erma said just start already

The words “Just Start” were repeated over and over again this past weekend at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop.  Just start writing. Just start your post. Just start your book. Just start “insert your thing here.”

Just start.  It won’t be perfect. It won’t start with the end product. But you’ve started. And you’re way ahead of so many that are too afraid to start.

Anna Lefler told us “the man in the arena with the bulls is that much further ahead than the folks in the stands.” Great quote, right?? Now, if I hadn’t been scribbling almost every word coming out of her mouth, my notes would be much better and I could tell you which Roosevelt said it and the actual quote. But my hand was scribbling, my notes aren’t quite clear. (She also talked about premature e-publication but my notes are even less clear.) I simply want to tell you about everything that was this weekend.

So I will just start.

As I wrote last week, I had high expectations for the workshop. There were strangers with tiny avatars on twitter that I wanted to meet, things I wanted to learn. But quite simply, I had no idea I would walk away with such energy, such enthusiasm and such excitement.

I had no idea we’d ride in such fancy buses.

And be prepared for almost anything that may happen on the bus.

I started my blog a little more than a year ago as a form of personal expression. I have an odd way of looking at things that happen to all of us (you can admit it or not), and I longed for a way to share these stories from my perspective. I didn’t mind map where my blog was going to go and I didn’t set goals. I simply wanted to share my stories and have strangers discover I’m funny. I wanted to make them laugh. Share my humor and make their day all the better. So I bought a URL on GoDaddy.com, had a porn site for a few days before it mapped over to WordPress and then my stories started showing up on ottmama.com. Mostly porn free!

My sharp tongue and quick wit isn’t always welcomed or understood, but this weekend strangers embraced my sense of humor and I walked away with new friends. Not new contacts. New friends. I didn’t expect that.

People I’d known for only hours were giving me a hard time. LOVE! There’s nothing better than being given a hard time by someone smart and witty. Funny people were introducing me and saying “Have you meet Julie? She’s funny!” I melted.

They think I’m funny. They really think I’m funny. Funny people thinking you are funny is the ultimate compliment and my heart is warm from the comments I received at this workshop.

HELLO PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE!

(I believe Warren Buffet was also in attendance, but I never took the chance to say hello!)

However, I did take the chance to ask Alan Zweibel a question in front of my 350 new best friends. If you don’t know Alan, he was an SNL writer and partnered with Gilda (no last name needed.) He’s gone on to write a few books, but I wanted to know more about his start and what advice he may have for an almost 40 year old housewife, living in Ohio, that thinks maybe, just maybe, she’s got it in her to write sitcoms.

Before I give his answer, let me be clear to all of those that he’s now tweeting back to, his answer was directed toward me, since I asked the question and we had a bit of a, what should I call it, banter back and forth. The answer was to package up my spec script and get an agent. So off I go!

There was a ton of other advice given in other sessions. Like the advice to start running….ignore!

While it may be great advice, this body can only do a fast walk. On the good days. The huffing and puffing that happens when I run is good for no one.

And then there was this advice,

to which I say hell-to-the-YES, Erma! She truly was a genius.

This weekend gave me confidence in my humor and my writing. I don’t know where it takes me next. That scares me and thrills me all at the same time. But I’m so lucky I had decided to just start. Cause here I am now.