Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Road Trip to a New Place

Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, & Anna for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers

I love road trips! Long drives! There's something about them...I feel free. 

I blast music and sing loudly...or I listen to an audiobook. I stop whenever I want. There are only two things that potentially ruin road trips. Getting lost and traffic. Don't get me wrong, I love the poetic idea of getting lost and discovering myself and the world around me...I just don't want to do it after I've been in the car for five or more hours. Traffic bums me out too! I prefer to leave at times when I know the roads will be empty. I ran into both problems yesterday, but it didn't matter because the destination is so worth the trouble.

I am at a writing retreat...with writers. (Shhh, they don't know I'm not a writer.) That's how I felt for the first few hours here. I felt like a fraud. That JUDGE voice was screaming inside my head, "YOU DON'T BELONG HERE! They are all REAL WRITERS. YOU ARE NOT!" I ignored that voice and repeated, "I am a writer!" to myself over and over. You know that idea about acting AS IF?!?! It works.

There are two groups here. There's a workshop here at Highlights called "Writing from the Heart". Coincidentally, my friend Lee Ann is here for that workshop...on the SAME week! WOW!! 
Me, Stacey, Lee Ann in the poetry garden!

The other group is my group. We are the Unworkshoppers. We are here for unscheduled writing time. We create our own schedule. I noticed everyone asking, "What are you writing?" I'd quietly listen and ask lots of questions, hoping no one would ask me...all the time silently repeating my mantra, "I am a writer."

Everyone eats dinner together in the barn. I met amazing writers. We shared our stories and laughed and listened and learned. One of the Unworkshoppers, Lori, invited me and Stacey to join an accountability group. "We will meet after dinner and check in with each other. We can give you a nudge or tell you that, 'You're Awesome!' for the work you got done that day." Inside I was nervous...but I'm so glad I went. We introduced ourselves and shared our work and our hopes and why we were here.

I shared. When I spoke, they listened and offered thoughtful responses to my ideas. The friendly encouragement and helpful suggestions will get me writing today. I can't wait! I AM A WRITER!

I'm so excited to share this week with Stacey! At NCTE the idea of a retreat for Slicers popped up and so many were interested, but schedules dictated that only Stacey and I could attend...with Lee Ann as the bonus! Next year, we need MORE slicers here. Today is my first full day here and I already know it's a trip that will change me...it already has!

Today's Agenda:
1. Yoga
2. Breakfast
3. Writing
4. Time in the poetry garden
5. More writing

I'll blog more about this trip as I want to remember every moment!
We are standing in front of Lee Ann's poem in the poetry garden. 


  1. Wow! Michelle, this really does sound like it will be a life changing experience. It sounds like such a rich, beautiful place to be. I love that you shared how your inner judge was telling you that you are not a writer but you pushed through that! I feel like that a lot- the "imposter syndrome". It's good to know I'm not the only one with those thoughts and your example and courage will help me tap into mine on those days when I feel like I am not good enough. Can't wait to hear what you are working on...maybe that book about notebooks with the special chapter on pens?

  2. Dear Writer Lady with the 62 Notebooks:

    I have a few quotes for you to mull over.

    1) "Writing means sharing. It's part of the human condition to want to share things - thoughts, ideas, opinions." -Paulo Coelho
    2) “It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” —Jack Kerouac
    3) “If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.” —Peter Handke
    4) "The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe." -Gustave Flaubert

    So, lady down the hall who is suffering from "imposter syndrome" (love that term Kathleen coined!)... you ARE a writer.

    See you at yoga,

  3. I know this place will transform you. I am so sad this morning not to be going to yoga with you and Stacey. My heart is breaking, but I will commit to writing this week to be with you in spirit.

  4. Hurray for you! You are a writer- I read your work on your blog regularly, but only comment sometimes. I can understand your inner worries, but so glad you are pushing through it and writing! Enjoy the gift of time and fellowship.

  5. Michelle,
    How lovely in every single way. I am so happy for you. You are exactly where you belong right now. You are with your tribe! Enjoy and grow.

  6. I love the energy, enthusiasm and uncertainty in your post and could relate to it all! I sometimes wonder if we all secretly feel like frauds. I am delighted for you that you are heading into such a wonderful experience---a bit jealous as well! Enjoy and please share some more!

  7. Can't wait to read more. Michelle, you ARE a writer and a good one at that!

  8. Huzzah! So, so happy to have you here too. I have a handy gag for that inner critic who's bugging you. In fact, I know a guy who... well, let's just say he'd send that censor down the creek.

    You ARE a writer. You ARE an artist too--there's no two ways about it. So happy that we get to write from the same place this week. I'm totally in for a Slicer unworkshop next year : )

  9. Please, please, please keep sharing your experience this week! I already told my husband that I want to go to the Highlights Foundation for a retreat next year so count me in. As I read your words, I was imagining myself feeling the same way you did -- like an imposter. Those affirmations of "I am a writer" are so important to shoo away that voice that tells us we are not. Looking forward to hearing more and more! Keep FLYing, girl!


  10. Sounds like Heaven to have unstructured, supported writing time! You ARE a writer, and I look forward to hearing more about the retreat.

  11. Have fun, Michelle - you are in a wonderful writing space!,

  12. Michelle, what a wonderful piece to read from A REAL WRITER after I've been gone from blogging a while!! I want to go there next year!!!! )Or to any writer's retreat!) I can't wait to read more of your experiences there! I also have to second Kathleen's idea "maybe that book about notebooks with the special chapter on pens?" Just something to think about....Be blessed!

  13. Have a wonderful time, Michelle! I know your time at Highlights will help you finally shake that "imposter syndrome!" Can't wait to read more about where your writing journey takes you.

  14. This post rings so true to me! There are so many wonderful writers out there that can whip up a beautiful piece in a few minutes. I need so much more time to think and revise before I dare to share. I'm so happy you've taken on this adventure!


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