On Friday I was filling you in about the apprehension I had in attending a storytelling workshop over the weekend, and then of course I got hit by a nasty bug so I haven’t had the chance to digest, reflect and post about how it went. Well then, you know what today’s post is about, right?
Despite a rocky start getting the girls sorted and out the door (there may have been an incident with Miss B and projectile vomit all over the kitchen tiles), I was really glad that I went. Despite my (irrational) fears, it was great. It was insightful, the history behind the notion of storytelling was quite interesting and being seated with other writers was very inspiring.
So why (notwithstanding the fact that I was ill for the rest of the weekend), did I walk away feeling a bit flat?
Well, it took a day of sub-conscious cog-turning for me to pick up on what I was feeling and this evening I finally put my finger on it. It was quite the reckoning. And oh so simple. Here it is:
I need to call bullshit on my own behaviour.
Sitting around that table on Saturday, I saw likeminded people who weren’t that different from me. People who had taken time out of their weekends, away from their families to put themselves out there and share their thoughts and writing goals with a bunch of (mostly) strangers. Just like me.
Many of them shared their own work, which was something that I was never going to contemplate and I somehow I walked away from the day wishing I had. It was a real revelation to know that there were not just people like me who had goals to write, but they were here, in my own backyard. And unlike me, they were actually taking more risks and being more fearless than I.
I went in with a complete narrative of convenient rubbish, which I’d been spinning about the day, the people who I knew were attending and about why I wasn’t willing to share. Much of it is bound in the thought that my writing is not high-brow enough, not literary enough. That I would be mocked or ridiculed for the genres and writing that I liked and want to spent time doing. The reality is, I enjoy many different types of writing. I want to explore writing children’s stories, I know that I want to write romance novels, I want to try writing something historical, although I’m not sure if it’d be fiction or non-fiction. I have a huge interest in mystery and thrillers but am not sure where to start. I see myself writing more academic papers again some day. I really enjoy voicing my own opinion like I can in a blog environment. So much to explore and I haven’t really nailed exactly where I fit. So why the fear?
Some of the people that I knew were participating are involved in our local arts organisations, so their interpretation of writing is so very different… or so I surmised. And if I’m honest that’s where a big chunk of the fear comes from. That I’m not ‘arty’ enough to be considered a writer. There are people there that I’ve known professionally for many years who would have never ever known that I harbour a desire to write. But is that enough of a reason to hold myself back? That was the question I was asking myself today. There’s no question that our perspectives on the world are different but that does that make their perspective any better or worse than mine? Of course it doesn’t. It just makes them different. And I don’t know why I didn’t see that before. Writing is highly subjective. Of course it’s going to be different. And that’s actually ok. There is a place for all of us if we’re willing to work hard enough to go after it. Interestingly, I have never given a shit about what people thought of me before. Why now? Is it because this actually means something to me? Hmmmm… nail is coming dangerously close to being hit on the head methinks.
After the workshop I stopped for a quick beer with those that stayed behind and I had a really compelling and confronting chat with a woman who had joined our group for the day. I wish I had more time with her. She had come up from Melbourne and I really enjoyed her perspective throughout the whole day, and she challenged me to rethink a few things. During that quick beer together I fessed up to writing this blog. Completely unprompted and unprovoked I mentioned it. Was it because she wasn’t from here that I felt some safety in doing so? Probably. But I kinda felt that she got it. That she understood the challenge I had set for myself in writing everyday, even if the quality of content wasn’t always up to scratch. And so I walked away that afternoon scared that I told her but glad that I did.
And now, as that sinks in, I suspect that’s where the future lies. Scared but glad that I did it anyway. It’s not like I don’t know the theory right? That’s the whole concept behind being Fearless in 2015. One of the participants there was an author and he talked about the fact that despite being published many many times over, it always felt as though he was a beginner, starting from the scratch with every new project he worked on. But, the key is to embrace it and move past it.
So today I call bullshit on my excuses, bullshit on convenient justifications for not acting or doing the do, bullshit that I can’t do it all or make it happen. As I write that my brain is filled with that inspirational quote that seems to do the rounds of Facebook in a motivational meme stating ‘if it’s meant to be it’s up to me’.
Yep, ok I get it! IF IT’S MEANT TO BE, IT’S UP TO ME.
Yes, I call bullshit on my behaviour. Consider myself on notice.
Ever give yourself a much needed reality check? What changes in your life did you have to make to chase down your dream?