A Writer Needs Writers

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to join a group of writers who have recently started coming together. I was apprehensive about how this was all going to go for me. While I have already shouted my newly earned title as a writer here, I had no idea what type of experience the other attendees might have. Surely they would all have much more under their belts than I do. The more I thought about it, the more inferior I felt.

So, the day arrives and I spend the morning preparing. I dropped the kids off and headed into the city with my obsessive compulsive directions written out and tucked under my leg for quick reference. Oh, did I not mention? I’m not a city driver. I panic about what lane I should be in and what to do if I miss the exit I need. And while I love the city itself and dream about restaurant hopping and strolling around every touristy spot, I have no desire to navigate its labryinth of one way streets. Nor do I wish to attempt squeezing my SUV into insufficient parking spaces.

I digress…

I arrive, blood pressure in check after following excellent directions (obvs) and intervals of deep breathing. I’m the second one there…and I only find this out after asking a girl, who I just assume is there for the same reason. After some more arrive and introductions are made, we grab some chairs and quickly slide into casual conversation. There’s some chat about books we’ve read. Some talk about work they’ve done. We joke. We laugh. And then I wonder….what the hell was I worried about?

So what if these people have more experience? They are incredible people that I can learn a lot from. There was not one moment where I felt like I didn’t fit in. I heard about critique groups and submission processes. We chattered about our own habits. Best of all, I am looking forward to going again. 

Even though I have made irreplaceable writing friends on Twitter, having a group of people to meet with in person is a new and exciting trail to blaze. A writer definitely needs other writers. They not only help educate, but also inspire. You can be opened up to all the different ways they tackle their talent. They can sympathize with each others’ frustrations and cheer each others’ successes. 

A writer’s world can be a lonely one, with hours spent at desks, in libraries or even huddled in the corner of their favorite coffee shop. We write on our own. We don’t turn to our neighbor in the office to ask them how to get that last metaphor just right. But being able to leave our laptops and notebooks to come together from time to time can show us that for as long as we are alone…we are not alone.

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Chaos Is Not My Thing

I’m feeling flustered. Frustrated.

I like order. Everything has its place. When I need to get things done, I make a list. I check off the list as things are done. This is how I keep my sanity. Checking off each completed item is fuel for my momentum.

I feel like my sanity is dissolving. There are too many things I need to do, that I’ve volunteered to do, or that I simply want to do. Never enough time. I’m spreading myself too thin and things are not getting done. I need to write more. I need to find a job. I need to pay the bills, decorate, clean the house, do the laundry, raise my children, blog more, exercise, fix up my blogs…the list is endless and I add to it daily. Daily.

What comes first? And how can you check something off a list that is never done?

So, I guess now it’s time to pull up my big girl pants and figure out how to solve this. Do I focus on one thing at a time? Do I assign a time limit to each item, so they get sufficient attention? And how do I avoid letting people down in the process?

I feel like I’m sitting in a dinghy in the middle of a turbulent ocean with no motor and one oar. The waves are crashing over me and I’m clinging to a boat that will soon capsize.

I need better schedules. Maybe less idealistic goals. More detailed planning. Setting limits would help.

 Today’s lesson: Don’t wait until you are drowning to look for the lifejacket.