This week I enrolled in a couple of fall writing courses through the UC Davis Extension program that are being taught by two amazing instructors.  My hope is that I will be able to fine-tune the writing skills that I’ve mainly used only as a hobby.

I am curiously nervous about this new venture.  School was never scary before and I’ve done well in other classes as an adult, but this feels strangely intimidating for some reason.

Maybe it’s because I sincerely want to do well or maybe more than that, I really want the instructors to like my work.

It’s interesting that our deepest-rooted fears seem to emerge when we least expect them to and this situation is no exception to that rule.  “It’s just a class!” I keep telling myself, but I cannot seem to permanently shoo the hum of anxiety that’s been buzzing around my subconscious.

In attempting to pinpoint exactly what it is that I’m afraid of, I realize that these classes are frightening because they matter to me… in a way that others have not.  It’s not a pass or fail; it’s something bigger than that.  Why is it that the stuff in our lives that we really, really want is the same stuff that causes us to stop short, left to wonder whether or not it’s a good idea to chase what matters?

I know you know what I’m talking about.  What if we were all challenged to use only the talents that matter most when choosing our work – be it singing, painting, cooking, or writing – wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

But we don’t.  And that’s a harsh reality.  We don’t because we think it’s easier not to think about it.  It’s easier to not put ourselves on the line.  We don’t because we fear that someone else might say, who are you to be doing that for a living?  When really what we should be saying is, who are you not to be?

I personally have written since I can remember.  My life in black and white resides within the cabinet drawers full of old journal entries, poems, letters and stories.  I joke that someday my great-grandkids are going to have a field day trying to weave my life story together by gathering these scraps of old binder paper and the backs of napkins.  And in that context, it is good that I write to my heart’s content because it’s therapeutic for me.

This blog is very much the same form of a creative outlet.  And though timid in the beginning about letting people see what’s on my heart, I’ve come to learn that if I write something that doesn’t read well or doesn’t sit well with someone, I’ll be forgiven.  You can take away whatever you like; use it, scrap it, or tell me I’m ridiculous.  It’s all just opinion and rhetoric and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because my career potential doesn’t hang in the balance if you don’t like it (though of course, I hope that you do).

These classes however, are forcing me out of a different part of my comfort zone.  One that I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to move from; which is precisely why it must be the absolute right time to do so.

These instructors make a living with their writing and combined they have decades of knowledge and experience.  And though their teaching and feedback is something that I yearn for, the flip side is that their feedback also has the ability to potentially set the tone for the next step in my writing career.  They know what publishers want to buy and what sells in the magazines.  And what if I write from my heart and soul and they tell me it’s crap?  What if they tell me no one will ever buy what I’ve written?  They have an all-access pass to be candidly opinionated and to constructively criticize away, without so much as a pause… and the irony is that I’m paying good money for this.

And, if this piece of the big picture (writing for money) is missing, I might be forced to go back to the drawing board of my life and eliminate one major part of the “media mogul” game plan I’ve set for my future.

I do admit that there could be a teensy bit of dramatic flair built up in my mind around this whole situation, but there are definite undertones of truth that dwell within the sensational.

Fact is fact.  I’m human and I’m scared.  And that’s really the point I’m trying to make.  BUT… I intend to go forward anyway and the outcome will be what the outcome will be.

My life coach said to me just yesterday that the only way to get everything you want is to give everything you have.  And if I begin this new adventure with that one thing in mind, I simply cannot fail.  Right?

In the end, I will always have my blog and the loyal readers who don’t really care if I use too many commas, or if I start my sentences with “and”, or if I separate my thoughts with a dot, dot, dot… because that’s how they naturally flow in my mind.  And for that, I am thankful.

And of course, that leads me to ask, what’s something that you’ve been contemplating?  And when are you going to sign up?

 

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