I’m taking a writing class—again. It’s the thing I do when I want to write—because taking a class meets socially accepted criteria for making progress but is substantially less scary and less work than actually writing—and it’s not even in the realm of submitting work to nameless, faceless publishers. It’s a way to fool myself.
On the first night of class, Corbin’s living room is warm, neat, comfortable, and inviting—a cocoon where we escape the hard Fall rain that has just replaced late summer in Seattle, a cocoon where I can hide from the realities of writing cowardice.
Corbin places mint tea and brownies on the coffee table, and as the rest of the class participants arrive, her home feels like a place that begs you to curl up for a good read or some gal chat, which is what we do.
There are four of us women taking the class. All of us want to write, and all of us have plenty to say. We read our work and discuss our struggles, our lives, and our choices—or seeming lack of choice amid societal pressure to “have it all”—successful careers, happy families, and fulfilling personal and social lives.
As our time dwindles, I wish we had four hours instead of two. We eventually start the goodbye process as we make our way to the door, which extends our stay just a little bit longer.
In the days following our first class, I write more in my journal and on the computer, and I work on the piece I read in class. I read blogs and create this one one for myself. I start work on the story about selling my pearls to buy my first boat, and I manage to design a basic website on my Mac. I finally start to think about marketing myself as a writer in the same way I market myself as a business consultant. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so different.
As I churn away with an energy and enthusiasm for the creative process I’ve never felt to this degree before, I realize that I’ve been inspired by these women from the writing class: women who are all getting on with their writing despite having kids, husbands, jobs, and other challenges. Being single and kid-less, my procrastinations, deceptions, and denials are revealed to me as the limp, lame excuses that they are, so I work harder.
Will this new-found determination and resolve to conquer fear and hesitation last? I can’t say. But the warmth, shelter, and protection of a cocoon is not meant to last for any animal; it’s just a phase. The objective is to reach the next part of the cycle, which perhaps is starting this blog.
In a few weeks, when class finishes, my motivation and inspiration will be put to the test, and I wouldn’t dare claim that I won’t continue to seek the comfort and security of writing classes and groups, but suddenly, writing no longer feels like something I should do or wish I could do; it feels like something I must do. And for that, I thank Corbin, Sarah, Aura, and Krista—the inspiration for my blog.