In 1989, I sat at my writing bureau in my cottage on the edge of a large wood. The lodge was situated on the edge of a large private estate. Built in 1918, the lodge looked old and in need of a lick of paint, but the color as it stood was a dull orange-pink color. From the front,t looked quite small, but it had another level below the ground. The bay window was large, but there was no double glazing and its window frames were old wood and badly chipped. The house stood at the top of the South Drive on the left. From the moment you slipped off the busy trunk road and dropped down onto the driveway, you slipped back one hundred years and fell immediately into the rich canopies of the tall Scot Pine trees and other natural habitats. The garden was to the back of the house twenty feet down from the tarmac driveway, in amongst the woodland trees, shrubs and undergrowth, surrounded by a twenty foot stone wall. As the sun rose in the early mornings, it’s rays caused dapple effect through the leaves of the trees and the smell of pine filled your nostrils. I loved it, 2 miles from anywhere, a perfect hideaway. The nearest house which looked out across the Haugh. Haugh was down at the bottom of the drive and it had thirteen bedrooms. Very grand house with its beautiful gardens and grounds. I rented the Lodge from 1988-2004, One evening while having a clear out, I came upon a notepad with scribbled writing and bits of stories and poems I had started a while back thinking it might come in handy one day. Perhaps for the grandchildren and also it might come in useful and so I placed all the bits into a box for safe keeping.
In 2004, while sitting one evening, I pulled out the box with all its notebooks and scraps of paper that I had jotted down and tried to fit various bits together. I had been working on the story when there was a loud knock at the door. As I opened the door, my friend, Lesley stood grinning from ear to ear. She asked what I was doing as I had bits of paper everywhere and I tried to explain and she very kindly offered to help me. In no time at all, we had them gathered together. Then, on another day Lesley called to see how I was getting on with the story. As I had been working on my story at the time, she asked if she could read it. I was embarrassed, as it was very roughly written. I suggested I would read it out loud to her instead, and by the time I’d finished it, she said, “You should record the story and say it in your own words using your own voice to bring it alive.” Then she continued that it was a lovely story and she believed children would enjoy listening to it. I didn’t know what to say, I nodded then once Lesley had left I put everything back into the box.
In 2011, I came online and with the encouragement of another friend. By the end of 2011, I had started a blog on Blogger. I had not written anything for many, many years and back then, I wrote when I felt I wanted to write. I would write bits of poetry and then on the odd occasion short parts of stories. I had forgotten all about the box.
I joined in with the A-Z Bloggers Challenge 2012 and also WordPress. I wanted to get into the habit of writing each day, despite running my own business during the day and the writing really gave me a buzz. Once the challenge was over, however, I lost momentum again. I signed up to Creative Writing, in the hope it would inspire me to write more. It was good at first and the results were encouraging. There was a competition luring and everyone was encouraged to write a story and so I put my name down. My family was wanting to help and everyone was giving their opinion to the point of re-writing my story. When I received the story back, it was was not the same. I was also told the story was this and it should have been that. My grammar was wrong and I should read more and so on. I was at the point of backing away from coming near my laptop never mind my blog. The following day someone posted on Facebook about people who are writing with poor grammar. These posts were awful, saying that poor grammar should not be tolerated or words to that effect. I found it hard to continue as true or false these accusations felt as though they were being directed at me. I understood the messages well and truly and sadly walked away. Or rather, the fear of failure online took the chair, and I disappeared into the shadows. Writing only when I was at home on my own. I thought of lots of ideas I could use but as soon as I opened my blog my brain went blank. it became so bad that trying to type anything online made me feel sick for fear of being humiliated online.
2015, I came back online and joined a course Life Purpose Divination. I also had WordPress but didn’t do much with it at this time, hoping that all would be well. Unfortunately, fear still seemed to be hanging around. By the end of the course, I could write comments and they were accepted without judgment. Since then I have started to write with help of a few friends and although my disability makes me slow my confidence is improving. My knowledge of WordPress needs to be improved so that I don’t panic when I make mistakes. Thank goodness for WordPress Happy engineers where would I be without you!
In 2017, I joined Writer’s Life which has helped me greatly in challenging me to write 750 daily. This has helped me gain my confidence and let my imagination be the driver instead of my fear. I have also written a small children’s book, The Magical Chaffinch, not yet published, but has been given as a gift. I used different avenues to practice my writing skills, such as for Parkside Pooches (my dog care business). I continue to write daily, and each day my fear continues to subside. With the encouragement of friends and family, it has brought pleasure and excitement back into writing.
So, if you love writing, like I do, or another form of expressing your creativity, don’t allow others to dampen your spirit. We are always learning, but if you love it, keep doing it. Allow yourself the joy you receive from your passion, it makes such a difference.