever we link to a “successful” writer. I cannot tell you the number of times that I answered the question of “what do you write?” with “Oh – I just blog and I’m not even doing that well right now”. Hopefully the other bloggers will not want to flog me at that statement. I don’t see you all as “just” anything – only myself. I didn’t even feel worthy of calling myself a “blogger” this go-around. I haven’t been writing regularly for two years. So today is my step of making sure that I write something.
For me this is also not due to a lack of support at home! My husband and boys are all supportive in spite of knowing that they are my most frequent topics. My friends are supportive. People that I work with even read my writing – although sometimes because I’ve left it on their desk – not because they have sought it out! I have an odd habit at work. When I’m frustrated or feeling unsettled, I leave anonymous little gifts or poems for the other managers. Weird – I know. It seems to sway me into a positive state again. When I first started this, I was walking through one area to hear – “One of the guys said it had to be you since we know you’re a writer”. Let me reiterate this…a man that I work with and see for about five minutes a day feels comfortable calling me a writer when I can’t seem to call myself one. Is there a medication for this?
So…now I am back in the land of reality. Work starts again tomorrow. Life will move forward and I’m asking myself, what will be different now? How do I grab onto the force that I’ve felt for the past three days and use it to spur me forward to not only call myself a writer….but for Lord’s sake…actually write something??
I think this is it.
From Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff I learned that writing is just like any other muscle – you have to use it to develop it.
From Tracy Beckerman – I learned a whole bunch of stuff that is tied to the alphabet – although I had to have someone fill in J for me later (I have no idea how I missed a letter!) including how to start looking at my website as a resume. (Please don’t judge now…it needs serious work!)
From Elaine Ambrose – I learned to look for opportunities to submit work and she, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry all gave me a vision about self publishing.
Judy Carter had me looking back over the years to find my message and Shannon Olson gave me great information on the mechanics of writing effectively.
Cathryn Michon gave great insight on the need for perseverance and thank you so much for not pointing out that I was a total idiot for getting your name wrong in the food line. At that moment, I knew I was a total idiot. No confirmation was necessary – If you ever read this, thank you for being gracious about it!
Wendy Liebman and Leighann Lord had me appreciating how much laughter bonds us together and how much power we have as humorists to change the world. Every person that got up to speak had a message that was full of promise and possibilities. So the question poses itself again – what will be different? I believe the answer is…me. I’ve wanted to take my writing seriously (odd adverb for wanting to write humor) ever since I started the first blog. So now is the time.
What will be different with you?