Newbie Nerves

When I hit SUBMIT on the form, it seemed like a great idea at the time.  I love writing, but I have put it on the back burner recently because my professional life is all consuming. Signing up for the “Slice of Life Story Challenge” for the month of March on https://twowritingteachers.org/ would give me permission to focus my free time and energy on writing and not feel guilty about it.  Anticipation and excitement filled me as I pondered all of the small moment stories I was ready to share with a new audience.

Eagerly, I sat down to write my Day One entry. I pulled up the list of ideas I have been accumulating and measured the feeling of appropriateness for my first submission.  After-all, I wanted to impress my latest readers. Much to my chagrin, no story felt right. What has always come easily to me, suddenly felt overwhelming.  The more I tried, the more I could only think about the fact that I was unsure what to write about.   Only one  “right story” revealed itself…my experience as a First-Time Slicer or FTS to be short.

Writer's Block Is Real | Writers Write

Debating which story to bring to life, made me think about how hard it is to do something the very first time and being a FTS is no different. I am about to share 31 personal stories with complete strangers and allow them to post comments and feedback on my writing.  If this is not an exercise in vulnerability, then I don’t know what else is.  I wish I had Brene Brown next to me right now encouraging me to embrace this experience, rather than my sleeping Cockapoo, whose only offering is her warmth.  

So, I did the next best thing.  I relistened to Brown’s podcast from March 20, 2020 titled FFTs. If you have never listened to it, I encourage you to download it, take a brisk walk or car ride and absorb the advice she shares. If you don’t have time to listen right now, here is the synopsis from her site

The first Unlocking Us podcast is here! Along with the excitement of sending this into the world, I’m feeling equal doses of fear, awkwardness, and vulnerability. In this episode I talk about my strategy for staying in tough first times versus tapping out and shutting down. When we get to the point that we only do things that we’re already good at doing, we stop growing. And truly living.

Like Brene Brown, I am feeling a sense of fear.  I even debated withdrawing from the contest.  I mean, what if no one liked my writing or worse…no one even read it?!  But, I have decided that I am going to welcome this opportunity and give it my best shot.  My style of writing is going to be different from others.  My stories may not be as interesting or funny as someone else’s.  Readers will comment and offer me feedback. This is all okay!

15 Brené Brown quotes to empower your teacher heart during the darkest of  times - The Teacher Dress Code

Participating in this challenge is pushing me in more ways than I initially realized.  What I initially viewed as a guilt-free opportunity to spend time doing something I love, is evolving into an opportunity for me to grow and learn as a writer.  While today’s topic may not be the “wow” story I was initially hoping to share, it is a direct reflection of my desire to become a better writer.  This has to be something with which each one of my readers can relate.  Ultimately, they were FTSs too.

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14 replies »

  1. Welcome!

    First, there is no “right”– just write. 🙂 Easier said than done, I know. I sometimes feel that way too, and it’s my fifth year.

    I love Brene’s podcasts. She’s just so brilliant. I’m glad you’re following her lead and being vulnerable and putting yourself out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I often tell my students that my favorite part of reading their writing is not always the polished final piece. In fact, I love to see the changes they make along the way — the word replaced three or four times, the new idea that clearly sprouts mid-revision. Your post makes clear that reading is a connection between the writer and the reader. And, it is the peek behind the shiny facade that bonds us. Thanks for sharing your first post and your bravery!

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  3. Thank you for taking me back to Brene Brown’s FFT podcast. I must listen again!
    I have sliced for six years now and even this morning I wondered – Did I make a mistake? Can I handle this again? My answers were quick yeses, and it sounds like you said yes again too! I always find that by the end of the month my eyes are so wide open to many stories sitting right there in front of me. I appreciate the world around me so much more after slicing, and I am better connected to those students that say I have nothing to write about!
    This is a wonderful writing community and I hope you will find we are all so very encouraging and welcoming!
    Welcome to the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie, what a great first time slice for a FTS! It is nice to get to know you a little bit. Thanks for the Brene Brown recommendation, and summary of her podcast. One down, and you have a list of story ideas, so you are well on your way! Thanks for sharing yourself and your writing today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad you took the leap! You’ll find you’ve joined an incredible community! And now you’re already ahead on a list of ideas, which is going to make those hard-to-write days so much easier! (I love Brene Brown too, btw!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome, Julie, to a group who totally hears you! I was in your shoes when I first started out and I want to reassure you, this is one of the highlights of my year! It is tough and you identify the reasons why it is tough so well in your post! But I assure you, you will be so happy you went out on this limb! I look forward to reading more of what you have to say!

    Liked by 1 person

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