When I’m writing alone in my home office, I often wonder if my work has an impact on anyone besides myself. You see, I don’t just write for myself, I write to communicate with people.
I think the same thing about the Fear & Writing workshops I teach and my online course under the same name. I haven’t taught any workshops yet this year and I sometimes wonder if I should keep teaching them.
It’s times like this that I hope for a sign to keep at it, to keep going.
Well, I got my sign last week.
This email arrived after I posted my story about what I discovered by being a full-time writer.
I took your fear of writing some time ago. It empowered me to pick up a pencil and begin to write away the abuse of childhood that had held me back in so many area of my life. It took me two and a half years to write twenty seven pieces. I had to relive it to heal from it. Your class was the beginning to reclaim my life. Thank you. You are an inspiration to me!
Debra Jean’s email floored me. To hear that your work helped someone “begin to write away the abuse of childhood”? As someone who also survived a difficult childhood, I don’t know if a compliment can get any better than that.
Debra Jean attended my first Fear & Writing workshop in September 2017. This workshop was pivotal for me. I was going public about how I became a full-time writer, then had paralyzing fear and could not write. After 18 months of trudging through mental and emotional mud, I made it through, and was ready (is anyone ever quite ready though?) to share my experience with others.
People came up afterwards and thanked me for teaching the workshop, and I received some nice emails too. I was riding high for weeks after teaching that workshop! But after a while, the high faded, and I was back to square one–facing the blank page, dealing with my fears, feeling many doubts, and wondering if what I did mattered.
I’ll never fully know how my work impacts others. But, every once in a while, I need a sign to keep going. I need reminders that my work matters. We all need this, no matter what kind of work we do.
This time, my sign came in the form of a kind and vulnerable email.
Thank you, Debra Jean.
My workshop helped you, and in turn, your email helped me.
I will too.
ps. I’m teaching Fear & Writing at several places this summer. If you’ve been wanting to write–or have been writing and need some inspiration–please come out and join me. I look forward to seeing you!
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? Peg is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.
Photo of iris by Brian McDonald.