I have signed up for a writer's boot camp in Atlanta, Georgia, led by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Feinberg.
Her pup Hershey is going to be there too.
I have pretty much read anything Margaret has written and have heard her speak as often as I have been able to. I've even reviewed a couple of her books on my blog. I first heard of Writer's Boot camp a couple of years ago but it was in Colorado and well...Tennessee just isn't that close to Colorado. Plus all of Margaret's boot camp's sell out, usually within the first 24-48 hours. One time I missed it simply because I took too long to decide if I was going to do it and so I just kept watching the site until, BAM! It was too late.
This time, I heard about the writer's boot camp early, and I also learned that it was in Atlanta, GA. A mere FOUR hours from me.
Still, I almost waited too late. My fear and insecurities almost got the best of me.
A lot of people have told me I should write a book. My husband has believed for years that this is my calling. Me, not so much. Even though the desire is in there, the belief in myself and, quite honestly, the hard work that goes into writing a book, has kept me from moving forward. Plus, there is that whole marriage, family, raising kids, running a part-time private practice, yada, yada, yada.... in other words, LIFE.
But, quoting the late, great John Lennon, "life is what happens when you're making other plans".
My main reason for sharing this is to please pray for me. Send happy thoughts. I am my own worst enemy. I am going to this conference for me, because I felt it was something I was being called to do. However, I don't want my nervousness or fear and insecurities to take away from something that could be so great. I have done that too much in the past, and that's one of the main reasons I went for this. When it was time to sign up I had convinced myself that since I wasn't close to writing a book, interested in getting published (at least anytime soon) and that the other writer's there would be soooo much better than me I should just put this idea out of my head. And I almost did.
Thankfully, I decided to be brave.
I don't have to have even have an idea of what book I want to write, or even an outline to participate in this conference. There may be people there who do, but it's OK that I don't.
Just because other writers that come to this conference may be close to publishing doesn't mean that I have to be. I'm going there for me.
I don't have to be the best writer at this conference. I just need to be me. I'm pretty awesome.
I write a blog. It has a small audience. I try to write authentically. When I opened up last year about healing from past shame, I don't know how many people commented or came up to me and said what I wrote made a difference for them. Sharing about my food issues resonated with people, even people who I'm pretty sure weren't suffering from food issues. We all have some sort of hang-up. We don't come out of life unscathed. We all have experienced pain as well as happiness. We've had trials and struggles. We know what it means to experience intimacy and joy. Writing real and authentically, no matter what the subject, hits people to the core. I know it does the same for me. Nothing I've written has come close to going viral, and honestly, that's not why I write. Writing is very healing for me and that's the main reason I do it.
Every time I get freaked out about going to this conference, I try to remember the reasons that made me sign up. I had to stop thinking and comparing myself to the strangers and fellow writers attending this conference. I'm not them. I'm me. And I'm pretty awesome. And I'm supposed to go to this and get out of it what I am supposed to get out of it, not what anyone else is supposed to get out of it.
That is why I am sharing this with you guys. My small audience. Think of me on November 2-4th. I'm going to be trying not to freak out in Atlanta. Oh, and pray that I am normal around Margaret. I tend to freak out around anyone remotely famous or who I look up to, and well, I'd really like the chance of authentic relationship this weekend, with everyone. Being closed off to others is a way I build walls around myself. And being able to be real and be myself is really more important than anything I learn about writing at this conference. Yeah. There's that. I'm a hot mess. And I want to be brave enough to continue to be my hot mess of a person, regardless of what happens or who is at this conference. It's going to be OK. Whew.