After a successful first round (of my classmates’ work, not mine) in my writing workshop through Gotham Writers Workshop, trepidation, fear, and apprehension forced my stomach into knots. I thought, “My writing officially sucks. I’m never going to be published. I’ll never complete anything. No one will ever get a chance to read my work. Do I really have what it takes to be a writer? Am I really a writer? Do I matter? Does my work matter? Maybe I should throw in the towel and realize I don’t have talent like they do…” and the thoughts went further.
I was so impressed with the writing styles and imagination my colleagues/classmates possessed, my writing became subpar to me.
As I put the finishing touches on my story to be workshopped, I wasn’t nervous, I was in the zone. I revised and edited as much as I could; at 2 am on Friday night, I sent out my piece.
The Tuesday before class, as I re-read and commented on my classmates’ stories, the anxiety and doubt set in once again. “Who am I really kidding here? I should just give up this hobby for good. It’s not real.” Self-loathing and swirling in my own pit of self-pity, I gave myself some credit. “Okay, let’s read the piece and see if it’s really as awful as I think it is.” I exhaled. Slowly, I scanned the typed words on the white computer sheets and read the story from page one to page fifteen. The story had holes and there were places that could be expanded but it wasn’t an awful story.
My faith in my writing was restored. The shift was so extreme I wonder if hormonal changes during that time of the month were churning here. I wrote out all my worries and misgivings about this “hobby” of mine and felt much better soon after.
The next day, my story was workshopped. Not only was I able to identify my writing weaknesses, but my strengths were highlighted and showcased to me in my classmates’ comments. I was redeemed once again. I wasn’t a failure in my writing community, I was actually a success!
My classmates’ comments filled me with joy, inspiration, and energy to improve the story I wrote and motivated me to make sure I took the same care with their work as they did with mine.
My writing world was no longer in disarray; everything was exactly where it was supposed to be.