The most fun thing I did this winter was go to a writing class at The Loft Literary Center.
On a lark, after a rough week at work, I scrolled through the class listings. A class on humor writing caught my eye. Seeing that Mary Jo Pehl was instructing, I signed up right away.
Immediately after hitting the submit button, I panicked; the confirmation described the class as “Intermediate” level.
Surely I was not an intermediate level writer.
I fired off an email back to the Loft.
“I THINK I SIGNED UP FOR THE WRONG CLASS!”
Their response encouraged me to think of the skill levels like “helpful indicators” and assured me that I wasn’t supposed to arrive with drafts.
I put it out of my mind until the day of class. The morning of class, I remembered and started to worry again.
“What if I’m the only one who is not an intermediate writer?” I imagined how they’d give me closed-mouth pity smiles after I read my first piece.
In reality, I really had nothing to fear. The class included people of many writing levels. A few were practicing comedians and some had never shared their writing before.
The fact that I’ve published articles and update a blog actually made me less of beginner of a writer than I thought. Even the woman who interviewed a famous musician and the person who wrote a fringe festival play were hesitant to call themselves writers.
I look back and smile, wondering if I’ll suffer from imposter syndrome forever.
Throughout the class we completed timed writing exercises around a prompt and then shared them.
The first warm-up exercise felt terrifying. But our instructor did such an effective job ensuring the classroom was a safe space that I found the process of creating, listening, and sharing exhilarating. To write truly unfettered and share with other kindred spirits felt like coming home.
At the end of the class it was clear that everyone was a writer.
I enjoyed this class so much that I signed up for another one.
This time I called myself a writer.