Hands up all of you out there who think you 'can't' do something. Yeah? Me too.
It seems strange to think that we spend most of our lives doing things that we originally don't think we'll be able to do.
I've always been a writer. For as long as I can remember. I spent the whole of my childhood with my head in a book, and writing pages in my journal. In primary school, I won an award for reading a certain amount of books, and further into high school, I lived for my English and Drama classes.
At college, I took A Levels in Drama, Media and English. It soon became time to decide which route I was going to go down - journalism or acting. This was still around the time when most creative subjects weren't considered 'academic'. Ultimately, I chose what I was strongest and most passionate about, which was English. I didn't go straight into a journalism degree, partly due to advice from my tutor, and partly because I didn't think I'd be able to hack it. I also never thought I'd be 'up there' with the magazine journalists who have thousands of followers on Twitter, writing for one of the biggest publications in the world and absolutely loving every minute of it.
A lot of us had the same outlook. Most people in my classes didn’t know what the hell they wanted to do as a career anyway. But I happily spent my two years of A Levels writing and writing, and learning as much as I could. Despite the fact that I didn't think I was a good enough writer.
Then I got to University and discovered the student magazine of which I became Editor of. That was beyond the realm of anything I’d imagined before and gave me my first real taste of working for a magazine. Then when I graduated, I stumbled upon this whole universe of people who were writing their own content on their own websites and they were basically managing their own magazine - bloggers. I felt like I’d come into the blogging industry so late and those people who started earlier had a much bigger advantage.
I kind of got this feeling that this was something I could do. It felt right to me at this point, and I knew if I didn’t start now, I never would. I could keep practising, keep writing and hopefully get a lot better at it.
So I set up a website to write about my life. And I had absolutely no idea where it would take me.
When I look back now, I feel like a lot of us spend such a long time feeling like we “can’t” do things. At least not well enough anyway. Because when you’re just starting out in a journey, you feel like your talents can’t fit in amongst all the praise for all the others out there already.
This is a really problematic outlook to have.
Something I think we need to challenge more is the perception that being a good writer equals being a hugely successful blogger. I know that attending writing classes won’t make my subscriber count go up any higher, but it’s taken me a good couple of years to become comfortable with the fact that I am good at writing the content that I want to write.
We need to remember and share the idea that talent does not necessarily mean “being a successful blogger” and that creativity is about having the confidence to share our own voice and ideas, not just a label reserved for the select few who make a living from being a blogger full-time.
If I sound against blogging full-time, I’m not. Hell, it’s what a lot of bloggers want for themselves. And I admire the people that do it well and do it authentically, whilst still maintaining their beliefs and integrity. Your talents were obviously made for this.
But I want to applaud all the people that are trying to get to that place, too. I want to applaud all the creators in this world, whether they write about nature, business, food or a topic no one has heard of before. Because you’re doing this for you.