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.
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.
On 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?”
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