I think it’s becoming blatantly obvious that I’ve lost my way a little here since I returned to work. I’m pretty sure that the last two weeks worth of posts would attest to that. So in amongst the banality of running a household, sneaking some time with my girls and the endless piles of work that just seem to keep multiplying, I’ve been thinking about what I was trying to achieve here in the first place and I keep coming back to the statement I wrote right at the start of all this:
What would you do in life if you weren’t scared? If fear didn’t hold you back?
My desire to write is what prompted me to start this blog. It was what created the commitment to post something everyday for twelve months. This desire has now given me a vehicle to not only exercise my writing muscle and break from the stifling corporate writing that has become my ‘norm’, but also established what will be a family vault of memories, thoughts and perspectives for my girls.
Writing is my Plan B. It’s what I want to be doing so that I don’t have to work full time in a job bound by the parameters of start and end times. It’s how I envisage I will be able to be available to my kids when they start school, find their own independence and enter those tricky teen years. But you can’t be a writer if you don’t actively work on writing can you?
Only one other person knows about this blog, and another who I know through my networks with Ovarian Cancer Australia picked up on my twitter posts about Teal Ribbon Day a few weeks ago and followed me there – whether she’s figured out who I am or not, I’m not sure. Oh, and there was that one time where I accidentally posted a picture to my personal instagram account instead of this blog’s instagram account and a friend of mine liked it – I deleted it straight away so again, not sure if he actually came to have a look. The point is, that so far, I’ve been writing for me. Not that I’ve been hiding my identity fully, but I have been too scared to let people know this blog exists. Too scared to let people know that I have aspirations to be a writer.
So when the opportunity to do a storytelling workshop in my own regional town popped up in my inbox, I knew that I had to do it. That it was time to take the next step and a put myself out there at a local level. And I’ve been shitting bricks ever since. Because it is TOMORROW!
I’m not one prone to nerves and generally have a pretty unshakeable confidence but this is a step so far out of my comfort zone it’s not funny. Let me explain how I feel about my writing. I write in my head. I write in my head all day long, I get inspired and file away snippets of sentences I construct or ideas that come to me wherever I am. I sometimes commit to putting these rough scratchings down on paper or in a word document. And then I get embarrassed. I get self conscious about what I’ve written. I feel like I’m a fraud for even thinking I have some talent or capacity to write anything (even though I’ve been told I am a ‘good writer’ ever since I started school). And this feeling is compounded by the fact that up until about three years ago, I hadn’t undertaken any kind of creative writing for nearly a decade.
So when I do actually start to write, as in properly sit down, and attempt to let the words flow, I can’t transcribe what is in my mind onto the page. It comes out as awkward, clunky, stilted and rough. I edit as I go which hinders any chance of free writing and stunts my capacity to let go and just flow. And most recently I’m so aware and conscious of time (or lack thereof) that I overthink things and focus too much on the fact that may only have an hour or 20 minutes of free time or that I know that I committed to write a post before bed and all of a sudden I’ve got 15 minutes to churn it out… and I think I’ve already established that I prefer long, wordy posts which often take me hours to write.
So needless to say, I was already nervous about signing up and committing to this workshop let alone getting my head around what we’d actually be doing there. And then I got this email:
“We would like to know in advance what kind of writer you are: journalist, poet, academic, novelist, playwright etc”
My first thought was WHAT HAVE I DONE? My second thought was… I don’t know what kind of writer I am. I have never actually sat down and wondered what kind of writer I am. So yesterday I dedicated a massive 7 mins in between meetings to the question and came back with this response:
“In response to your question, I would say that I’d probably fall into novelist category with maybe a touch of journalist”
WTF does that even mean??? A touch of journalist. Well, mummy blogger didn’t appear to be an option!
So whilst I was feeling the effects of my moronic response swirling around in my subconscious, another email hit my inbox:
Good morning Writers (I lol’d)
Introduction blah blah blah.
We have a group that varies in experience and genres (I looked straight to the distribution list and see a couple of names I recognise, one whom I know is an experienced writer. My heart sinks and I come back to what’s becoming a frequent thought – WHAT HAVE I DONE?)
A bit about me blah blah blah… Oh, and I’m hoping you can prepare a few things to bring along. One of them is optional and the other is not (Oh FUCK!)
Optional – if you have a project you’re working on, and you want to turn it over to the group, please bring that work or a section of it (NO FREAKING WAY, was my initial reaction. Thankfully he went on to say)
This is only if you’re ready to make your ideas public (Phew, I am definitely not, thank you for the out!)
Not optional – as writers, we all admire and are inspired by the work of others. Can you please bring a piece or section of a piece in any genre or form that has inspired or continues to inspire your work. Can you please be prepared to read it and talk to it. (Not so bad, I don’t mind doing a bit of homework)
If there are any questions blah blah blah
love and kisses (no, he didn’t actually sign off like that but you get the gist)
So whilst I’ve been quietly freaking out about the level of sharing that will be required tomorrow, the mantra of just do it anyway is banging away in my head. Because I committed to being fearless in 2015 remember, and I know that if I do not start to generate more action around my writing, then my Plan B will only ever be that. It will never become my Plan A and the future I want it to be.
So I’ll see you on the flip side!
Have you ever made the leap from talking about chasing your dreams to actually doing it? Why is it that we are reluctant to share our authentic self with people we know?