Let’s face it, as convenient as Zoom is, it’s not the same as in-person meetings. I have dearly missed “Live” workshops. Real people, real time equals real energy and that’s just what happened this week at a writing workshop I ran where I got a full dose. I’m still buzzing from the excitement and novelty of it all.
Here’s what happened….
Back in July my friend Jill and I were talking about upcoming stuff for this Fall and that’s when she asked me if I would like to run a workshop for her YPO group in Boston. My heart started beating fast right there and then.
Although Jill has never been in my writing workshops, I’ve shared stories with her about my Better After 50 Writing Groups. But, now, she was actually inviting me to run one for her group and entrusting me with her YPO seasoned entrepreneurs who have had their fill of workshops and definitely know the good from the bad. My heart was racing as she began to describe what she was looking for.
“Felice, we would love you to run a writing workshop. It would be 75 to 90 minutes for our YPO opening event in Boston. It’s a great group open-minded group always ready to jump in and try new things.”
I swallowed hard, excited but anxious.
“I am honored I would love to. I haven’t led an in person writing workshop since my BA50 Writers got together last Thanksgiving after 2 and 1/2 years of working on line together. We spent a weekend writing together and it was exhilarating and I wanted to do more – but then you know….more COVID and hence more Zoom. My other workshops have been on-line with 40 or so people. But Live, In Boston, OMG Yes…..how many will there be?”
“I’m not sure 60 or so.”
“Sixty people in one room for 90 minutes… holy shit and YES…I will do it, But are there any writers?
“Nope, we are looking for a way to spark Creativity and Joy — that’s our theme.”
And that’s when the wheels began churning and I started to envision 60 men and women who were not writers, working in a room with notebooks and pens with no intention of ever becoming writers.
“Tell me more, will they have had cocktails first?” I was hopeful.
“Yes, dinner and cocktails and lots of schmoozing but this will be their workshop.”
“Entrepreneurs are a feisty group… I’m going to have to throw them some curve balls and get them super uncomfortable — put out a challenge of sorts.”
And in that moment, I felt the surge of energy from just saying yes. The doubts hadn’t set in. The invitation launched me out of my comfort zone. I felt exhilarated.
D-Day arrived before I knew it.
Luckily a few days before my sister Julie who is a great writer and editor and her friend Kelly who is on the Board of the Sun Valley’s Writers Workshop and has done plenty of presentations, listened to my prompts and my plan and with their edits and encouragement I felt emboldened.
And then the day arrived and somehow I was totally calm. I headed through the pelting rain into Boston and entered the spectacularly gorgeous venue, I felt like I was walking into a dream. The walls at the Quin are filled with art and fabrics. The creators of the Quin have merged old Boston with cutting edge new Boston….fast, elegant and smart.
As I walked into the room of 60 plus professionals buzzing with excitement, as this was their first in person event since Covid I thought, how am I ever going to get them to sit and write. Sitting down and being quiet and solo in order to write were polar opposite experiences from what was going on. But, I let the fear go and talked amongst them and met the most amazing entrepreneurs and creatives. It was a group both willing and open for whatever — they were all in this next phase of life — all Better After 50s.
Opening remarks followed by more drinks and dinner and then Jill opened the doors to the adjoining room and invited them in,
And that’s when the spontaneous playing began. Jill handed me the microphone after her fun intro, and I looked at the group and tossed the script aside.