Acceptance and Writing

Woman's hand writing


I lead the Tuesday night workshop at The Resiliency Center in Flourtown, PA. Every month one member of The Center chooses the theme and writes the main article for the newsletter. I drafted this one evening during the Tuesday Night Writers’ Workshop and decided to post it here as well.

Acceptance and The Writing Process

When I chose July’s theme for The Resiliency Center’s newsletter, I thought I knew what I wanted to say. Now that I’m actually trying to write it, I feel lost.

There’s a voice inside me saying, “You should brainstorm, just write a list of all of the reasons you wanted to write about acceptance; you should mind map or make a vision board; you should at least write an outline.” But how can I write an outline when there’s so much I could say? And who is this bossy person calling me “You?”

The Inner Critic Has Risen!

Acceptance. Okay, I’m going to practice it right now. I’m the Director of the Philadelphia Writers’ Workshop, and I’m struggling to write a few paragraphs about acceptance. I’ll just sit with this struggle and try to be patient with myself. Patience is an important part of the writing process. So much for that–soon I hear a girl nagging, “But you’re the Director of the Philadelphia Writers’ Workshop. You of all people should be able to write a cogent article.”

Thanks, But I’ll Take It From Here

That voice isn’t nearly as loud or shrill as she used to be. A few years ago, I sat down and had a conversation with that mean girl who barraged me with an endless list of shoulds I would never be able to accomplish. I thanked her for her concern, for her attempts to save me from exposing my shortcoming and faults. I told her I wouldn’t be hiding until I was perfect anymore: it was time for me to move on, to open up to the world around me and embrace myself as I am.

As I said, that voice is still there. She’s worried I’ll make a fool of myself if I don’t write an article “worthy” of me. “What will people think?” she’s saying. So I tell her this is what acceptance looks like: letting go of what other people might think, daring to make myself vulnerable and embracing my imperfections. Acceptance isn’t organized—no amount of outlining or mind mapping will remove the bumps and potholes from the path to reaching it, but it is scenic. As I take in the variety of vistas, my compassion for myself and others grows.

Oh, dang, there she goes again! “You should be writing the perfect article!” Chill girl, I’m sure whatever I write will be good enough.