I've got a new kind of travel coming up next week. Travel with a (work?) focus. I put the work in quotation marks, because most people associate work with actually getting paid. Given that I've been working on writing off and on for a decade now and I've earned a grand total of $75, I'm not sure I can honestly claim it as a job. I do, however, claim it as an income (and pleasure) source that I am actively putting my time and energy into learning, creating and attempting to sell.
Next week I'll be attending the Cascade Writers Workshop. This is a small retreat in Moclips on the Washington coast. There will be just under 24 of us author types as attendees and three industry professionals leading our small groups of 8. I've read and critiqued all the pieces of the other seven writers in my group. Several are excellent--they are already published and their work is very difficult for me to comment on, because it is of such higher quality than what I am producing. I get the distinct feeling that I'll be on the bottom of the pecking order, at least based off of the writing sample that I entered.
This is only my opinion, of course. I'm nervous to hear what people have to say about what I've submitted, especially my workshop leader. As a respected industry professional, her words will carry a lot of strength. I've tried to put myself into a healthy mental state to take what is given and say, "Okay, so what have I learned from this and how do I put into practice?" instead of, "The world is a horrible, terrible place and I should now crawl under a rock."
I've always been pretty good at taking constructive criticism, so I'm hopeful that this will be a fabulous learning experience, and that I'll be able to turn off my shyness genes long enough to get to know my fellow workshoppers over the three days we'll be together. If nothing else, I'll get to experience the Washington coast and listen to the ocean.
I hope and believe that this will be a wonderful trip, and I'll make sure to take time to stop and smell the ocean.