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.
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!
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.