Last weekend, I had the honour of hosting a launch of the latest issue of the Lake Winnipeg Writers Group journal, Voices, for which I also served as editor. (Photo courtesy of my proud mom ;-)) The process involved several months of reading and revising, e-mailing, chatting on the phone and in person at reading sessions and, I must say, I quite enjoyed it! It was a pleasure to witness such a diverse and talented group of creator in action.
But it was not something I had initially planned on, to be honest. I have done some proofreading for people I’ve known, which has been rather fun as I consider myself a fixer of sorts – someone who can take an existing idea and bring it to another level. The whole curation process, however, was new to me. But last fall I was asked to judge a poetry contest for the group and, next thing you know, I’m editing an entire journal!
I received much positive feedback on my work which, despite my own perceived failings, was very encouraging. Though I still have a lot to learn, editing appears to be something I can now add to my skill set. When it came time to discuss the launch of the journal, I was informed that it was customary for the president or the editor to take on the duties. With my background as a performer and the years I’ve spent in Toastmasters, I was up to the task.
And, again, the audience and fellow writers seemed to be pleased with my presence at the podium and responded very favorably. So, now, it looks like I can host stuff good too! 🙂
Now, I’m not telling you this is to brag on myself – although I think we need to be able to do that once in a while because it helps us to feel confident in our abilities. This is about allowing yourself to be guided, letting go of your preconceived notions of what you’re supposed to be doing with your art and saying yes to the opportunities that present themselves before you. If I hadn’t agreed to edit, I wouldn’t have known that I would enjoy it and be competent at it. If I hadn’t said yes to hosting, I wouldn’t have known that I could take on the emcee duties and feel good about it after the fact. It’s about acquiring new information showing you what you’re capable of and, perhaps more importantly, what you like to do.
Now, if you feel that these incidental endeavours might derail you or make you doubt yourself, quite the contrary. During this process of expansion, you won’t be casting aside what you already do and already know. You will be letting new things about yourself to be revealed to you so you have even more ways to serve and express.
When you stay with the familiar, you only learn and grow in expected ways. But sometimes others see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves and, in taking these new opportunities, we are exposing ourselves to more of our untapped potential. We experience the fullness of who we are and what we have to offer. And if you come upon your true calling in the process, trust that your new path is the right one for you and nothing has been lost or wasted.
So, next time a chance to do something new comes your way, unless it really makes you feel uncomfortable, go for it! See where the journey takes you. You never know what you will learn and how you will grow when you come out the other side.
On a related note, if you’re interested in some fun and adventurous writing, might I suggest acquiring your very own copy of the latest issue of the Voices journal – with an entry by yours truly, by the way?
You can purchase it at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, MB and at Tergeson’s in Gimli, MB or you can enquire through the LWWG website, https://www.lwwg.ca/.