You did it! You finally decided to sign up for an online writing class. As the first day approaches you are filled with nervous anticipation, knowing that you’re finally taking a step forward but also anxious to get started.
The day arrives. You sit down at your desk with a notebook and open your laptop, following the instructions to the web portal. Then you open the first lesson and you begin, following each of these five stages to the end:
Excitement – You tear up at the end of the pre-test because you know a little bit about writing and you only got one question wrong, and you feel like the teacher is speaking directly to you through the computer screen and IT’S EXCITING. Everyone is here to write! Everyone is here to celebrate words!
Terror – Your heart sputters when you land on the discussion page and your competitive drive kicks in. You know in your heart of hearts that there is room for everyone to write, but you want to be better than everyone else and after reading just one funny line from the top post you’ve already convinced yourself that you’re definitely not the best. Oh, and you have to share your creative writing with anonymous internet people which, after spending the amount of time on Twitter that you have, sounds worse than giving a speech in your underwear.
Determination – You remind yourself why exactly you signed up for this class – to get better. To write more. To infuse your writing with a better sense creativity. You open the first lesson, set the timer and begin. You write poorly. You write boldly. You understand that there is no one else in the world that can write the way you can, and that alone gives you the determination to keep writing.
Regret – You don’t understand why it took you this long to get here. This is your absolute favorite thing and you shouldn’t have wasted all of that time worrying that you weren’t good enough to be a writer or that writing is silly. If it’s in you, if it’s a part of you, then it’s not silly. It’s beautiful. Your regret lies only in that you didn’t start sooner, that you ever cared about what other people think. Here you are safe. Here you are among equally as beautiful, anxious, flawed, and courageous humans.
Acceptance – You realize that no matter what, in person or via anonymous chat group, you will never master the art of introducing yourself to other people. Two of your three interesting facts will always be that you’re left-handed and that you’ve never had a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and you’ve finally learned to accept this part of yourself as it is.