I took my children to swimming lessons today. My youngest, Peyton, is a water baby. She is only seven months old but seems to love everything about it. She splashes, kicks, giggles, coos—just does her best to look adorable really. Since I’ve been ill lately, it was hubby’s job to swim with her. Wouldn’t you know it, all the other mum’s fawned over him like he was Superdad. He certainly seemed to enjoy the attention too!
I, of course, was sitting responsibly by the other end of the pool where four year old, Lachlan, and two year old, Violet, were swimming in the ‘big kids’ class, without parents. Usually this is an extremely embarrassing experience for me on the side-lines because Violet has the most high-pitched wail you could imagine and in previous classes she didn’t let up for the entire lesson.
Today however, she was excited as soon as we arrived and hopped eagerly into the pool. She kicked, paddled, splashed, and went under the water—all with a big grin on her face. It was such a turnaround from last week that I couldn’t believe she was the same child.
This got me thinking that sometimes when we are too scared to try something new, we make excuses to avoid it (or, if you’re a toddler, throw a tantrum) But once we’ve done it for a while, we realise it’s actually not that bad, and could even be sort of fun.
This is how I’m starting to feel about blogging for Newbie Writers. Perhaps a lot of the reason that I kept putting it off and ‘not getting around to it’ was because I was too scared; too scared that I would fail. Worried that people would laugh at me. Terrified that I’d never recover from the embarrassment. What I found, however, is that the more I do it, the more fun it becomes.
I’ve ghostwritten hundreds of articles and columns for other people, but they paid to put their name on the work. If I wrote absolute garbage, nobody except my client would know. The worst that could happen would be to lose them as a client. I kept telling myself that when I finally had something that was ‘good enough’ to publish, I would.
As I look back over work I’ve done for clients over the past few years I realise that it’s actually not too bad. Obviously, I’m not Dickens or Hemingway, but who cares? What was I so worried about? The world is full of haters, and even if you were precise and perfect, there would be plenty of people who don’t love what you do – but so what? I enjoy reading, writing, editing, and words in general … and I’m doing this for me! So to all the newbies out there, don’t be afraid to let your manuscript out from under lock and key. Don’t be tempted to hide your work away until it’s ‘just right’. Get it out there. Listen to opinions and take advice on board, but don’t be crushed if people aren’t overenthusiastically exclaiming that you’re the best thing that happened to writing since Shakespeare. Imperfect writing can always be improved through your own revision and editing process or you could hire an independent editor to share their technical skills and offer an objective point of view.
What’s the point of creating outstanding writing and hiding it from the world? If you poured your heart and soul into a masterpiece that is never intended to be seen by anyone other than yourself, that’s okay. If you purposefully write purely to enjoy yourself, that’s okay too. By all means keep your work private and treasure it. But, if the reason you’re not putting yourself out there is fear, nerves, or intimidation, take the first step and you’ll probably find that once you get over that initial hesitation it’s a liberating experience. It won’t be long before the high-pitched wailing is replaced by an ear-to-ear grin and you look forward to that which you once feared.
Emma is a freelance editor and writer who got her start at Newbie Writers two years ago. In her previous career she was an accountant, but escaped the numbers game to envelop herself in the literary world.