f you're anything like me, you've got a stash of papers you don't want to throw out, but also don't know what to do with. It might be a box labelled "Uni stuff" in the cupboard of the spare room of your parent’s house. Or it may be a binder full of letters and postcards crammed into that space under the bed you can't quite reach without a broom.
I recently revisited the spare room cupboard, and managed to extricate that binder with the broom. One part of my brain counted itself lucky that the producers of television series "Hoarders" hadn't managed to find out about me yet. Did I really need to keep those barely readable lecture notes from first year Psychology?
The other part of the brain, however, reads through the Oliver Twist literature analysis from Year 10, the Cultural Studies paper entitled "Britney Spears: not a girl, not yet a woman" and I exclaim,
"Wow, did I write that? Geeze I'm good!"
It is true! I am a genius. What a beautifully constructed, persuasive argument, full of independent thought!
Since the glory of those education days, I have built experience writing both personally and professionally. I by no means consider myself a professional writer, but I enjoy it, so try to incorporate some level of writing in my day-to-day activities. I have written features, beer and book reviews and research articles for award winning journals. I cofounded a blog in which I shared public transport stories. Sometimes I even get paid for stuff! Like the time I wrote the cover letter for a kid's application into a swanky private school. But I often get caught by the old "C" word. Over the years for various reasons, confidence in my writing has been lacking. It is often scary to write.
What are the reasons? Firstly, I know a lot of people who write professionally. A lot of them hold specific writing degrees, or have had books published. How can I compete with that? Conversely, I observe and read a lot of content from people who are clearly not writers. I do not want to join the throng of people creating mediocre, unnecessary content. Finally, like a lot of people, I am not a fan of criticism. Putting myself out there means I am open for people to tear my writing apart.
But I enjoy writing. And I enjoy sharing stories with others.
So it’s time to stop being scared. I've bought a domain name to start blogging. I’ve got my new blue notebook to write ideas and observations. I am starting a writing club with some friends, who are very encouraging and full of great advice. I am going to be brave and see any criticism as not a bad thing, but as an opportunity to improve my writing.
I know my confidence in writing is coming back. I just need to remind myself that I *can* write. So from now, whenever I need a reminder, I’ll go searching with my broom for that confident writer under the bed.