In Seattle, weather is the bane of every workshop teacher’s existence. When it’s raining, you fear that no one will come out for your workshop. When it’s sunny, you think the same thing. Whether the weather is rainy or sunny, it can end up having the same outcome: no one shows up.
The first time I taught my Fear & Writing workshop was on a rainy Sunday last September. But, to my surprise, a ton of people showed up. In fact, I found out later that my workshop, with 54 attendees, was the highest attended workshop in the Seattle Public Library’s Seattle Writes history.
But, when the sun came out a few weeks ago on March 31, 2018, the day of my second Fear & Writing workshop, I was nervous. It was the first sunny day we’d had in weeks.
Would anyone show up?
People showed up.
30 to be exact.
I was so happy…and relieved.
The conference room at the Seattle Central Library felt great, with an encouraging, positive energy. The participants seemed happy to be there.
Several people that came were friends (thanks, Putsata, Thomas, Cynthia, and Melissa). Even my former writing teacher and friend, Brian McDonald, showed up. He had no idea I was going to read from his book, Ink Spots, during the workshop. Even the coordinators of Seattle Writes, librarians Linda Johns and Andrea Gough, took the workshop after introducing me. It was an honor to have all these people there.
Thanks to everyone who came and took the time to listen, learn, freewrite, meditate, and for some, to even read their writing aloud to a room full of strangers. I’m grateful to each and every one of you. Also, I really appreciated the questions that many of you asked at the end of the workshop. Your questions helped me realize what might be missing, and they’ll help me in adjusting the workshop’s content for next time.
In the end, I hope you left my workshop with motivation and inspiration to write more, even if it’s just for ten minutes a day. Remember, you CAN feel the fear and write on!
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is currently writing another novel that is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale set in 1980s Seattle. Peg is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.
Photos by Marcus Donner.