Blog, Fear, Writing

Frightening First Steps

Day 41

I always imagined that by the time I reached my sixties I would no longer be afraid of trying new things. I take jewelry classes and workshops without fear. Art has always been a little easier for me than other things. Yesterday I started to ponder joining a local writers workshop and it has me wondering if I am good enough.

Published Authors

Let’s be honest here. When I see names such as Kurt Vonnegut, Alex Haley and Eudora Welty as prior members, I think I must be crazy for even considering such a thing.

elements of styleOn the other hand, with the caliber of prior members, maybe there would be a huge benefit for me. But I am scared. My command of grammar and punctuation is not what it once was. When I first started as a blog writer for professionals, so much went out the window. It was so hard for me to stop putting two spaces at the end of a sentence. It was a must for alignment of blogs — but has that rule changed?

Is The Elements of Style still the goto handbook? Ugh. A few months ago I signed up for a Sunday night online writers group. I was afraid then, too. I was much relieved when I realized punctuation and grammar were not at all a focus of the group. But writing for publication is a different animal altogether.

What Do I Have to Lose?

The first workshop of interest is this weekend. The subject is writing your memoir. That feels like a comfortable place to start. I do have commitments this weekend, so it might not be possible, but I am excited — and nervous — simply thinking about the possibility.

I think about how much I could learn and spending time with people who write for a living might be a powerful influence. Back in the recesses of my mind, I hear that inner critic laughing and saying, “Who are you trying to kid?”

NaNoWriMo

I am also trying to be cognizant of the impediments to my success with NaNoWriMo this year. November is a crazy month to take on anything new.

Now I sit thinking about the pros and cons of taking this step right now. Maybe the right thing is to pay the annual membership, enter a few of their writing contests (which include critiques) and think about workshops after the first of the year. Then I could finish my NaNoWriMo goal.

Am I a Writer?

I struggle with identifying as a writer. Are there successful authors who started this late in life? Are my arguments logical or fear based? Am I listening to myself or is it that nagging internal critic’s voice I keep hearing?

I feel very much at home when I write. But that does not mean I have the skills to write something for publication. This fear is uncomfortable and maybe conquering the fear should be incentive enough.

(As I write this I remember there is a Grammarly extension for Chrome. Maybe I should install it. Doubts, doubts and more doubts!)

“The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.”
Alan Dean Foster

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Frightening First Steps”

  1. Maggie the moment you put pen to paper you became a writer. I have seen you, heard you, and chatted with you. You are by all definitions, a writer. The way I see it WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE? You only have something to gain, which is the opportunity to get your prose out there for everyone to read. You decide on the timing, the method, and the way you share your thoughts. I personally look forward to an autographed copy of your book.
    Gentle hugs,
    Lauren

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, thank you, Lauren. Timing. Yes, I think you may be right, it could all be about the timing. We will see about the book — that’s a long way away. Ha!

      Like

  2. Maggie… “Frightening First Steps” are only moments in our minds when self trepidation gets us thinking in our minds….

    Are you good enough? Good enough for who… you know the answer to this … you are in no competition with anyone & what you bring is your oen lifes story and a willingness to write.

    There are many people in life who say “i wish i could write” well Maggie you can…. procrastination isnt who you are you are a “sister scriber” … & you are great at what you write and share.

    Take the plunge and justbthink sbout the things thst will pop into your mind after joining that writing group after just one day..

    Do It Maggie !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am really considering joining the group and submitting writing. I do think I will wait on workshops until the first of the year. Thank you for your encouragement, Tanya.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie, first of all, you’re an excellent writer. Your blog posts, especially the remembering ones are wonderfully evocative.

    Whether we consider ourselves “writers” doesn’t really reflect whether we make our living writing, or are published, I think.

    A relatively few folks make a living writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. My hubbie, who’s written two substantial books, wouldn’t have been able to live on the proceeds….I’ve done two small books, both published by private/non-profit presses — do they count? Well, why not?

    I think what matters most is that we spend time crafting good prose, writing about what we care about, in whatever venue that is.

    It took me a long time before I described myself as a writer, on my blog site and personal website, but after 2,100 blog posts, I figured that that was a reasonable description, since I’d also written all sorts of other things as part of my work over the years, as did you.

    Of course, I’ve had book projects in the back of my mind for some time, especially post-retirement, so I understand the “frightening” part — just join and do it. Why not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa, you make it all sound so easy. I am in awe of anyone who is published for sure. I think the big names scared me a bit. I am really considering joining….I mean, that’s the easy part. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Forgot those big names! They’re not important.

        Everyone is scared around some sort of creativity, I think — some areas more than others, especially those of us who tip-toed around the edges in our work lives, even though creativity was a huge part of why you were good at what you did, I’m sure, as it was in my work life.

        The writer’s group in your area may not be the right fit, but you won’t know until you show up! I’m even thinking about going to a writer’s group holiday party in December. Totally scary. I went to one meeting with a friend a couple of years ago and haven’t been back since….partially because of traveling, also because it didn’t seem to be a group that was relevant to me, but, groups change, too.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lisa, this group is in Asheville, but I like what I am seeing thus far. Yes, fear can be a hurdle to all creative endeavors. Time will tell. I am ready to test the waters.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. There are a number of vibrant writing groups in Asheville, as you know. I’ve thought about the one you’ve potentially connected with — the Asheville Writer’s group is the one that I’ve been to just once.

        Let me know if you want company — it is intimidating. Obviously, I haven’t managed to connect to any of these groups yet! It’s hard to figure out where you fit in, after all.

        Like

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