Today was an enlightening afternoon, and I got to meet some really great people. I have never been to a workshop like this before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Grace Curtis, Omope Daboiku Carter, and Melody Moezzi were fascinating to listen to, and all three of them were exceptionally kind. I introduced Melody Moezzi, and I suppose I did fine even though I was so nervous that I couldn’t feel my arms. I’m not even sure I actually read the words that I had written on my paper. I didn’t throw up on myself or pass out, though, so I am calling it a win.
The biggest thing I took from the entire day is when asked to talk about their crafting process at various times, each one of them said that you have to just do it. Just. do. it. Write it, finish it, own it. Keep writing. This specifically resonated with me, because I cannot allow myself to call myself a writer if I am so paralyzingly terrified to put myself out there. Sometimes I can’t even focus long enough to write for half an hour because I can’t escape my own head. It’s not a fear of rejection. Rejection blows, but it doesn’t bother me from continuing to try. It’s a fear of not being good enough. A lack of confidence. Why should I write if no one wants to read my work; what makes me think anything I have to say will be interesting, evoke emotion or conversation – after all, I’m just some dumb girl that likes to write poetry, right?
I know from where this lack of confidence stems, but it’s time to stop letting it be a factor in my life. No more excuses. If I am going to continue to learn and progress, if I am going to get anywhere creatively, I need to slay this dragon. I acknowledge that I have made great progress in the past year alone. Last year, I would have never willingly submitted any of my work to contests, and yet this year I have won the Deanna Pickard Prize for Poetry, and first place in Sinclair’s Creative Writing contest for short fiction. I would have never attended workshops, and yet this year not only have I introduced the keynote speaker at the workshop today, but I am also attending the Antioch Writer’s Workshop this summer. A year ago, I would have had a panic attack at the first sign of having to be social, let alone speaking in front of others. It’s time that I explore myself and find creative direction. It’s time I accept myself and stop being so afraid. I am finally realizing what I want to be, and it’s time that I just shut up and do it.