When I first started at Tribe Porty and Dani asked for me to start writing blog posts for the newsletter I was excited. I’ve always loved to write despite finding grammar and spelling challenging during my school years. I found these years tough as I was made to feel ashamed of my mistakes. It wasn’t until university that my self confidence grew in my writing abilities, it no longer felt like a struggle to impress my tutors and I took great pride and joy in writing about my subject matter. Post-Uni I fell off the writing train (amongst other trains), I struggled to find a reason or an intention to write. I feared becoming the cliche friend with a blog that nobody read, yet deep down the desire was there. When friends and colleagues who are studying complain about word counts and deadlines, I often catch myself saying ‘you’ll miss it when it’s not there’ like some bitter old man…
The first few pieces I wrote for Tribe I threw myself into it, there was no fear of the audience, I wasn’t second guessing myself, I was simply happy to have a reason to write. It was the type of joy that causes you to phone your mum to say ‘HEY MUM, I’M USING MY DEGREE AT WORK…I TOLD YOU A FINE ART AND ART HISTORY DEGREE WOULDN’T BE A TOTAL WASTE’. It was a buzz.
I think I made it to three blog posts before the self doubt came rolling in. I found myself questioning my own need, desire and intention for writing. On reflection, I noticed that these thoughts stemmed from me overthinking who would be my reader and what their responses would be. Who cares what I have to say about my very wholesome but mundane life? My troubles are (thankfully) very vanilla, no complaints there… I love vanilla! But what do I have to say that hasn’t been said before? Or said better? Or said to a bigger audience? Here I was, finding more reasons to not write than to write. I very quickly shut the door on writing blog posts and quietly hoped that Dani would simply not notice…
“When that impostery feeling comes up, treat it not as a sign to shrink and self-reject, but as an opportunity to play with expectations and enjoy your outrageous luck.” -Poppy O’Neil, Writer’s HQ
Already you can see where my brain went wrong: I thought more about other people than myself. Write for yourself, no one else. It’s the only way you can build authenticity, intent and consistency in your writing style. Publishing writing is scary, no matter the subject or size of the audience. Writing, like all art forms, opens up a direct window into your life and thought processes. As a reader, we read, to learn, discover and feel. When I think about the type of writing I’m drawn to there are always common themes of a brash humour and the ability to give everything away (even the ugly bits). The book I’m currently reading is Meaty, a series of blog posts by Samanth Irby. The most memorable part for me so far was an account of making an Instagram worthy Frittata out of the scraps left in the fridge. You can’t get more mundane than that (maybe butter on toast but that wouldn’t be a very long passage). So why do I in turn invalidate my own writing by convincing myself my boring stories aren’t funny, gripping or interesting.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. So I usually take a break, which often involves admiring my beautiful pile of uniformly cut vegetables while drinking coffee and wondering whether this will actually be worth it in the end”. -Samantha Irby, Meaty
So what’s the resolution? The quick fix? The gaffer tape holding back the self doubt and imposter syndrome? I think it’s to just…you know…write! A quick fix doesn’t exist, you must simply just write! I am thereby going to make a public declaration (how fancy). Once a week I am going to write freely, no pressure, no word count, just one piece of writing about absolutely anything. A weekly journal if you will. Not only will this help build an informal body of text that might spur on a blog post, or longer piece, it will help develop my writing, my confidence and with time remove the fear of the dreaded writer’s block. I invite you to join me on this quest, perhaps we can share this writing, or our thoughts over time during social lunch!
Maybe this is something you already do, and you need something that packs a bit more punch? Writers’ HQ are back with in person writing retreats. They are here once a month in Tribe Porty for procrastinating busting one day workshops. Find out when the next one is by clicking here.
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Thanks for reading,