There was something profound about this past weekend.
I was at the Celebration of Black Writing Festival at Temple this Saturday. For those that don’t know, it’s an annual two-week celebration of Black literary notables, journalists, publishers, playwrights, and other writers. There are panel discussions, film screenings and an award ceremony. The last day of the celebration is a Saturday filled with writing workshops, panel discussions, and a meeting of brilliant minds in the Black writing community.
One of the most amazing things about being there was feeling the spirit of community, knowing that a love for the written word was what bound us. It’s not every day I get to talk to other writers and exchange ideas; it just doesn’t exist for me in my 9-5 world. As I sat down in workshops and panels, I found it so easy to just open up to the person next to me about my goals and vice versa.
What’s was most profound however was knowing that after the workshops had ended, the writers had gone home and all of the posters, tents and display tables were taken down is that I had to do something with my writing-not just talk about it.
“What do you think you will be risking telling your story?” fiction writer Bernice McFadden asked us in my first workshop of the day “Writing From Your Spiritual Axis”.
I slowly raised my hand. “Worrying no one will want to read my story,” I admitted.
She answered, “But you want to read it. Don’t worry about your audience. If there is none, you have to create your own!”
It was refreshing to know, to remember that every writer didn’t have all of the answers right away. Bernice’s first novel was almost 10 years in the making. Author and journalist Aliyah S King had to hustle her way into her first freelancing gig with Vibe. Even Issa Rae, creator of Awkward Black Girl needed the pressure and persistence of one of her fans to turn ABG into a successful web series.
After this weekend, I made a challenge to myself. To continue to write, and to write consistently in spite of my fear and excuses.
I definitely plan on being a panelist in one of the upcoming CBW fests. ;-)