Quieting My Inner Doubt & Grabbing Life By The Horns [What I Learned at Write! Canada]
I approached the whole idea of a writer's conference with a kind of fear that made my heart pound and my digestive track revolt. I thought myself a painfully shy, socially handicapped, positively uninteresting being who stumbled over being vocally eloquent or remotely intelligent. I was actually ashamed to call myself a writer. (Well, I mean, I kind of like to write, it doesn't really mean anything - like, I don't get paid or anything and I don't know if anybody reads it and I certainly know that you don't care and I'm just boring you with this so-far-from-witty-repartee that has nothing to do with anything you're interested in so I'll just tell you that I work in graphic design because that's much more acceptable in your eyes...) And for what? What gain is there in denying the very essence of my core?
And, at the risk of sounding like a sentimental cheese-ball, I have never felt more myself than when I stood with this crowd of people who were so closely JUST.LIKE.I.WAS. and who allowed me to be wholly, without apology, one hundred percent, wearing my dreams on my sleeve, ME.
I was empowered and affirmed and felt like I was suddenly surrounded by a tribe of people who wished me every single success I have always wished for.
When I took my seat across from an honest-to-goodness literary agent (who happened to be an honest-to-goodness cowboy!) - after shaking his hand with a strong, non-sweaty grip, introducing myself like I owned who I was - I asked him my most pressing question: how can I make myself most appealing to an agent or publisher? "Well, Ma'am," he said, southern drawl warming up the air, his grey handlebar mustache hanging over his upper lip, hair flattened by the cowboy hat that rested politely beside him, "I must say, you've already made yourself quite attractive!" Of course, it went on from there into practicalities and realities and how to write a query that mattered but I spent the whole time marveling that I, socially handicapped little me, could actually make a good impression. "It's like a dance. It's like a marriage. If I like you and you like me, we're a match made in heaven and I'll work hard for you."
People were actually seeking me out to praise my work and encourage me into a successful future. One woman - a published author, thin fingers resting on my shoulder as we stood in a doorway, told me in a gentle voice how moved she was by the piece I read - how my truth had stirred her - how humbling is that???
My body aches after hours of sitting in classes and workshops, after hours of little activity beyond the frantic scribbling over page after page of notes, after little sleep and so much laughing. I believe I have started friendships that will span across years and provinces. I believe that I have purpose. I believe that it is not all for not.
First posted over here...
Alanna Rusnak writes honest blog posts reflecting her world as a mother of three, wife of one, employee of a church, and a lover of beauty over at SelfBinding Retrospect
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