I learned about a spectacular writing course from a friend. While she hadn’t taken it, she felt it might appeal to me. Well, yes, it did! The line—“Is your blog read only by your Mom and five close friends?”—seemed to speak to me personally. The course promised an instant community of hundreds of writers who would support my writing, become blog followers and write reviews for my future book. I found the informative course webinar enticing enough that I impulsively signed up, at a monthly fee for one year’s duration. Buyer’s remorse didn’t set in right away as I was too busy to take advantage of the course’s writing program until my life slowed down a bit.
This was last summer. I reluctantly asked for my summer writing program to be postponed until gardening season ended. (Mind you, the monthly fees were still deducted!) I figured I’d take the course when fall set in.
There wasn’t a fall course available so I was placed in the December course. What was I thinking? I was busy now with Christmas shopping. The course demanded eight hours a week of study and writing. I read how other members curtailed their extra-curricular activities to focus solely on the course. One member complained about having to cut back on her three hours of daily meditation in order to take the course. I don’t meditate but my life is jam-packed full. Something would have to give in order for me to find eight extra hours each week. I couldn’t exactly give up a day’s work to participate!
I begged off the December course, as well. I was already working plenty during the holidays. There was no way I could find joy in the season if I was stressed finding time for the course.
When the spring session started, I dove in. I knew it was now or never, as gardening season was popping up shortly! I completed the prerequisites for the course, including technical work on my website. This time I was committed!
Still, I quit the course. Not only that, but I asked all further monthly payments end immediately. Why?
Well . . . this is what I wrote the course director:
First of all, thank you for putting me in this class after cancelling the first two times.
Unfortunately, your course is not the right fit for me. I was hoping to get more email followers. I’ve followed people’s blogs, posted comments, etc. and they have not done likewise. I went over to the community—I think that’s what it is called—and read two people’s posts on the topic of what style they were writing, and why they were in the course. The first person wrote they were writing in a Pee-wee Herman style and his writing was of a perverse nature. The second person bragged they held a degree from the University of Berkeley for writing and yet, they did not have a strong command of the English language. I can’t see that I would want either of these two to write a book review for me. It was rather disturbing and upsetting and I would like to withdraw from the course. I’ve paid monthly since signing up last summer. If you could cancel future payments, that would be downright amazing as I have not had the time or opportunity to do anything on your site. I’m sure it is very good for many people . . . just not me.
While the above was unequivocally true and no further payments were made for the course, there was another reason even more compelling as to why I quit the course.
I had sat down to write my first piece for the course. It was to be 2000 words in total. I had a topic in mind to write and started typing. I knew what I desired to write would be far less than 2000 words. I found myself trying to expand on the writing, like a high school student trying to write a long essay based on only a few points. I pride myself on being concise. To do the opposite would not help me at all!
And, then it hit me . . . there was a reason why I couldn’t write a 2000-word tale on command. It wasn’t fun anymore. It was work. And for me, creative juices flow when there’s a passion, not when it’s a task.
I quit the course and have no regrets. I’m actually happy I didn’t let it steal my joy of writing. Writing’s not about how many blog followers you have or if your book gets published. Writing is getting the story inside of you out to the world.
Maya Angelou stated it this way:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
And F. Scott Fitzgerald declared:
“You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.”
I quit the course, but I didn’t quit my joy of writing. I’ve so many stories yet to be told!
Happy writing, my friends!