Before moving to the countryside I often had The Fear. Fear of trying new things. Stretching my skills. I’ve talked about this before when I wrote about my joy of trees. This fear can be paralysing. And it has played an enormous part in almost ten years of writing.
When I first joined an online writing group many years ago, when the internet was a much quieter place and wifi didn’t really exist, a lovely writer friend talked about having the devil on your shoulder when writing. This devil would whisper in your ear that everything you are typing or scratching out with a pen is absolute rubbish, that it would come to nothing and that you were just a talentless fool. Dripping poison into your ear, watching your confidence grow weaker and weaker and taking great joy in it. He feasted on it.
This devil is still floating around now. And he still tries hard. But I feel his weakness. I am getting better and better at turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to his antics. What has helped me do this, I think, is trying different things outside of writing. Just simple things. Yes, like the aforementioned planting trees. But also learning to mow a lawn, filling it with petrol, mowing the field with the tractor. Planting wildflowers, buying and looking after chickens, making damson jam with my own fruit picked from my own tree which I planted. And making marmalade.
Despite not liking marmalade myself I’ve always wanted to have a go. My husband adores it but I never thought for one minute I could make some. I thought you’d need specialist equipment for a start and a thermometer. Turns out all I needed was a large pan and a saucer in the fridge to check the setting point. Plus a recipe. So when I found this recipe in January’s Simple Things Magazine I bought some oranges.
And you know what, I made it. Husband loved it. I’ve ticked yet another item off my Things I Didn’t Think I Could Do List.
Now it’s time to give that confidence zapping writing devil a good kicking.