Starting to Write

Starting to Write

Sometimes all that’s left to do is start.

I’ve been sitting with my thoughts and ideas for years now and have fallen into the trap of thinking ‘wouldn’t it be good if I could just…’ or ‘when I find the time I’ll…’ 

The thing is – and it’s no real secret – there is never a right time. Never. Life gets in the way too much. If you’re waiting for a quiet room and space to write, you’ve failed already.

I’d say the blocks to beginning for most writers are; being seen, a fear of failure and worrying they’ll have nothing to say. All of which seem to overlap and feed each other. 

Daring to be seen and heard is hard. It brings up a lot of stuff for me. I’ve hidden from the spotlight all my life and if I had to pinpoint why I hide, I’d say it all started in primary school when I auditioned for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In a small classroom with kids paintings stuck all over the walls – backed by their favourite coloured card, do you remember that? The card made it look like your picture was in a frame – I did my best Verruca Salt and the part went to someone else. This was one of my first experiences of not being good enough. 

No not this time. No we don’t want to see you act. Just no. 

I know it’s not a big deal, but that set the pace for things to come. After that I hated standing up in front of groups, hated reading out loud in class and generally answering questions – though I often knew the answer. It dented my self confidence enough to make me put off trying anything where I might fail.

Why am I writing about this now? Because I’ve put off starting a blog and writing because I worry I’ll fail, worry that no one will want to read it and the ones that do will think it’s rubbish. Worried that people I know will read it and think I’m weird. 

This all makes me hide away and stay small, but today I thought fuck it. I’ll do it. 

I’d say this surge of confidence (or small step forward) is due to becoming a mum. My self confidence has gone up a few notches since being in labour. I guess having three or more people regularly staring at my vagina makes all other embarrassing situations pale into insignificance. When strangers have seen your fanny, you know you can write a blog post.

Up to now, I also put off beginning because I didn’t think I had anything to say. I kept telling myself that I had no good ideas because living in Doncaster isn’t the kind of life people want to read about. It’s not glamorous like London or New York, and not as cool as Manchester or Liverpool. I just live in a Northern town (that should be a city really) where not much happens. 

Or does it? I’ve fought it for years but lately I’ve realised that I love living here. I can dip in and out of cities when I feel like it and I have a base where I’m surrounded by a great community of family and friends. Plus most blogs are saturated with stories from London, they seem to be the only voices we hear lately and I want to change that. Let’s hear about life up North, and not the kind where someone lived up North but has since moved to London because it’s so crap. Positive stories, from someone who has chosen to stay here and build a life. They say write what you know and it’s taken me awhile to see it’s been staring me in the face all along.

So here I am writing what I know, and even using the word ‘fanny’ to kick things off. 

See, it’s not so grim up North.

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Picture Credit: Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

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Ashley is a writer, copywriter and coach who helps women find their voice and learn how to use it. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @_ashleyhoyland.

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