I took the bait. A friend recently dared his Facebook followers to read a post by Michael Moore titled “Those Who Say ‘I Support The Troops’ Really Don’t” and I couldn’t help myself. I read it. And was dismayed to find that, as Michael Moore suggests, I fit into the titular category. Though I have no expertise in finance or the military, the article left me with ideas and thoughts that I wanted to express.
With that weighing heavily on my mind, I attended the “Write to Change the World” seminar with a great deal of apprehension. Reading through the bios of my fellow attendees, I was awed by their accomplishments and intellectual weight. Just an hour into the workshop, however, it was clear that I belonged. Because our shared commonality–along with being strong and persuasive writers–was our passion. Passion to set right the wrongs in our world. Passion to use our words effectively to bring about change. Passion to help create a better world for ourselves and those we love.
One of the aspects I most appreciated was being in an all-female environment. Though men have much to contribute to public discourse, our communications styles differ and for the purposes of developing strong female thought leaders, it was critical to create an intimidation-free space. And we even touched on this very topic and why it is important for the different and differing voices to be represented at the table.
In addition to some very important skills, I walked away with a tremendous amount of confidence and motivation, returning home to finalize my op-ed that very evening. With an overabundant amount of pride, I submitted it to a mentor-editor and anxiously awaited her comments.
Less than twenty-four hours later, my mentor told me that I am a very good writer. And then proceeded to tear apart my piece, with clear advice to rewrite the entire thing, with incredibly constructive critique. I was devastated for about fifteen minutes, but forced myself to reread her email many times. By the fifth reading, it was apparent that I had been given an important gift; my mentor’s concrit (constructive criticism/critique) was like receiving a mini-writing lesson.
How often do we get the chance for a do-over? And if we do, it rarely comes with instructions.
Rebecca Einstein Schorr is the Newsletter Editor at the Central Conference of American Rabbis.