I have no clue and worse yet, I don’t know how to doodle that. Here is my attempt–
OOOPS! I think she is missing an arm. Have to fix that.
Recently I took a class. I relearned some key lessons, both in class and out.
I have done things that were right, and missed opportunities because, well, mostly because I was pushing myself. Trying to make up for starting out so late as a storyteller. Yes, I said storyteller. I have written fairly regularly since high school and told bedtime stories for over thirty years. All that was for myself, or those very close to me.
Taking this hobby public, well, it hasn’t been easy. It is an uncomfortable, awkward growth. I prepared myself as well as I could for the negative reviews, for failing. But, I have to admit that I did not plan well in the marketing department. OOPS!
That isn’t a bad thing. I know a lot more now than when I first started. My feet are nice and soggy wet with a teeny-tiny bit of experience, time me to plan a little better for the next book. To work on a marketing plan for it, which actually will be a part of a bigger plan than when I first started this journey. I will also be ready to chuck that plan and make a new one as this career evolves.
I think that is the real lesson, the first time you do something, it may not be a huge success. That is ok. You might make mistakes. That is ok, too. And most important, that doesn’t mean you should quit. I haven’t.
There is growth that goes on within the mess of mistakes.
Last month Michael Khandelwal sat down with me at The Muse Writers Center in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk, Virginia for a chat about the center’s new digs. It was an interesting conversation. With a desire to teach poetry and a couple of flyers he set out to to build what has evolved to become The Muse Writing Center.
It was a very interesting hour we spent at the center talking about those first few days, years, and writing in general. I walked away with a couple of comments Michael had that will stick with me for a long time. The first was that while fourteen years ago he had a dream of what we were now sitting in, the path wasn’t always clear cut how to get from its meager beginnings to there. My takeaway is that you don’t have to have a solid plan to make things work out.
Second, don’t let mistakes stop you. As Khandelwal told me of a few missteps that were bumps in the road, he reminded me that nothing is perfect. We are human and things go wrong, that is a given. Errors aren’t what stop us from progress. They can be learning moments, and they can also make us check our conviction on what we are doing. Don’t sweat them.
Third, and most important, is an echo of one of my recent college professor’s comments– you don’t need permission to write. What you do with your words and where you take it is a right that we all have. If you aren’t quite sure about either of those, there is a wealth of ways to figure that out – writing centers like The Muse, writing conferences, groups, college courses and programs, as well as the internet. Bottom-lining it – it is up to you, no one else.
Keep writing. Thanks Mr. Khandelwal for the time, advice, and the center.
When ? April 16, 2016
Where? Vienna Town Square, Vienna IL 62995
I am going to be there with some books as well as a booth about the Johnson County Arts Co-Op that is forming for the county.
Come out and see us!