Last October, I huddled in an overstuffed armchair with my laptop in front of me, a blanket drawn around me like an invisibility cloak, eavesdropping on the conversations in the room. Oh crap, I thought, as I began to put the pieces together, many of these women all know each other already. I gazed outside at the drizzly Scottish sky and longed for my cozy living room and my cat.

Several months before, I’d been in a “season of yes,” in which I accepted any opportunity that arose. That included a writing workshop in Scotland. The problem was I signed up without properly reading the description. This was a workshop for novelists. As in fiction. As in the genre I don’t write.

Here’s how I faced my fears and learned four life-changing lessons at the fiction workshop I didn’t realize I signed up for, ha!