Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating and the Dependency of Other Writers

Last year I joined my local chapter of the California Writers Club (CWC). My theory was if I acted like a writer and hung out with writers, maybe, I would slowly believe that I was a writer.

So far it’s been great. I’ve met some great authors and networked with other writers in my community. But still, when other members ask me what I write, I find myself stumbling over my words and how I define myself as a writer. I’m in my second year of membership now, yet I still feel like an outsider. I don’t have enough “street cred” to feel like I can truly pal around with the other members. My only comfort is there are many members that have a good couple of decades on me, so I do feel like I have time.

I also attend a local writing school that offers short term classes. I usually take a Saturday class every spring that inspires me and, although provides much intimidation from the talent of those around me, challenges me to step up my game.

The class I took last spring enabled one of my writing goals to come to fruition. Someone wanted to start a writing group and I jumped at the opportunity. Our little group meets once a month and it has forced me to put my fingers on the keyboard and write. But what happens when we don’t meet? I hate to admit that I need these monthly meetings to spur me on, but I do. It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily lives and all the tasks that take precedence over creating. However, if I have to read my work to the group for twenty minutes, certain things are just going to have to be put on hold. The day before my last meeting, I had only written a few new paragraphs on my memoir. It was okay because I had a half vacation day from work. My son is not quite old enough to stay home alone and with an early dismissal from school, it proved to be a perfect writing afternoon.

By the time I came home and fired up my computer, I saw an e-mail exchange that immediately changed the course of my afternoon. One member could not make it, another was out of town, a possible new member was not heard from at all and other member already informed us that they wouldn’t be available for several months. That left only myself and one other person and it just didn’t seem worth all of effort.

A lesson to learn here could be to write first and not open your e-mail! I must admit that after I read all of the e-mails, it suddenly seemed more important to do laundry and clean up the kitchen. Although I’ve been writing other things, I have not worked on the memoir all week. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll be able to pin down a date for November, before the holiday season gobbles up everyone’s time.

I guess I still need a lot of help to keep me writing. Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. Surrounding myself with other writers and putting myself in situations where I need to behave like a writer, is the kick in the pants I need to make me continue to produce. I’m still searching for the inner strength to self motivate and prioritize writing in my life. For now, my need for other writers is paramount. Hear that? I need you guys!

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