The Cape Cod Writer’s Center is based on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and it provides area writers with a way to connect with one another. The week-long, annual conference attracts writers from all over New England and even New York.
While I only spent three days there, and short ones at that, I really enjoyed my time there. The original instructor for my class, Pen to Periodical, fell ill right before the conference, so we had a freelance journalist from Cape Cod. We spent the class learning how to pitch stories to newspapers and magazines rather than actively looking for potential markets for ready pieces. But I enjoyed the class. I haven’t been in a room full of writer’s since college, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.
Writing is a lonely pursuit. I do it alone with my computer, and I’m sure millions of other writers do the same thing. No one knows that I’m a writer unless I tell them, and even then there is no law saying I have to share my work. It’s easy to internalize and to make up excuses not to send writing out into the world. I don’t think my article ideas will catch an editor’s eye. I doubt my prose is strong enough to warrant space in a travel magazine. I wonder why I think I stand a chance against all of the writers across the globe who are competing for the same, very limited space on a printed page.
But at the conference, I met writers face-to-face. These were men and women who feel the same doubts about their writing that I feel about mine. We were brainstormed about our ideas; we shared stories about our triumphs and struggles. And we encouraged one another.
I learned a lot in the class. Writing is going to break my heart a thousand times. It’s hard work, and the rejection slips are going to fill my virtual and physical mailbox. Plus there is no guarantee that I’ll make much–if any–money for what I publish. I’m going to need a day job.
None of that will stop me from writing, though. I write because I love it. I write because I want to get all of these stories out of my head. I write because I can’t imagine a life without writing.