I’ve been participating in a writer’s group for a couple of months. The group meets once a week at a bookstore that’s about 10 minutes from my house.
The mantra of the group is “just write,” which means get something, anything down on paper. It doesn’t have to be Joyce Carol Oates good or even Chelsea Handler good. Sorry, Chels, you know I love you.
I’ve been enjoying these group sessions. The women who attend — about eight or so every week — come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and each has something different to contribute. They are smart and funny and engaging and kind.
The facilitator always has something interesting to share. An article on writing, perhaps, or a tip on how to get started on that novel. She always comes prepared with an agenda, handouts, writing prompts and news about local writing-related events.
I’m always surprised at how I can spin a story of sorts, or at least the rough draft of a story, in 10 or 15 minutes after responding to a writing prompt. Somewhere along the way I forgot that I can write. And that I love to write.
Every time I attend the group, I leave feeling like a better writer and an all-around better person. I feel energized and motivated and excited about life.
Anyway, the funny thing about this group is that I never want to go. Never.
I lay in bed on the mornings that the group meets in my flannel pajamas and hoodie. I read the newspaper and turn on the television and scroll through the channels. Here’s what I find: Old Dr. Phil shows from a decade ago that Oprah is spinning as “classic” on OWN. Sanitized Sex in the City forced into 30-minute episodes. Dog the Bounty Hunter.
A voice inside my head tells me that I deserve to stay in bed today in my plaid pajamas and hooded sweatshirt, hood pulled over my head, and not go to my group. I deserve a day off after all. A day of rest. A day of flannel pajamas and classic Dr. Phil. PJs and Phil. Just me and the doctor.
But at some point, I drag my ass to the shower and get dressed. I grab my notebook and pen and a bottle of water and head out the door. I always make it to the bookstore just in time or a few minutes late.
Here’s an interesting fact, Middle-age butch has a 10-minute-early rule. That means that I show up 10 minutes early for every appointment. Doctor’s appointments, school meetings, work meetings. Ten minutes early. You can set your watch by this butch.
So, what gives?
I think it’s fear. Fear of showing up and learning and doing and, gulp, succeeding. What would that even look like? We all have a little bit of saboteur in us. Mine happens to be big and hulking like former pro-wrestler Chyna.
Earlier this week, some members of the writing group handed out pages from their works for critique. Almost everyone is working on a project — memoirs, romance novels, young adult fiction.
I’ve been saying that I’ve wanted to write a memoir for some years now. It’s always been a dream of mine to pen a book.
So, I’ve decided to stand up to my saboteur, maybe put her in a Boston crab or some other submission hold, and take a shot. What do I have to lose?
I thought that by writing down my intention here, I’d have a better chance of following through. If you’ve ever played sports, you know all about the importance of the follow through.
Where are my softball players?