One teacher’s throwaway comment stuck with me for two decades. And I’m not the only one.
Do you know that feeling when a single moment changes everything? For me, it was a normal day at school that I can’t forget – the day one of my English teachers doubted I had written a piece I was very proud of. I’d nicked it, according to them. They accused me of plagiarism. Little did they know, I had crafted that creative assignment with all my heart, feeling a surge of joy for the first time in my writing, if I’m honest. It was a character study about Rik Mayall from the BBC TV Show “The Young Ones” coming to visit our school. (He came from my hometown.) I loved that show. LOVED IT. Loved him and his anarchy. Imagine how shattered I was when I was accused of plagiarism. I was asked to confess where I had ‘stolen’ it from in front of the whole class. The truth hit hard: I hadn’t stolen a word. I had come from my own blood, sweat and after I handed it in, secret tears.
That day, a seed of doubt was sown, shadowing my confidence as a writer.
That doubt grew, nagging at me: Could I really create something worth reading? Would my efforts always be met with skepticism? The fear of being unworthy, or worse, being accused again, lingered like an uninvited guest. It would take 27 years for me to have the confidence to publish my first book. TWENTY SEVEN sodding years.
Sure, I could produce stacks of words. Reports, documents, emails, code – the standard fare you end up churning out in ‘corporate land’. But the thought of writing from my heart, writing something that would help other people, share my expertise, was clouded by those lingering doubts. Would my words ever be enough? Could they stand free of doubt and suspicion? Would I ever outrun the Grammar Police because I decided to start a sentence with ‘And’ or ‘But’ because it felt right to me.
These weren’t just fleeting thoughts. They were real, pressing concerns.
And then there was the editing – a mountain that seemed too steep to climb. What if no one wanted to touch my work? What if the cost of polishing my words was more than I could afford?
But, you know what? I pushed through that barrier. It wasn’t a walk in the park. It required time, resilience, and a journey inward, but I emerged on the other side. Now, with 76 books to my name, I’ve realised something important: The fear of not being good enough is a common thread among writers.
If you’re reading this, feeling those same gnawing doubts, I’m here to tell you: you’re not alone. And these fears? They don’t get to dictate your potential. Together, I can show you how to work through them. You’ll hone your words, shape your teachings, and polish your prose and share your points. No matter how unrefined you think your writing is, there’s hidden brilliance in there.
Worried your writing might not make the cut? You’re not alone.
Hesitant to put your thoughts out there? Remember, all of us, even those with scores of books, had to start somewhere. Let me walk with you through each step, from the first word to the last full stop, until your story sparkles for the world to see.
So, if you’re caught in the writing whirlwind, feeling the push and pull of your creative spirit against the weight of hesitation, know that you’re not alone. I’m right here, walking this path with you. To help you navigate these waters, I’ve put together a writing checklist – a tool crafted from my own experiences (as an author, editor and publisher), designed to guide you from the first word to the final full stop, and to help you leave your mark on the world. And if you’re up for it, let’s chat about where you’re at…