Posted tagged ‘anxiety’

Writer’s Conference Anxiety

May 15, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     May 15, 2018

                              

The Estes Park Christian Writer’s Conference is one day away and I’m feeling like a jittery five year old about to hug his mom and walk with shaking knees into his kindergarten class for the first day of school. What will happen? What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I fall on the playground and skin my knee, or tip over the building blocks accidentally? What if my teacher doesn’t like me and makes me stand in the corner?

Kindergarten questions simply get redressed into grownup worries. As I head to the conference the questions cloud my mind like the halo on top of Pike’s Peak this morning. 

What if my clinic teacher tells me that my writing really sucks? What if they use literary terms that I have no clue about? What is the people there are about half a bubble off center…you know, the elevator doesn’t go to the top floor? What if I have to go to the bathroom really bad? (As you can tell, I’m a bit concerned about taking care of “my business!”) What if I get asked a question and my mind goes as blank as a stare? What if I get Gordon Ramsay for an instructor, complete with English accent and expletives? 

When you have never experienced something you begin to let your mind wander to dark places. 

I WAS accepted as one of six people in the Fiction Intensive Clinic. I had to send my book synopsis and first chapter to the clinic teacher about two months ago and the six of us that were accepted were notified at the end of April. Each of us now has the first chapter and synopsis of the others in the group. There will be some major critiquing and, hopefully, encouragement as we learn about writing tendencies and bad habits. 

I will have appointments with a few literary agents, with hopes that someone will be interested in my book enough to express desire in getting it in front of some publishers. In the midst of this is some personal pride about the story I’ve created, the characters I’ve come to love, and the value of the message that the book brings. My stomach becomes a bit queasy thinking that I’ve written four hundred pages that might get trashed. Actually, I’ve written eight hundred plus pages, because the sequel to the first book has already had its first draft finished. The third book has already been started. Through the pages of type I’ve come to love the characters like the ninth grader, Randy Bowman, and his seventh grade neighbor and friend, Ethan Thomas. It hit me a while ago that I WAS Ethan Thomas in seventh grade and I wanted to be Randy Bowman when I was a freshman. In the course of the first two books Randy helps Ethan become more than he ever thought he could be, a kid easily unseen in the midst of his school who is mentored and befriended towards the discovery of potential and value. 

And, that is also why there is anxiety about this new experience. I’m all in with the story! Like a fourteen year old who discovers his name is not on the list of players who made the basketball team, I’m trying to brace myself for the possibility of disappointment, but also hold out hope that…something just might happen!

Regardless, I believe that God has orchestrated this moment. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t sound like a harmonica in the midst of a wind ensemble!

Viewing Being Blessed

January 12, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                       January 12, 2015

                                          

A friend of mine that I’m fortunate enough to be the pastor for recently wrote to me to tell me  how appreciative he is of me, and he went on to say that “God has blessed me in so many ways.”

It got me pondering the whole idea of “being blessed.” How seldom do we realize that we have been blessed? Notice I said “seldom”, because in thinking about it I believe that most of the blessings in our lives so unnoticed. Since I am a 60 year old male the appropriate word might best be “clueless.”

Blessings are like Honda Civics. There are so many of them on the road these days you come to a point where you don’t notice them. (I drive a Civic!) It becomes necessary for me to take a step back and view my life, do a personal review, and then slow down long enough to notice how I am abundantly blessed.

It seems that in our culture “being blessed” gets connected to something of personal gain. A promotion at work, a new girlfriend (I’m not referring to myself!), an unexpected tax refund, or the birth of a new child or grandchild…being blessed is equated with something we can clearly quantify. Believe me, there are blessings in those things just mentioned, but most blessings are misunderstood or simply missed!

This past week a dear man from our church who has been dealing with cancer was missing from our Saturday morning men’s Bible Study. It was in missing his presence that I realized how blessed I am to have him as a part of my life. Oddly enough, there is a blessing for me in the fact that I’m so concerned about him.

I talked to my dad on the phone yesterday. We are separated by about 1400 miles, but I was immediately blessed to hear his voice…the familiar eastern Kentucky accent, the few minutes of rehashing the UK Saturday basketball game, the same chuckle that makes my heart leap with joy. As I was talking to him I was not thinking about how blessed I am. It was only later on in the evening that it came home to roost with me.

Last night Carol (my girlfriend for the past 36 years) and I spent time together. We went to a pizza place close to us and enjoyed dinner there, traveled on to Target to get a few things she needed for upcoming events, while there we talked to the young man who lives across the street from us who informed us we was leaving for the Navy next month, came back out to the Civic that was covered with snow, and traveled slowly back home immersed in conversation, laughter, and blessing. As I sit here typing this now I realize what a multitude of blessings were a part of those couple of hours.

This morning in the overnight blanket of six inches of white stuff Carol asked me to drive her to school. Once again, I realize how blessed I am that she needed me to driver her, blessed to know that I am the one who eases her heightened level of anxiety in times like this.

I’m sure that I will go through much of this week anchored back into my tendency to be a clueless guy, but at least for a few moments today I’m recognizing the magnitude of my blessing.