I always liked to share the story of Moses. He was an insecure man and had problems with his speak proficiency. His life was not the great adventure, but God came to scene to change his life. Moses passed from being an unsuccessful man to becoming in the leader that took out from captivity the people of Israel. After this stuff of telling stories, my level of confidence was not very high, near to my four years of age my pronunciation used to be poor. Many times I got mad because I was not able to say a few words; that thwarted me to tears.
But my sweet mother patiently practiced with me the difficult words; she encouraged me! Thanks to her consistency I started to speak fluently and especially without fear. I think Moses and I had something in common, we both had trouble with our speaking skills, but with practice and a divine touch this changed. My divine touch was the blessing of having a very dedicated mother. Most of the people have these kinds of reading experiences, there will always be someone who is part of the development of our reading abilities, nevertheless the writing experiences seems a totally different picture.
I think it is because commonly our first contact with reading is pleasant, hearing the voice of your mom/dad telling you an entertaining story is something that you can enjoy. But the way that we begin to be related with writing is very distinct, the perceived magical touch when we read, is not present the first time we wrote. We do thousands of handwriting exercises for having a good penmanship. We learn tons of grammatical rules, although this does not ensure that we will be good writers, due to the fact that our introduction to writing is planned and structured the experience is not delightful at the start.
As soon we put aside the perfectionism, the hard rules of writing and all the things that make us feel insecure about it; we will be free to express ourselves. I recall once I was trying to figure out how to start my first short story. I’d never written a story before, as a nine year-old girl, I have enjoyed telling stories for years, but writing one was something totally different for me. I was nervous and insecure about it. In that moment I thought that my writing skills were not enough.
This was too much pressure for a little girl. I don’t know why, but since I remember I take everything seriously, which is good at times, because it can bring out the best of you, but it also could obstruct all of my potential. On that occasion, I was in my third grade of elementary school and a publishing company came to invite the whole school to be part of a writing activity, in which each student had to participate. The writing activity was to make a short story, but we only had half an hour to write it.
When the instructors of the company arrived to my classroom to start the activity, I was feeling excited and anxious. They gave me the sheet of paper with the title of the activity and the format to fill with my personal information. Once I finished that, I did not have idea of what to write, I thought about some ideas but the time wasn’t enough to develop them. I felt like it was just me and my imagination in that room; too much silence and mind going blank. My desire was to write something memorable to impress all those people.
There were 15 minutes remaining and I had nothing in my sheet, at that moment I decided to plan less and write more, I completely forgot about the perfectionism and started having fun, leaving the worries about pleasing others allowed me to write with more confidence and freedom. The final result for that smart decision was a charming story of a mouse named Antoinette, who was very naughty and restless. She used to give many headaches to her parents but in the end she learned to be a “good mouse”.
When I finished the story, I still felt like it was not good enough; but to my surprise 3 weeks later I knew that my story was chosen to be published in a compilation with the other stories that the company had chosen. I honestly did not expect it, but it made me feel happy, I thought: “I’m not such a bad writer. ” and the truth is that I was not too bad, I was just a beginner. Feeling insecure about something new was absolutely natural, it was the first time. The way that happened with my reading skills, I had to practice, but the difference is that there was not someone to be my support.
This happens very often in the maturation of writing skills; a lack of support. The writers learn by themselves to enjoy and improve their writing. Professors can explain to you the grammatical rules but they will not teach how to write, what I mean is: Does someone teaches you to think? No. The same thing is with writing, no one really “teaches” you. When we read the magic comes out from someone else’s creation, but when we write the magic is supposed to come out of us. However we do not trust enough in our capacity, even if we are capable.
I was feeling uncertain writing my first story, not only because it was new, also because I realized that I did not know how to write by myself, writing summaries or homework is an easy thing. Writing something original, something born in your mind; a product of your creative thought, is not simple. Reading a book is as simple as saying the ABC’s, but writing one can take years to develop. Failure was my fear in that moment, I hadn’t the help of somebody telling me what to do; I was on my own.
But I had to brave and face that I was alone, after that I started to write freely and enjoy what I was doing. This choice helped me a lot, because I commenced to trust in myself and believe that I could do whatever I want to. Decided being a creator and not only a spectator of a work gave me delight. This experience encouraged me, now I like not only telling stories, I like to tell the stories that I had wrote, the ones that came out me; the ones that can give magic to others.