Hello Dear Reader. Thanks ever so much for stopping by, it is so much more than appreciated. As this is my first time sharing my thoughts on being an 'actual' writer, it feels like I am laying myself bare about my insecurities.
Just in case this is your first time on my humble little blog I should probably give a brief introduction.
My name is Steven, I’m a random, wordy, some may say verbose, technophobic, English guy hurtling towards 50 at a rapid rate of knots & I have been writing a blog online & trying to overcome that technophobia for a little over three years.
I remember discovering this wonderful community named
Stee... Hive, I loved the idea of it not being a traditional blog. I was intrigued at the prospect of being rewarded for my content in cryptocurrency, subsequently, this has helped me learn so many varied disciplines all under the umbrella of one stuttering, incrementally improving, journey.
I am sure many here can relate to this feeling regarding the brave new world of blockchain & cryptocurrency.
I remember so clearly the nervous hesitancy I felt as my finger hovered over the ‘publish post’ button of that inaugural post.
A million thoughts, fears & questions hurtled through my tiny mind, causing me to second guess every sentence, musing, or punctuation mark.
I have more than a tinge of embarrassment in telling you, that first post took me 14 bloody hours to complete. I edited, reworded & shuffled every sentence, every paragraph a hundred times.
I read my ‘masterpiece’ aloud slowly & deliberately & realised that I stood one hundred percent behind every idea, statement, & nuanced thought I had laid bare & I smashed the publish button.
I did not anticipate the intense rush I felt, knowing I had shared my thoughts with the world, however insignificant that particular perceived achievement was to the rest of the inhabitants of Earth.
In a time when many feel they no longer have a voice, ordering & sharing your thoughts, feelings & ideas can be an outlet that promotes a feeling of both catharsis & of being heard also.
There is, however, a cost as well as a benefit to putting your writing ‘out there’.
Most people feel self-conscious, nagging doubts in the back of the mind when doing so. They wonder if they will be judged & found wanting when it comes to skill, command of language, relatability, & even challenged on the validity of their opinion or hypothesis.
'Imposter syndrome' is REAL!
At a time when many are cancelled, de-platformed, or shamed for inadvertently triggering any of the burgeoning plethoras of cultural or political tripwires, sharing your thoughts can be treacherous in 2021, to say the least.
Usually though, for the newer writer, amateur writer & of course the aspiring writer, the vast majority of concerns & fears stem from feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt & our incredibly familiar, wholly unwelcome friend ‘imposter syndrome'.
The benefits of writing, vastly outweigh the drawbacks though, at least I have found that to be true for myself. It has helped me understand my own beliefs & opinions as I am constantly challenging them as I order & contemplate my well-chosen words on the page before me.
My critical thinking, creative thinking & lateral thinking have benefited enormously as I often read the thoughts of others on any given topic & have expanded my wealth of knowledge massively.
Most importantly of all, I feel I am playing my part in promoting & engaging with a medium that many proclaim to be dead.
In the digital age, video, audio & ‘instant hit’ content has in many areas, surpassed the written word. Content has been hijacked by the corporates to fuel rabid consumerism. Every word needs to be monetised, gain clicks or be part of a wider ‘call to action’.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Whoever the hell ‘they’ are
I would rather take a thousand words, thanks. There is a way to cultivate a narrative, to expertly craft a story, when harnessed correctly it fashions a picture in the reader's eye that leaves nothing to interpretation.
I was always the kid who maxed out the number of books allowed on his library card. I don’t think I was ever viewed as a nerd, but I loved to read & I loved to learn even more.
I always dreamed of being able to write like the authors I admired so much. I am still light years away from realising that aspiration. I’m not certain I ever will, but I enjoy trying to.
When I began writing I thought I was doing ok. When I look back at those early efforts now, I see I was utterly appalling. This is fine though, in fact, it’s precisely how it’s supposed to be.
If we started as polished experts in any field of endeavour, what would we ever aspire to?
Surely the real payoff is in seeing how far we have come since adopting & constantly practicing a new skill. I have always believed in incremental improvement in any area that feels important.
I remember some years ago, my youngest daughter telling me she was sad she was always last out of 30 classmates in long-distance running, that she wished she could be first for once. You can probably guess the truncated, slightly clichéd version of the story. I told her to aim for 29th instead of the almost unattainable 1st position.
Long story short within a matter of weeks, rather than months she was consistently finishing in the top 5 or 6 & occasionally finished first, the visible confidence from this crucial mindset shift was clear for all to see.
Although far from ‘award winning’, my writing has made similar progress, albeit over a far more protracted period. It is pleasing for me to reflect on this & constantly re-evaluate where I can make the next improvement.
Back to the question I posed in the title:
Am I a Writer Yet?
Will the answer become obvious at some later stage, will there be heavenly harps & a mystical revealing?
Worse still, will I be trapped in a perpetual loop of wondering, plagued by self-doubt & ravaged by feelings of unworthiness?
I think there are several answers to this question, most would of course be subjective in nature. The underlying implication is one of questioning being ‘good enough’, which prompts a further question, good enough for who, or what?
There is a school of thought that says, if you write often, ideally, every day, you are a writer. I would elaborate slightly & say if you write often, assess where you can improve & follow-through, improve & evolve, you are a writer.
I am currently at the cusp of what I call ‘phase II’ of my journey to become the writer I want to be. I have hundreds of blog posts behind me but now, want to step up my game with regard to structure, story arc, flow, & formatting.
I guess the short & somewhat unsatisfying answer is that, yes, you & I are writers if we actively engage in writing, but acknowledging the amount of progress we must make to be considered ‘credible’ by our peers is essential.
A writer is a world trapped in a person. Victor Hugo
Do you consider yourself to be a writer?
Do you have any hard-won wisdom that has led you to accept that moniker without question?
We, humans, are strange creatures indeed, so impacted by the perception of others, so insecure in our oft awkward self-awareness.
You & I need only make the proclamation of precisely who & what we are & the course is set. If we are truly willing to undertake the learning, constant, self-reflection & do what we know we must when we should, we have ‘nailed it’.
The benefit of knowing we are not a tree & thus rooted to the spot should be enough to inspire us. Forward is the direction in which greatness is to be found.
Belief, work & commitment to the craft will trump inherent ability every time.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
If you are an aspiring writer still unsure of where you rank in the hierarchy of competence, forget about it!
Write like it is the only thing left in the world, pour your heart & soul into the words that fall to the page & simply enjoy the process. Writing is supposed to be fun, if there is no fun involved, you’re doing it wrong.
I wish you all the luck in the world with any endeavour you choose to turn your hand & mind to. If you truly commit to the process, however, luck won’t be a factor you will need.
I originally wrote this post for another blog I tried my hand at, so if you thought earlier that it sounded like I was over-explaining what Hive is, you are right, I was.
Thank YOU for taking the time to read my post & if you're one of those amazing people who like to hit the comments section... Then I doubly thank YOU!
Either way, I want you to know that you are appreciated!
Keep taking the time to connect with each other both here & in the 'so-called' real world & try & look after each other, because as you already know...