Due to a glitch in the wireless internet at MIT, then two weeks of intense job and school work, I am finally ready to finish up my entry about the WAM conference! I swear I am alive, just buried up to my neck in end-of-the-semester fun.

Needless to say, I had a life-changing experience at the WAM conference. The rest of the workshops did not disappoint, especially “Life in the Toxic Triangle” which was hosted by Susan Schnur—a clinical psychologist and writer/editor—and three freelance writers. The workshop summary listed it as follows: “Many writers struggle with different permutations of the “toxic triangle”: money, time, isolation. If we’re earning enough money, we perhaps don’t have enough time to write. If we have enough time to write, we’re perhaps broke. If we cut off people and money-generating work in order to write, we’re perhaps depressed and isolated, or paralyzed by the anxiety. So we cycle through different recipes, trying to get it right. In this session, we’ll explore ways to break and/or manage that cycle so that we can thrive socially, financially, and of course, as writers.” 

The minute I read that summary I knew I had to attend. That synopsis just about sums up my entire life as a writer—especially the money and time pieces because I have yet to be wealthy enough to shut myself away to write! I don’t want to delve too deeply into what I learned in this workshop because I think that the presenter could make a pretty penny selling these ideas in book format. But, she did go over several issues that she sees in her counseling clients who are writers and I have to say that too many of them rang a bell with me. They included:

  • Writers choose to be writers because it makes us feel alive. Yep. Although sometimes I practically cry at my lack of time to write, I truly feel that it is a part of who I am as a person. I get really upset when I can’t find the time to write and I have never felt more alive than during times when I see my work in print.
  • Most writers are introverts; we live in the contents of our head. Yep. I have always been described as an introspective, sullen person who mulls things out in my head before I share them with others—hence, why writing works so well for me.
  • Most writers are “developmentally delayed”—there is a sense of delayed adolescence because life conventions such as house buying, marriage, children, etc come later in life. Certain sacrifices are made that make us feel behind our peers. I definitely feel this way, but I also feel lucky in the sense that my partner is an artist—talk about another set of people who are delayed! Also, my schooling and personal beliefs are in line with delaying (or even outright denying) these “normal” life structures.
  •  I won’t give away any more of the things I learned in this workshop. But please, if you write and you ever see a book about this topic by Susan Schnur, buy it immediately. I cannot do the workshop justice by just summarizing it here. It was a great experience being in a room FULL of women who are in the same position as me. The workshop also inspired me to reach out and find other feminist writers to connect with; after contacting a few local resources, I haven’t found anyone yet but I’m not giving up!