I wanted to walk into the workshop exuding confidence. I had pepped-talked myself into feeling like a real writer about to embark on a great adventure — a small (yet monumental) step towards publication.
I was giddy with possibility: Maybe I’ll meet a writing bestie! We’ll have late night chats about writing — laughing so hard we’ll be shushed by our trying-to-sleep families. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll inspire, and encourage each other as we critique and bounce ideas back and forth.
Oh, I had dreams.
As I opened the door to the charming little eatery, a wind blew past taking every last scrap of confidence I’d managed to wrap myself in. I stood in the doorway astonished at my arrogance. A writer? Who did you think you are?
Little did I know that the workshop leader would give my nasty inner critic new material to work with. She would provide new criticisms to bolster my self doubt and new whispers to add to my cranial filing system that was already overflowing with nasty one-liners.
She stood at the front of the room and gave us tips on writing:
Go to the library.
Great! Way ahead of you, I love the library!
Take books out. Read everything they have.
Check! I’m a slow but avid reader. I have a bit of a book problem and buy too many rather than using the library but point taken: Read a lot. Got it. Awesome.
They’re mostly garbage,
but they’re better than you, right?
Did she just? No. I must have heard that wrong.
They’re at least published. You’re not.
There seemed to be a general sense of amusement as I looked around the room.
Maybe it’s her sense of humour and I just don’t get it? Maybe she’s trying to see who has thick enough skin for this? No one else seems bothered, I’m probably being overdramatic. I’ll just sit here and overthink this for the remainder of the workshop.
Time has passed since Workshop Lady called our unpublished efforts trash but when I start to write, her words still ring through my head. It’s nonsensical, really, that a few sentences from a woman I’d never met before should have an impact.
I did learn from her that day and I still love my story even though she shuddered with her nose crinkled as if she’d just whiffed rotten potatoes while calling my idea creepy. It needs work, yes, but I really think it could be great. I need to get Workshop Lady out of my head so I can focus on it the way I need to.
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash