I Did It

Well I did it.

I told you I would.  I had hoped you’d forget and no one would ever bring it up again, but I said, “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.”  Okay, I didn’t exactly say that.  In fact, I am not sure that anyone actually said that in real life, but mostly likely Admiral Farragut said something like that during the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

But that’s just me looking up unrelated facts to avoid thinking or writing about what I really came here to write about.  All you writers out there get that.

Okay, I didn’t say, “damn the torpedoes,” but it is sort of, kind of how I felt when I did it.  There are plenty of reasons not to do it – time, money, emotional trauma…

Here’s the deal, I signed up for a writer’s conference this summer and applied to a week-long writer’s workshop.  The workshop is one where there is a selection process for attendees and it’s not guaranteed that I’ll be accepted.  The conference is a simple matter of filling in credit card numbers and clicking on, “I agree to the terms and conditions.”  I am not going to say which I signed up for now, but I’ll let you know all about them when I get home.

Honestly, it’s a bit of an experiment for me.  I am a basic introvert and attending functions and things with lots of people I don’t know, is a great effort.  Oh I can do it and actually have some public speaking skills (I’ll be honest, I can great job if you hand me a mic and say go), but there is a cost – it’s mentally and emotionally draining.  Seriously draining.  I don’t get energized in groups and it’s work to participate.

So why did I decide to go?  There is a possibility that it might be good for me and my writing.  Over the years of doing this blog, I’ve come to a kind of plateau and I don’t always feel like I am challenging my writing skills here.  I’d like to move into other writing and sharpen my skills.  There is part of me that hopes that when I finally retire from the high-tech business, that I’ll be able to find a second career as a writer.

Probably hoping for too much, but even at a personal level, I feel the need to push my abilities.  I don’t feel I can do that by sitting here behind the computer and posting to this blog.  I am hopeful that moving beyond my normal comfort zone of a quiet office and a cup of tea, I can find a new energy or a new path for my creative efforts.

It’s scary.  It’s hard for me to take criticism of my work without falling into a depression over it and just giving up.  I am not the kind of guy who likes to expose the deeper problems and emotions I have.  It can be uncomfortable for me to sit in place where have to look at parts of me that I normally ignore.

So, I’ve decided on a conference where I’ll be among people trying to sell their work, listening to the speakers, and attending a few writing workshops.

The poetry workshop is a week-long affair where you work in a small group to write and help each other become better poets.  I had to submit a selection of poems for that and I won’t know for sometime if I’ve been accepted.  There are fears in my mind about this one – did I pick the right one? Is my writing good enough to get in?  Will it really benefit me?

Many unanswered questions.

It may turn out to be disaster or it might turn out to be just thing I needed.

Mostly I don’t know, but I do know that I am mostly a pilgrim at heart and am always looking for something better.

Till next week,

Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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55 Responses to I Did It

  1. Congrats to you for doing this! I’ve many the same introvert feelings as you so understand the scary bits of signing up for something like this. Hope it will bring you all you hope for and be a wonderful experience. 🙂

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  2. wolfsrosebud says:

    When all is said and done (I don’t know who said that), just write! So many avenues to discover. I just pick one I can enjoy, be challenged, and complete.

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  3. i think you are tremendously courageous! And I look forward to a book with wit! Your action prompts me to MOVE towards a new goal…I have no idea WHAT! I am in a rut and need to do something different! Too old, no wealth…but there is something I can do!

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    • Well, your goal could be to find a goal. You’re never too old and I should mention that many writer’s conferences and workshops offer scholarships for those with more willingness than cash. Check around, you might find something. Our local senior center offers a ton of arty classes for not much money – my wife takes oil painting and drawing classes there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve come to believe that most writers are introverts. Don’t you agree? So most people you meet will be just as unsettled by the whole thing as you. I’m amazed that despite that you’re fine with a mic in your hand. Wow. Maybe you should be the one hosting our fantasy talk show!

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  5. Debra says:

    I do hope that you will have the opportunity to participate, Andrew. I think working outside of our social comfort zones are probably good for us, and it does allow you to focus on your writing with dedication difficult to achieve at home with distractions…like the cats. 🙂

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  6. I’m excited to hear about them!

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  7. You must have been reading my mind, Andrew. I, too, feel as if my writing has hit a plateau and I would like to move forward. I have always been afraid of such courses because I feared they would change my style and make me conform to their standards. But maybe i will try if you are trying. BUT first let me know how the classes work out!

