I know, it’s weird, right? I’ve never used a hashtag as my blog post title, but I assure you, there’s a very good reason why.
This week is the North Carolina Online Writing Workshop and I going to attend. It’s super exciting! It’s a two day event and the class schedule looks like it’ll have a lot of really good content to help me improve not only my writing, but my querying as well (and I’ll be honest, my querying skills could really use some work).
Writing Workshops are a great opportunity to grow as a writer. Not only can you learn a lot from the different classes, but you can meet other writers, build connections, and put yourself out there. All the workshops I’ve been to have provided the opportunity to get feedback on the first ten pages of your manuscript as well as your query letter. You can also schedule ten minute query sessions with agents to hopefully snag that “yes” all writers are dying to hear. This year, I’m not querying any agents–I’m not in a good place to start doing that again–but I am getting feedback. I’ve paid the extra mile to get my query letter and the first ten pages of my manuscript reviewed and that makes me hesitant.
As exciting and opportunistic as Writing Workshops are, if you’re like me, you’re going to hear that voice of doubt whispering in the back of your mind. Yeah, you’re going to learn so much, but what if everything you learn just spotlights how far behind you are? What if the feedback on your novel isn’t that good? That the editor just hates every bit of your first ten pages? What if there’s a lot of red marks on my query letter? I’ve attended a writing workshop before and the person who provided feedback on your query letter crossed out the entire thing and left a page of lecturing on why it was all wrong. What if, instead of launching you forward, this writing workshop tears you down and reminds you that the task of publishing is just too impossible and you’re not good enough?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by those doubts. To let them steal the joy of a workshop’s opportunities. Yeah, maybe by the end of it all, you’ll realize you’ve got a long way to go. You’ve got improvements to do on your writing skills, query letter, and story in general. However, now you know how to improve! Growth takes effort in any skill and sometimes it also takes a push from others. If you attend a workshop and it highlights everything you’ve done wrong or anything you weren’t particularly good at, and tells you how to get better, then that workshop has done its job! It’s on to you to take the next step and make those improvements. Feedback sucks. It’s hard to hear the truth that something you think is fantastic, actually isn’t in the eyes of others. When it comes to writing, you’ve got to improve everyday. Even if it means redoing an entire paragraph you just wrote (like I just did for this blog post).
If you’re attending the North Carolina Writing Workshop, I hope it launches you into a writing frenzy! Where you just go, go, go, and make all sorts of progress in your stories, query letter, poems, whatever you write! That’s what I’m hoping for with this workshop. My motivation to write my novels has been pretty low because of the doubt that no matter how much I try to improve them, they’ll never be good enough. With this workshop, I’m hoping inspiration will tackle me like a 90lbs. German Shepherd!
But, you have to beat back the doubt. Inspiration can’t tackle you if you’re lost in a cloud of doubt. So, whenever those doubts start creeping up, beat them back! And be stubborn about it! What if you’re so far behind? Well, then you’re just gonna have to catch up! What if the feedback on your novel is overwhelming? Take it one line at a time and you’ll be moving forward! What if your entire query letter is all scratched out again? Well, they left different pieces of advice, so now it’ll only get better! Things can’t improve if you don’t put in the effort. So, argue with the doubt. You CAN be a writer and a darn good one too! Publishing may seem impossible, but it isn’t. If you’re pitching to agents this workshop, don’t linger on the “What if I fail?!” Linger on the “What if they say yes?” “What if they do like my novel and want to represent it? What if this is my big break?!” Focus on that excitement, because I guarantee it can only help when pitching and if things don’t work out, well, they weren’t the one. Grieve for a moment, move on, and shoot for the stars.
I believe in you.