She gripped my hands firmly. Her blue eyes met my green ones with conviction and intensity.

“Say you’re a writer. Say it!” She demanded. I tried to look away, but her eyes searched mine out. I laughed myself out of the moment, shirking her mantle and her passion. I couldn’t say the words. They were words I desperately wanted to hear and experience, but I couldn’t say them for myself. Someone had to say them over me. I couldn’t just say I was a writer—that’s not how this worked. She let me go without me ever having to say the words and the encounter left me shaking.

Because it was my dream and it seemed cavalier to just claim it. I needed someone else to see it in me and to speak it forth. That’s when it would be real.

And when this same friend told me about Story 101 I decided to take it. I signed up late as I do all these things, hesitating until the last minute to take the plunge. The first fuze call was awkward…I didn’t know these women I was staring at across the computer screen. I listened and I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.

And then something began to shift. I began to see the term writer, not as a gift bestowed by someone else, but as something that I get to embrace. It’s a role, a function—how I process and make nonsensical things make sense for a moment.

In the syllabus there is a list of all these great books. I started reading books that authors had written about writing. Click. Things shifted into place. The way I encounter the world is through words. Journaling is so much more than a diary but can actually be practice. No words are wasted. I learned how to find my voice. I learned the people who read my words are the ones who needed to read my words, and to trust the process. I learned about rhythms and that there are times when the words run fallow—and maybe I’m reading more than I’m writing. And then there are times when I’m writing more than I’m reading.

I am not an author yet. But I am a writer. Story 101 was part of the journey which helped me claim what only I could claim. I became more confident in my expression. I learned that while I may write on the same topic as someone else, my perspective and my words will add a new flavor to the discussion. An invaluable piece that would be missing. I learned that numbers are less important than being authentic. And I learned how to streamline—what’s my underlying theme? What is my life and my writing pointing to? I write to wrestle with the tension of the wild beauty and the horrific mess that I encounter. I want to live and write in that tension—never sacrificing one to the other. I remembered I love fairy tales.

All of these elements came out of taking Story 101. I learned who I am as a writer, and I let go of some of the lies I had been clinging to. This world is so big. I won’t be the only one to write about something, but I learned to write anyway. I learned that my words matter. And I learned that there is enough room for all of us to share our stories.

That beautiful friend opened me up to a world of possibility.

Say you’re a writer…

Try it on. See how it feels. 

Say you’re a writer…

And if it resonates, think about signing up for Story 101 and letting that carry you for a little while. It carried me. I found women to support and encourage me. I found a community that welcomes my words. And I found myself. 

Click here to learn more about Story 101.

Housekeeping: The cost is only $127 because this is the last time Story 101 will be offered live. The registration deadline is August 29th at midnight. I’m thinking about taking it again–it was that good. 

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