The Slump -Writer's Block-Part II
They took me out of my comfort zone
For two years. I worked my tail off to write something worth publishing. I started sending essays and humor out and was stunned to find them being accepted. In fact, I think I had two rejections the whole time. So, what did that do for me? I got a fat head. Wow, I thought. You are something, girl. Shortly thereafter, my essays were accepted for two anthologies. At the time, the editors told me they loved my work. And they paid me! My head almost exploded.
On April 5. 2018, I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. It was the first writers’ workshop I had signed up for since 2010.
I dropped my bags in the lobby of the Dayton Marriott and looked around. The first person I saw was Susan Keller who won the Erma writing competition with her story about a funeral. Exact the topic I had just had published in an anthology published by the EBWW. But the contest paid a big prize. My reaction: jealousy, envy, I hate her, I thought. Though I got to attend my first book signing at the workshop for my essay, I discovered a nasty trait in me. I wanted it all. Greedy little author.
I read my Erma writing competition entry to a group of contest entrants and flopped. No one laughed. Guess I picked the wrong entry because I usually got at least 5-10 good laughs from my home writing groups for my humor.
As the three days progressed, I noticed many of the authors had books on the table – really good ones. I had no book of my own on the table. More envy. More jealousy.
The stand-up routines at the workshop were outstanding. Amazingly funny women. And John Grogan’s talk on writing Marley and Me was outstanding. Then there was Pitchapalooza where authors got to pitch their books and one would get an invite from an agent. I was so glad they didn’t call on me because mine sounded so amateurish. The beginning of a slump.
It seems in the isolation of my own little writer’s cubby, I could become anything I wanted to be. When I rubbed up against seasoned authors, experienced dramatists, and funny, funny comedians, I felt very small. My fat head was shrunk by the encounters with these talented people. The air went out of my balloon. I went home depressed. They all seemed so confident and so into each other. They say attending conferences will build your confidence. Not for me. That workshop exposed me to who I had not yet become.
After I picked myself up and washed off the self-pity and nasty attitudes, I noted five insights or wisdoms I gained from my workshop experience:
I am a success as long as I didn’t leave my writing den. I need to get out more and develop a thicker skin.
I discovered a deep self-esteem problem I didn’t know I had.
I need to drop my envy and be happy for my fellow writers’ successes. I believe blessing begets blessing.
I should dig in and ask how I can improve my work.
I need to persevere. Never give up.