So I titled this post as if I’m telling you all to just flow with the script God gave you, but really I’m talking about myself.
Yesterday I had a very soberly dose of reality. I attended a writer’s conference that I almost didn’t because of a number of minor excuses. But boy am I glad that I did go! The information was not only specifically what I needed to hear from the experts who spoke about writing memoirs and techniques to use in non-fiction writing, but the new folk I sat next to were by far the best reason to attend.
One young lady and I immediately hit it off. The ice breaker was original unsettling because as we found out, we both were introverts so the fact that we were required to walk around the whole area arm and arm telling one another a story about the other as we made the trek. We both agreed on at least three occasions during that little adventure, “This is so weird.”
Regardless of the weirdness of that situation, I am thankful for that meeting and the next. The main speaker for the first portion just happened to have a lot more in common with me that I expected. I was immediately intrigued because she had been a professor in the writing center from UALR. I felt the need to gain some further direction about the book I’d been working on for what seems forever!
After a few breaks and sharing a bit more of myself with the young lady to my left. She asked whether I record myself and transcribe it. I admitted that I used to do that and sometimes I will find myself talking about my story and regretting that I never pressed record. Even in that conversation, I wish I had not paused it.
Maybe subconsciously I felt I had nothing to say worth hearing again.
I’m glad that this young lady admitted as a disclaimer that she’s gotta work on tact before she shared with me exactly what I needed to hear.
As I shared bits and pieces about my mother and the trials I’d faced with my ex-husband and the ups and down f single motherhood, her words stung but they were just the hypodermic needle I needed to push me to accept the fact that indeed I did just need to quit editing myself.
“You need to just do it. I think that you’re trying so hard not to be like your mother than you are going to send yourself to the opposite end of crazy!”
Pointing out that I did possess a few OCD tendencies when it came to editing my work and even reading the work of others, the meat of my issue was revealed in another very telling statement she made, ” I think you are so worried about what people will think that you are editing yourself.”
I knew that I’d always had the tendency to correct my grammatical errors as well as that of others for years and I knew that I have a tendency to procrastinate. What I couldn’t get was why I could set a goal to finish grad school with a 4.0 when I started, maintain that 4.0 except for one B+ and an A- at the end of that trek, settling for a 3.875. I was still proud that I’d been graced to receive that after having been out of school for so many years prior.
This other new acquaintance mentioned the reason I managed to get it together when I was in grad school was that I had forced structure- a plan that someone else had made for me, and that I hadn’t completed the book because of I lacked a rubric.
We were given an exercise to write on the fly and one other young lady’s feedback jolted my spirit.
“I wanted to hear more. I could identify with your desire to reconcile with your mother and whether it was even possible to do so because I too struggle with issues within my family.”
We were told to write for about ten minutes on the fly. We were told to pick a person from a list of names that I’d jotted down earlier and just to write. We were not told that we would have to read it aloud to someone else for feedback
I’m glad I didn’t know what. Had I known that I would likely have done what I’ve done, I would have edited myself…my words…my story.
Well no more!!
I know that that has been my crutch and I’ve held onto a cast for too long. I’ve been healed but I supposed I’d gotten used to the comfort. So while I am still an editor at heart, I understand that writing from the heart doesn’t require that I go back and undo the wrongs that I have done, but that I just am in the moment. With that, from this point on, I’m deciding to be perfectly okay with my grammatical mistakes on this blog. I want real people to read and be blessed and that by no means requires perfection so today I’m finally able to stop editing myself if for no other reason but to entice you to do the same
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