Lesson learned

I recently attended a bi-monthly dinner held by a group of local writers. It’s a social gathering and a time to relax, network with like-minded people and exchange ideas. The hostess of the event, who initiated this regular get-together and continues to coordinate it for us, was very pleased with the launch of my web site and mentioned it to everyone who stopped at our table. While I worked in tourism and marketing for a number of years, I am better at promoting others and still struggle to “toot my own horn”.IMG_0126

During the evening, one fellow writer joined our table and, when she found out I’d launched my web site and was going to be offering writing classes, boldly asked, “What makes you feel qualified to offer writing classes?”

OK, let me preface this by saying she didn’t want to sound abrupt before she asked her question, but the manner in which it was asked actually took me off guard. I mean, exactly! What made me feel qualified to offer writing class? I have no formal education in writing, other then elementary, high school and college English classes. I’ve been a member of a writer’s group for about 15 years now and I’ve been on several writing retreats, to writer’s conferences and taking various seminars, and I’ve had some work published, both as part of my job, and as a freelance writer; but what exactly qualifies me to teach writing?

Having now recovered my dignity, I’ll add that she did say later on that she wasn’t in the best of moods and she implied that she felt she’d approached the question in what may not have been the best manner, I know I now have my answer.

I love the written word and I truly enjoy sharing that love with others. One doesn’t have to have a college or university degree to teach anything, they simply have to have a love, appreciation, and understanding of the subject. They need to want to share that IMG_0004and they need to connect with others who want to learn from them. Part of the reason I didn’t launch all of my classes right away, was because I knew I myself had to do a refresher class in some of them. I don’t want to try to teach something and feel I can’t give my best to it. I need to know that I’m secure in the information I’m providing. The class I’m offering to start with is the first class for that exact reason. It’s a creative writing class where I provide prompts and the attendees run with whatever ideas that prompt brings to mind. There is no emphasis on previous experience, style of writing, grammar, spelling…none of that. It’s meant to be fun and a way to get outside of your normal thought process when writing and just, Put Pen to Paper (the name of the class).

So, there you have it. I’m offering writing classes because I want to, and because I have people who have expressed interest in attending. I guess, to put it in perspective, it’s the same as writing a book. You write it because you want to and you feel you have an audience out there who will want to read it.

With that, I’m off to put my own pen to paper and write a letter to a friend. Yes, a real handwritten letter.

 

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Time to take the leap of faith

Well, I’ve been working on my website on and off for over a year….OK, maybe even closer to two years. Like everything else, life kept getting in the way. Life, and fear. It’s amazing how someone can have others look to them for answers, but they have fear when putting trust into themselves. OK, maybe not fear….insecurity? Yeah, we’ll run with that one. I’ve always known I wanted to write. I’ve always known I wanted, and needed to help others. Now, with the launch of my website, I hope to start doing that. Like this blog, and me as well, my website is a work in progress.

WOP_2colI only have one course available to start, Putting Pen to Paper, but I’m offering it two nights a week. It doesn’t start until after March Break and will each session will run for six week. By that time I will be close to launching a second class, Proprioceptive Writing, as I’m finishing up a refresher course on that myself. That will follow, very shortly after, with classes on writing your own life story.

With all of this in mind, I put pen to paper myself last night and wrote my first poem in probably 35 years. WOW! I shocked myself with I did that math. The last poem I remember writing, and I probably still have it here, was when I was 15 years old and still lived at home with my Dad and Stepmom. I spent a lot of time down on the lakefront in Bright’s Grove, Ontario pouring out my teen angst. Not having written poetry in so many years, I wasn’t sure what would come out of the end of my pen. Just a note here; yes, I do use pen to paper. My creativity tends to flow more freely in that manner and I don’t edit myself, as I do typing this blog. I’ve included the poem here, for what it’s worth. Good, bad or indifferent, these are the words that flowed from my pen.

IMG_0283I Stand Alone

I stand alone,

Secure in my understanding of who I am

Where I have been

And where I am going.

I stand alone,

Confident in my abilities

My strengths and

My weaknesses.

I stand alone,

Unwavering in my beliefs

Of the Spirit within

And the energy around.

I stand alone,

Knowing I have to love myself first.

Recognizing we have to be able to be alone

Before we can understand how to be together.

I stand alone…..

If you want to check out my website, you can find it at www.writesofpassage.ca 

Please remember, it’s still in development and things will keep changing on it. I’m still working on the mobile version (slight technical issues), and I’ve already had the suggestion of offering online, or long distance classes. I guess we’ll just have to see what develops.

A new year and new promises

Well, it’s the start of yet another year and I am nowhere close to where I wanted to be. This being said, the only resolutions I have made are meant to put me on that path. With that in mind, I’m devoting time to finishing up my website and putting together notes for classes I will be holding. I’ll be starting small, but hope to ramp up as the year progresses and the classes I’ll be taking myself come to an end.

I’m also learning more about this blogging program. Up to this point it’s been all text, which can get pretty damn boring pretty damn quickly. I’m learning how to add photos, and will be venturing out with my camera more often, so that I can use my one pictures rather than generic ones found on the internet.

mantel

And there we go. The first picture has been added. Now that forces me to upload more of my own photos for use one here. I even learned how to make the text wrap around the photo. Damn, I’m good!

I’ve also spent some time going through paperwork on my desk. It’s amazing how quickly it piles up. I’ve found several notebooks that have been started, and never completed. Some contain pieces I’ve written, or experiences in my writing process, that may end up shared here. Others, well others are a feeble attempt at journaling on a daily basis. Yeah, that’s one of those resolutions I’m working on again this year.

journal2

This is one of those stock photos “borrowed”from the internet.  One final resolution I’m going to share, is to try to post on here on a more regular basis. With class outlines being drawn up, and new commitments to myself regarding my own writing and growth, posting on here will also figure into that. So on that note, all the best to you and your resolutions for the new year and let’s hope at least one of us follows through.