Although I’ve been writing since a very, very young age, I stopped telling people about it once I hit high school.
Something about the hobby felt taboo for me to talk about.
During primary school, I was a confident little thing. I had no reason to question my abilities yet. None of us did. Self-doubt hadn’t begun creeping in. When it came to my writing, I would actively show my friends, family and teachers every one of my stories.
Frantically and passionately written in neon-pink pen across torn-out notebook A4 papers, I would share my work with glee.
My Grade 4 teacher (who I will never forget) would allow me to share my work in progress with the class on a daily basis. My fellow classmates would listen to my ridiculous stories and ask for more.
I was in love with the process, and, unapologetically, I was in love with the praise.
Come 5th Grade, I began to dapple in screenplays.
They were absolutely horrific. I still cringe when I remember some of the worst ones. They were exactly what you’d imagine a 10-year old child to produce, but I loved it. At the time, I thought I was a creative genius.
My Grade 5 teacher, who I also won’t forget (how can you forget the people who encouraged your creativity?) allowed me to boss around my fellow classmates into plays we could perform for the other classes.
My classmates didn’t mind because a) it wasn’t schoolwork and b) they found my writing enjoyable and funny. Again, I was hooked.
I was entertaining people.
I was making people laugh.
Come high school, things in the confidence-department changed. Familiar? Of course.
Your teenage years riddle you with anxiety and self-doubt. Your peers are harsh. You lose confidence in what used to come naturally.
As the years went on, my writing projects dwindled. I still dappled, albeit very rarely. I never really spoke about the hobby with anyone aside from my mum (number one fan, always).
I let my self-doubt override my passion. I let the fear of not being good enough become more important than writing purely because I loved to do it.
Fast forward many years later and I discovered Medium. And at first, I just read.
I fell in love with so many pieces and writers. I was addicted to reading personal stories, and admired the effortless, conversational tone of many writers on the platform. I loved how much I learnt and how inspired I felt.
When I wrote and published my first piece, the adrenaline of watching the readership count go up and up brought back the familiar feelings of joy and excitement.
When I started receiving messages from people who had read my work and enjoyed it, my heart fluttered every time.
When people told me that some of my pieces had made them feel less alone, I felt a hole in me that I was not aware of begin to fill.
When people told me I’d help appease their grief and heartache, I felt goosebumps.
Medium gave me a platform that enabled my work to be shared instantly.
It put my pieces into a community of fellow writers and avid readers that predominantly show love and share their own stories and passion for writing.
I document all the compliments I receive on my writing. Every single one makes my day, and makes me feel like that confident writer I was when I was a kid.
I can now talk openly with my friends about the fact that I’m writing, which I could never do before. Some of my friends didn’t even know that I wrote at all, which blew my mind. How could something so major to me, be so secret to my closest confidants?
Medium re-instilled my love for writing, and my confidence to do so.
It stopped me from worrying about whether I was worthy of the task. It let me know that my writing has value, and that I have something to say which can entertain people, and can help people.
It also reminded me that it doesn’t really matter what people think about your writing. If you enjoy it, do it.
It reminded me that writing is fun. It SHOULD be fun.
Most importantly, thanks to Medium, I don’t call myself an “aspiring writer” anymore, but simply a “writer”. And so should you.