My dear blog readers: (I’m hoping there’s maybe 3 or 4 of you still left after my past several weeks of neglect, but maybe I’m just talking to my mother at this point. Hi Mom.). I feel like apologizing for not writing on my blog more faithfully, but I won’t. I won’t apologize because I think I’ve been in this position before and I worry about it becoming a bad pattern (post lots, post less, post hardly at all, beg for forgiveness, promise to do better, post lots, and so forth. Sound familiar?). I also won’t apologize because it was all for a good cause. I’ve been busy with other writing projects and I’m feeling good about how things are going. I also plan to blog more, starting today. (Okay, so maybe I’ll do the “promise to do better” thing after all. I can’t help it). I will admit that I won’t have time to polish everything I want to say or even come up with snazzy connections to art every day, but my blog is my incubator for my writing and—if nothing else—I need to keep it plugged in. Gotta let those little chicks hatch.
Today was day one of my writer’s conference. I’ve been looking forward to this conference for weeks. And so far, it does not disappoint. In the morning workshop, we discussed three manuscripts and one of them was mine. Can I just say I’m eternally grateful we got mine over with on the first day? I was a nervous wreck. I felt like bursting into tears just from the sheer terror of it all. But the really amazing thing was everyone seemed to like my writing. The feedback was encouraging and I got some good ideas of things I need to work on. Mostly, I walked away with a renewed sense of confidence. I’m not a total joke of a writer. I can finish my book. I will finish it.
These are important things I need to say to myself. Writing is a natural thing. Most of us can write. It’s not that scary. But trying to write well. . . this is another thing entirely. To write well, you have to take risks. You have to dislocate language from its comfort zones—the clichés and turns of phrase that are always the first to pop into your head and that are poison to any sincere attempts at saying something truly creative and new. I’m not typically a risk taker. I’m a wimp. I go into a panic when I have to stick my neck out. There’s always the chance that I’ll say something utterly stupid or too melodramatic or over-reaching. I could just play it safe and say things that sound familiar. But the problem is, they sound familiar because they’ve been said a million times before. To write well, it takes courage and a willingness to make a total fool of myself along the way.
So tonight, I am relieved. It’s always a huge relief when it feels like my occasional bursts of bravery might get me somewhere worth going.