The thing about expectations is that they can sometimes lead to disappointment. Or, as in the case with me the other day, they can lead you to think, “What the heck have I gotten myself into?”
About a month ago, I was reading the newspaper and stumbled upon an advertisement for a “Wordfest” coming to a city not far from where I live. I ran to the computer, typed in the web address, and proceeded to drool.
It was billed as a…"festival of words, ideas and stories…a 9-day literary nexus, spanning two weekends and nine days, encouraging readers and writers of all genres, skill level, and ages to partake in an extravaganza of more than 100 individually-hosted events…."
Sign me up! It sounded like just what I needed….at exactly the time I needed it!
At the end of last year I decided 2011 would be MY year! I would write my little heart out every day (well, almost every day, that is), and see what came out. If it was nothing, I was okay with that. If it was crap, I was okay with that, too. The goal was simple: put one word in front of the other and see where all those words would take me.
That’s all well and good, I love to write…but do I actually know HOW to write? Stumbling upon the advertisement for this Wordfest was perfect timing, to say the least. What I had been feeling I needed more than anything else was guidance on the craft of writing. The story I want to write lives in my head…it’s all there…but what I desperately need is a way to get it out of my head and onto paper in a way that makes sense.
Excitement at the Wordfest turned to disappointment when I saw how much the classes cost. But I really, really, REALLY wanted to go. There was one class in particular that sounded perfect for what I was struggling with, and the presenter was a real, live author who had made a real, live living writing…winning awards, traveling the world teaching, etc. I just had to find a way to go.
Thankfully I married the right man! The explanation of the class, the presenter, how close it was to where we lived, etc., was barely out of my mouth when he said, “Take the class, Jane.” But it costs too much. “Take the class, Jane,” he repeated. So...I signed up for the class!
The big day arrived and I was beyond excited. My notepads were picked out with loving care and my pens and pencils were lined up like soldiers ready to do battle. I was ready!
Turns out I was a little too excited…I was the first one there! My excitement once again turned to disappointment when I walked into the dilapidated room in which the class was to take place. For the money I paid, I was expecting a little more than ratty, old, scarred tables, and rickety, old, worn-out chairs. Actually, I was expecting a lot more. There was no way I could sit in one of those chairs for six hours!
The confirmation email quickly came to mind, “Please bring to the class a pen, notebook, and an open mind!” I had brought four notepads, five pens, and four pencils; surely I could bring an open mind as well. And, from the looks of that room, I knew an open mind would be needed.
Whereas at the beginning of the class my expectations were crushed, by the end of the class they were completely and totally exceeded. I was completely blown away! The class was amazing, the people taking it with me were amazing, and the instructor was amazing! It was money well spent, for sure.
The six hours flew by…and I found those rickety, old chairs quite comfortable, thank you very much. (Funny how when I was an 18-year old in the comfort of a relatively new college, I couldn’t wait for the classes to end, but there, in that pitiful, old room, I was wishing my time there would go on and on.)
I learned a valuable lesson about expectations that day, and I learned a valuable lesson about following your passion. Whatever yours happens to be, I encourage you to go for it!
I end now with the quote the presenter used to begin our class:
“I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan