Hey peeps. I just realized I hadn’t put any words on the screen for my blog. I’ve recently had the uncertainty bug come and bite my place of employment, so I have been really focused on that lately. You get pretty stressed when you’re the primary wage earner in your home and work is suddenly not a stable place. I had the “Why the hell am I am bothering with this any way?!” We’ve been over that, but I haven’t had the feelings in a long time.
I went to my writers’ workshop last night. I didn’t want to. I am so stressed about work that writing seemed like a pretty silly thing to go do. I mean, when your livelihood is in jeopardy, writing becomes an afterthought. I just wanted to go home and veg after a super-stressful day at work. On the drive home, I was thinking about what I wanted to do. Maybe play some Xbox, watch a movie, play a game on computer. Anything to take my mind off work and the stresses there.
Then I thought: HELL NO! I am going. I’m going to force myself to go! If there was any time–ANY TIME–I needed to be around other writers and force myself to read and critique, it was last night. When you are down, that’s when you need the support! So I printed out my pages, and headed up to the group.
Let me tell you, it was the best idea I had all day. First walked in, met Michelle, a pal at the group, talked to her for a few, then Jeff Posey meandered on by and we had a good chat. (both of them are superb conversationalists. I pale in comparison.) Then went inside, said hi to a few others, and my mood lifted just a skosh. Spoke to Jamie and Shantal for a few, and then sat down in the back row. I usually try to sit in the back. I am a large human and don’t like to block others.
Then we got to our rooms to read. Let me tell you something…no wait…you need a little background.
At the workshop, there’s anywhere from 50-100 people every Wednesday. The readers are grouped together randomly. Well, as random as a human, moving names around can make them. So you never know who you’re going to get in your critique group. Typically it’s around 8-11 people per room, up to 6 readers read while the rest of us listen, then crit their work. Sometimes you get a good group, sometimes you get a decent group, sometimes you get a sucky group. It just depends. There are wide variety of writers who come and critique. Just as anywhere else in life, you have people who add value, and others who do not. It’s the way of the world.
Let me tell you something (referencing line above) I was in the best group I have EVER been. A load of mature and fun writers who had good stories and STUPENDOUS feedback. It was absolutely amazing. I didn’t want it to end. The group just had a chemistry that emerged as we all started talking and discussing our work and helping others with their work. The feedback I received was so Johnny-On-The-Spot, it was spooky.
When the night was over, we broke down the chairs and tables and chatted some more. I got to talk to a few more people. It was really a good time. And I am very glad I made myself go and didn’t cave in, wallowing in the doldrums and stay home. I needed that shot in the arm. It got me juiced and I wanted to go home and write some more. Seriously.
I learned that sometimes, even when you don’t feel like it, (ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it) you should surround yourself with other like-minded people who lift you up and add something to your life–GO! Don’t let self-pity, or uncertainty stop you from doing what you want. Get your ass out there and make it happen. I have a friend who is currently out of a job, and he went to the group last night too. He’s in a tighter (or is it more tight?) position than I am, and yet he still came, put a smile on his face, listened to me read, and gave me some super feedback. He GAVE even when he is the one who should be receiving. It’s a good thing to do and I am going to keep finding places where I can give more than I take. I challenge you to do the same.