“I feel like less of a writer than when I arrived,” I whimpered on the phone to my sweetie. I was returning from a writer’s retreat a few hours away from home, and checking in with him before my departure.
I admit to predisposing the weekend to some trouble when I fretted a bit about 2 friends who would be there. I covet my anonymity, especially when I’m creating. Everything and everyone is potentially a distraction for an extrovert. My friends’ presence was a bit of a distraction.
The teacher was a lovely seasoned writer who uses a specific method to inspire students that includes guided meditation, writing, reading, critiquing. When I discovered how the process worked, I would admit I panicked remembering previous workshop experiences where I had a pattern of freezing when required to perform on demand. I smelled fear, wondered if it is just a lovable quirk about me, or a flaw I should do something about.
Sure enough I froze, couldn’t relax and settle in and truly let go. I felt pressured and defensive and then I panicked. The method didn’t work for me all weekend. I had nothing.
So there I sat in the lobby of my Victorian hotel, waiting for the safety of daylight to wheel my luggage the 8 blocks to the station, surrounded by the sound of pre-dawn shift change. With extra time on my hands, it was easy to succumb to the trance of the lighted rectangle and I entered password information to get onto sitemeter.com where the user activity is recorded for my blogs. “Hello . . . anybody out there?” is the question answered by user activity software. It tracks whether or not people are reading what you write. I scrolled down the miniature screen, made more tedious by its size. Holy moly, my visitors had tripled while I was away. When I texted my sweetie of my finding he said he thought it was a sign.
Still I sulked the entire trip home, justifying temporary self-pity because I felt horrible; and I knew I’d eventually get over it. I looked out the window at the landscape mostly whizzing by, a tapestry of old towns and plain people like me. I wrote nothing. All the ponds and shallow waterways were sealed in ice, barren, much like my muse.
I told my story to one of university students the other day, tough weekend, hurt feelings and then low and behold I discovered my blog activity had tripled. Come to find out, he had been reading my blog posts. I asked if he was the one responsible for increased traffic.
“I did share your blog link on facebook,” he apologized.
“Are you kidding? I owe you a huge thanks.”
I know this stuff, but every once in a while I need to be reminded. For every person that doesn’t “get” me, there is at least one who does. If I focus on the ones that don’t get me, I’ll never take risks and I'll lose momentum and feel sorry for myself. If I focus on the ones that do get me, it inspires me to write more.
And it feels good.