Several weeks ago I applied to a Writer’s Boot Camp- and was rejected.
As part of the application process, they asked what college-level writing classes I’ve taken, and I answered that I’ve made up my own from the books I’ve studied. They asked how many times I’ve attended this conference/workshop before, and I admitted I didn’t even know it existed until last November– although I had heard rumors. They asked for my publishing credentials, and I sent in the short list.
By the end of the application process, I knew it was a long shot. I mean, really– who makes up their own college classes?
So I wasn’t too shocked when they said I didn’t get in.
Not that I wasn’t sad. But tat least I wasn’t shocked.
They did say, however, that I could send a writing sample and be considered for the Advanced Class. This could be good– right? I sent in my pages. And proceeded to stress.
Who was I kidding? It’s been weeks– maybe months– since I’ve been able to write fiction. Extreme stress does that to me. It hijacks my brain waves and turns them into day-old Cream of Wheat. Lumpy and disgusting. The more I didn’t write, the more I figured I couldn’t, until I had nearly convinced myself that I was no longer a writer. Sheesh! I couldn’t even read a book, let alone think of a character’s motives and put a plot together!
I decided that if I didn’t make it into the Advanced Class, I’d sell the laptop to pay for groceries and never write again.
I saw the email while riding the exercise bike in my pjs about 7 am. I stopped peddling so I wouldn’t fall off if it was bad news and said a prayer for getting into the Advanced Class. And…
I got into the Boot Camp!
I stared at the email and burst into tears. Tears of fear, apprehension and relief. I had no idea I felt this strongly about writing! I’d nearly convinced myself I didn’t care about it anymore. And I had no idea if I could do this. Months of not being able to write left me uncertain who I even was.
I’ve told myself stories for as long as I can remember, and started writing them soon thereafter. I used to scare myself so badly I’d lay awake gripping the covers and staring at shadows till well into the morning. I’d tell my sister stories in bed at night after she picked the subject. And I’d make up tragedies until I was sobbing as I did my paper route. At the end of 10th grade, I signed my friend Kris’s yearbook in a huge John Hancock and wrote under it, “So when I’m a famous author, you’ll have my autograph.”
I’d been ready to give up on a dream I’ve held so long I can’t tell where it leaves off and I start.
Now I have a boot camp to prepare for. And I’m excited! Work to do! Pages to edit! Books to read! And somehow, with one vote of confidence in my corner, the gears in my brain have started moving again. Slowly, but moving all the same.
What have you always wanted to do? What do you want to be?