Book Review: Daring Greatly
How to Build a Writing Community

On a Writer, Being Alone

I assumed I'd have plans.

I'm in Nashville, and I always have plans.  Like, for every minute.

But it turns out that I didn't.  I texted a couple friends to go grab a glass of wine, but it was Saturday night and I was way too last minute.  Everyone was busy.

And so I faced a loooooong evening alone in my room, which, it needs to be said, is smaller than most prison cells.  And has no television.  And spotty wi-fi.

Normally I love being alone, but normally I have TV for company (for some reason I always leave it on in hotel rooms).  Normally I have the internet.  The night stretched ahead, empty.

I know: why didn't I write?  I am a writer, after all, one known to whine quite often about not having enough time to work on my novel.  But bear in mind that two days of taking in information about writing tends to clog up one's head.  And it was already well and truly congested from a bad cold.

We not only need time for writing, but energy.  Mental energy, and I had none.

I thought perhaps some wine might change that.  It had been a couple days since I'd had a glass and I'd been thinking hard through workshops and presenting one myself.  But I was staying on an alcohol-free campus.  Yes, there are a gazillion restaurants and bars nearby, seeing as how Vanderbilt University is right across the street, but they are usually quite crowded with college students.  Not the kind of places you'd be comfortable sitting in a bar alone.

And besides, I was out of the habit of going out to eat alone.  I'd done it before (and wrote about it here) but it had been awhile.  The thought made me nervous.  Hanging with the college kids made me nervous.  In that moment, everything made me nervous.

But then I had two brilliant ideas:

1.  If I went early, the bar might be quiet

2.  If I faced my fears, I'd feel better on the other side

And so off I trundled.

And found the bar at Bound'ry with all the sliding windows open, the breeze swaying the flower baskets hanging from lamp posts right outside.  And, it was gloriously empty.  Except for me.

You know what facing your fear feels like? It feels like jumping into a pool of clear, blue water.  It feels like sailing from a trapeze.  It feels like driving too fast down the freeway.

And on the other side is deep, soothing relief.

Wine and trout for dinner and back to my room.  Where I did work a little on a piece of flash fiction I'd written at the workshop, and re-read my novel (which I can finally get back to, now that the Emma Jean edits are done).  I also texted with family and friends back home about the score of the Duck game.  (Just try to find a TV playing a Pac-12 game in Nashville.  Try it.  I dare you.)  And I talked to my friend.

It was a glorious night.

Have you faced any fears lately?  Do you face them in your writing?

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