This is my June post for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. To read other posts, click here.
Sometimes things grind to a halt. When they do, you have to find a way to prime the choke and power up the engine.
I’m in an ugly place. My local writing group disbanded. This winter, I gathered up the nerve to send my second novel out and the response has not been stellar. I distracted myself by setting a goal to finish a first draft on my third novel and a few weeks ago, checked that off the list. If anything, I learned enough during my second novel attempt to know I need to give this next project a good long rest, which means writing-wise, I’m not doing much these days. Mostly, I’ve been shifting around at my desk, twiddling my thumbs, worried about finding a way to gear up again. But on Monday life reminded me, things happen when they should.
Okay, so if it were a perfect world, I’d go back to school full-time to learn to be a better writer. But we know how that goes. Two years ago, I took a fiction writing course in association with the Boston-based independent writing workshop, Grub Street. The class was sponsored by a grant from our local library, held five minutes from my house and cost nothing. How could I beat that? The six week session educated and motivated me and I give it all sorts of credit for my forward progress to date. Mired in my current lull, I contemplated hauling my butt into Boston to take another Grub Street class, but procrastinated. You know, time, money, distance…oh all right, let’s be honest here and call this issue what it really is…a honking lack of confidence.
Monday though, home after work and longing to write something…anything, I Googled Grub Street summer courses and TA DA…trumpets sounded. The author who taught the class I took two years ago is offering something called The Novel in Progress, and she is holding it, not in Boston which would be a commuting nightmare for me, but one town over from where I live…at night. To round out this little bit of synchronicity, I wrote a magazine article last September. It was published in May…I get paid in the next few days…and guess what? That subsidy covers close to the entire class. One by one my excuses disappeared. Well, except for that lack of confidence thing. Now that I've paid for the course though, my engine is humming. It's time to mow that sucker right down.