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    • I share your fears. But I feel that I’ve come to a point in my life where I am better at ignoring misleading advice. Another thought I’ve been having is that you need to know the rules before you can break them. I’ll keep you updated.

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  8. Sounds like you have nothing to lose but plenty to gain. 🙂

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  9. Hope says:

    Awesome idea! I can’t wait to “read” about your experience. 🙂

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  10. Chris White says:

    Hi Andrew. I applaud you. You won’t hear me, but I am. Good luck. You learn and they learn from you. Looking forward to reading all about it. All the best. Chris.

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  11. Yes! And then the rest required to re-charge, but worth it I guess for great input!

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  12. I completely understand the introvert thing! Being a group is exhausting! Very good luck with the conference!

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  13. YAPCaB says:

    Did you submit poems from your cancer book? What is it’s status?

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  14. You’re displaying you’re writing prowess: Leaving us with a hook. When will we know? What conference? Yikes!

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    • Well, I had to use a hook. What if the selection jury reads my blog? They have to have something. When, they notify on May 1 so shortly after that. I am still thinking of heading your way in January – just waiting for them to announce the 2018 schedule.

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  15. Well, it takes bravery to step out of our comfort zones. I admire your courage in going ‘full speed ahead.’ Good luck!

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  16. Good for you! I’m like you, talking and hobnobbing with a group of people I don’t know exhausts me. Hope it works out for you. Good luck!

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  17. Carrie Rubin says:

    Good for you. Writing conferences are a great way to take our craft to the next level. Plus, they’re essential for networking. Which even this introvert has learned…

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    • I am glad you didn’t use ‘networking’ and ‘introvert’ in the same sentence – my brain would have exploded. But, yes, networking is important and so difficult for folks like us.

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      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Very difficult. And I’m still pathetically weak at it. But with each conference I put myself out there more. I attended all the lunches at the last one I went to and exchanged business cards. By the next one I’ll be belting out show tunes, right? 😉

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        • Business cards, that’s a good thought. I should get some. It’s going to be a long time before I sing show tunes, but if you’re planning that somewhere, let me know, I want to see that… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Try this:
    A bit of confidence and wish for what you need to ear and see it shall be provided!
    Good luck
    🙂

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  19. dorannrule says:

    If they don’t accept you, it is their loss! Even so, I wish you good luck, good luck, good luck! 🙂

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  20. Glynis Jolly says:

    You are braver than I am, that is for sure. I hope you have a terrific time.

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  21. delphini510 says:

    You will enjoy this course / convention.
    Constructive criticism and sharing with others lifts and helps you walk lighter.
    Go and drink criticism and praise with equal joy.
    Mirja

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  22. timsablog says:

    Well you have bitten the bullet (or was it a torpedo?). I have occasionally thought that if there was a local writers or photography group would I join it? After all I have been doing it for so long there can be little scope for improvement! Indeed, as an Addison, I am happy to acknowledge Samuel Johnson’s statement “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.” In fact I do belong to a photography group and I have learnt and have improved my photography so I guess I would my writing if there were a writers group I could join. (Nearly a convoluted sentence there). Why do I write? To amuse, to inform, and/or to capture memories/information. It may either purely for my own benefit or for others to read (or both) but if it is public (such as my blog) rather than private, feedback in the form of ‘Likes’ or comments makes it all much more worthwhile. However, like you, I would be a bit nervous (well very nervous really) about joining a writer’s conference just as I don’t fancy a creative writing course fearing that it would be full of English graduates rather than Engineers, but that is probably totally wrong. I will be interested to hear what you get out of it – which gives me an incentive to keep following your blog!

    PS Your Copyright notice needs updating.

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    • I am one of those rare cases of an Engineer who also has a English Degree. Guess that makes me bilingual. Still, I get the point. One of the things I am wondering about is the writing workshop which likely will be lead by a lot of folks with MFAs or other advanced language degrees. We’ll see what happens.

      Locally I belong to a woodwork group which has helped me improve my woodworking but I haven’t found a writer’s group. Okay, I haven’t looked very hard. Someday I might.

      and thanks for the Copyright reminder. Bad enough to skip one year, but two?

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  23. Florence says:

    Good luck 🙂

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  24. PiedType says:

    In the distant past, I went to one or two such workshops. Was really shy about interacting with the other people, but when the focus was on our writing or the speaker, I soaked it up like a sponge. Good luck. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

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