Submitting a proposal to give a beginning-level workshop on blogging – quite cleverly titled “Blogging 1o1” – seemed like a good idea.
At the time.
Last summer when I emailed a suggested course outline to The Writers Center. After all, if I could learn how to start a blog on my own (with some tech help, I admit), then anyone can start a blog. And if you are self-taught, then surely you can teach others?
Or as Eleanor Roosevelt (one of my personal heroes) once said:
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Beginning on Tuesday, January 12th at 11:00 a.m. at The Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland (a wonderful non-profit about 10 minutes from my house that offers hundreds of writing workshops), I will be doing one thing that scares me. Not every day. Not sure I could handle that. But on January 12. January 19. January 26. February 2. Two hours on each of four days in early 2016 when I will certainly be scared.
(Or as our 2-year-old grandson recently said before boarding a Big Plane, “I scary.” )
I know just how he feels.
My husband reminds me that when I began this Blog in May 2014 I had no clue as to what I was doing. I had taken two courses at the Writers Center, written a bunch of essays, had a few of them published. After I recovered from the shock of seeing my words in print, I decided I needed a regular venue for my writing.
And hence a Blog was born. Witty Worried and Wolf. Chosen to sound like the name of a law firm. I practiced law for 33+ years but sadly, the name of the firm was never changed to include mine. Here was my chance to see my name in lights – albeit self-appointed.
What about the “imposter syndrome,” I wondered? The one that regularly haunts me (perhaps you too?), that makes you second-guess your own abilities and accomplishments. Even when something you do receives praise from people who are not relatives.
The imposter syndrome kicked into its highest gear when I was in my second year in law school, having unwisely chosen to take a class called “Unfair Trade”. We would learn about prohibitions on deceptive and unfair trade practices, misleading advertising and the Federal Trade Commission. Straightforward enough subjects, I thought.
Then mid-way through that fall, the professor brought out the centerpiece of the curriculum – a ridiculously complex, much misunderstood federal law called The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936. The R-P Act was – and is, as far as I know – a rarely used antitrust statute passed in the wake of the Depression to prevent large buyers from getting better prices than buyers with lesser economic power.
Even the Supreme Court called the R-P Act “complicated and vague”.
I felt as did the Supreme Court. Adding to my dismay, the professor announced that 50% of our grade on the final exam in “Unfair Trade” would be based on questions relating to the R-P Act.
I was doomed.
Imagine my surprise, when a few weeks into January, our final exam grades were posted, and I saw that I had received a 94 in Unfair Trade. An “A”! Must be a mistake.
Such was my disbelief that I made an appointment to see the professor during office hours. I recall walking in, sitting down in the chair across from his desk and he asked:
“Miss Wolf, what can I do for you?”
“Ummm, I took Unfair Trade this fall? I just got my grade? And I received an A? I don’t understand?”
(note my early use of female upspeak)
The professor looked at me – this time the disbelief was his.
“Miss Wolf, are you asking me to change your grade? To lower it?”
Two seconds of reflection, then.
“Sorry, Professor, I shouldn’t have come. Thank you for seeing me.”
And I hastily retreated from his office.
Since then, I am pleased to report my self-confidence trajectory has improved. I did graduate from law school. I did practice law. I did become a partner. I did have clients who thought highly of my legal abilities. Over the years I repeated these words as a mantra whenever the imposter syndrome threatened to overcome me.
Back to Eleanor Roosevelt. And the one scary thing.
Blogging was scary for me – at first. Writing posts came easily enough, but putting my own words out there into the marketplace of ideas for public examination – what could be more frightening?
I also quiver each time I’m forced to learn the tech stuff that goes along with blogging. What, I asked, when I first got started – are plug-ins, SEO and widgets?
After 20 months of blogging, I know just enough about plug-ins, SEO and widgets to explain what they are; happily leaving it to others who wish to plumb the inner depths of fascinating blog tech tips.
I am much more interested in the words, in helping the participants who sign up for the workshop find their own audiences, craft posts that resonate with them and put them out there for public viewing.
And yes, last week I called the Writers Center to ask if anyone has signed up to take my workshop, always in self-doubt, perhaps secretly hoping that the workshop would be cancelled for lack of interest.
But 12 brave souls will join me, all may be saying as they enter the room at the Writers Center – “I scary” – – – me, too!!