Stepping outside of my comfort zone never felt so good

I dread meeting new people, hate having to perform under a time crunch, and feel embarrassed sharing my work that have not yet been edited to perfection. I did all of these things Monday evening and it felt amazing (not in the moment, but afterwards).

Writing has been a passion of mine ever since I learned how to hold a pencil and write words. I loved creating worlds and characters and exploring how those characters would interact in their world. I also had a lot of confidence in my ability, having often been complimented on my writer’s voice. Once I got to college, it became more difficult to prioritize writing outside of my assignments. As I fell out of practice, I also lost my confidence and then later, my motivation to write.

Strangely, even though I couldn’t summon motivation to write, I’ve still maintained a desire to write. I’d feel pings of jealousy and shame when I witnessed friends or peers of mine producing their own writing. I’d then feel energized and tell myself I was feeling inspired to write again, time slipped by without my writing anything and the energy spark fizzled. Sometimes, in an attempt to hold myself accountable and write something (even if it wasn’t the type of writing I really wanted to be doing), I’d start a blog, abandon the blog, start a blog, abandon the blog. Each time, my motivation would morph into feelings of inadequacy.

In an attempt to push myself, I found a local writing workshop, which I attended this past Monday. Despite my best efforts, I arrived a bit late, and when I got there, I realized it was not a one-off workshop, but rather an established and recurring workshop where everyone was already acquainted with each other. There went my hopes of arriving with a comfortably low profile.

After introductions, we did a 5-minute writing prompt. My brain often freezes under time crunches, leaving me with even less time than originally given. Fortunately, my embarrassment at the prospect of writing nothing was greater than that for writing something imperfectly, and for once, I let go of perfection and just wrote the first thing that came to mind. At the end of 5-minutes, it was still an incomplete thought, but so was everyone else’s.

I then surprised myself further by sharing my very rough, incomplete draft even though I wasn’t under any real pressure to share. Everyone was really nice, encouraging, and nonjudgmental. I left the workshop feeling proud and like I had reconnected with a long lost piece of myself. I’m so grateful to have found this workshop and that it meets regularly once a month, a commitment that feels feasible to this busy mama of two very young children.

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