One November, years ago, I asked my husband, Tom, to attend a writing retreat with me.
You may be wondering if my husband is a writer—he’s not. In fact, he has never expressed much interest in writing.
I asked him is to go mainly because I really, really wanted to go and the retreat was scheduled for some time we had already taken off. I thought he might say yes, even though he’s not a writer, because the retreat took place in the Pacific Northwest and the schedule allowed plenty of time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
I gave Tom a pamphlet about the retreat, told him I really wanted to go, and asked him to think about it.
A few days later he told me he would go. Yes!
“You know you have to submit a writing sample, right?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I’ll do it.”
I left it at that and he submitted a writing sample, although I had no idea what it was.
When we got to the retreat center, we met the group and learned about the structure of the week. Christina Baldwin, our instructor, scheduled one-on-one appointments with each participant.
The next morning, I went off to meet with Christina. We discussed the writing sample I had sent her and she gave me her advice: “Just keep writing.”
I went back to my room and Tom asked how it went.
“Okay.” I shrugged.
He gave me a hug and went to meet Christina.
When he came back, he was lit up with enthusiasm. “This is the title of my first book,” he said, showing me his notes. “Christina says I have to tell this story—that the world needs to hear it.” He went on to tell me that they had also discussed his second book—and they had a name for that one, too!
I was happy for him—really, I was.
But…I was the writer. I was the one who longed to write a book, to be a published author. What about me?
That afternoon the retreat began in earnest. We listened to a lecture and were assigned buddies so we could critique each other’s writing.
I spent the rest of that day asking myself why I didn’t have an idea for a book yet, especially since my husband did! I knew I had to let my “compare and despair” thoughts go, or I would ruin the experience of the retreat for myself.
So what if Tom hadn’t declared himself a writer before this trip? He was having a great time and was as interested in the topics as I was.
Christina’s right, I do need to write more. I was interested in honing my craft and becoming a better writer.
By the next morning, I had regained my enthusiasm for the retreat and had an amazing week. It was heaven and my beloved was sitting right next to me. What could compare to that?
Diane MacKinnon, MD, is currently a full-time mother, part-time life coach. She is a Master Certified Life Coach, trained by Martha Beck, among others. She is passionate about her son, her writing and using her mind to create a wonderful present moment. Find her life coaching blog at http://www.dianemackinnon.com/blog.