I did something a few nights ago that I wouldn't normally do. No, it's nothing raunchy or illicit! I joined an online writers' community two months ago. They hold meetings every month for their members to meet up and exchange ideas on writing. I missed February's meeting as I felt too inadequate. I didn't feel I was worthy enough as a writer then.
I drew courage from having that good assessment from my tutor two weeks ago, to attend this month's meeting. I decided to hold my head high and drown all the negative voices of my inner critic. The meeting was held in the basement of a little cafe in town. We were all seated next to the kitchen as that was the only available space to accommodate a large noisy crowd. Twenty four people attended!
The first question everyone asked me after we exchanged introductions was "Are you published?" I sheepishly said, "No", worriedly thinking that I've been found out as a phony and they would chase me out of the meeting with brooms and frying pans! On the contrary, the responses I received were encouraging. Although all of them were "published" in that either they had their works published in magazines or that they have actually published a book or two, they were very kind to me. One guy said to me, "If you don't submit your articles, you'll never know what you're capable of."
A lady who was a feature writer in a magazine was asking, "How does one know if one's writing is good enough to be published?". We said to her, "You are published!" She replied, "Yes, but these are just articles. Am I good enough to publish a book?" What followed was a lot of encouragement and advice. This may sound too simplistic but a man who has written four manuscripts and published two books said writing must come from the heart. It must be genuine, something that you are passionate of.
I was very surprised to hear her say something similar to what I would say, considering that her writing has actually been read by the public. I guess we all suffer from insecurities and self doubt. It's how we decide to deal with these insecurities that either propels us forward or destroys us. Do we succumb to them and believe that we are indeed limited in all that we can do? Alternatively, do we hold on to our dreams and persist in achieving them despite the criticisms and heartaches?
I went away from that meeting feeling inspired and yet forlorn. An oxymoron! It goes without saying why I was inspired because that is natural given the buzz and flurry of ideas being thrown around all over the table. I felt forlorn because I find it very difficult to carve out sufficient time to be relaxed and at ease enough to pen my thoughts and come up with a good piece of writing.
Nevertheless, I'm not giving up. On my way home that night, in a crowded train, I took out my notebook and scribbled down my thoughts. Oh, and yes, I've RSVPed a "Yes" to the next meeting at the end of this month!