Every society tells stories, but I’m afraid to tell mine…

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I wanted to be two things when I was growing up. A dance teacher and an author. Both these dreams got shot down pretty quickly by family members because apparently those aren’t ‘proper jobs’. However, while I know deep down that becoming a dance teacher is out of the question now, being an author is never out of the question. But I get scared of being rubbish, scared of being rejected. Like I know incredible authors got a ton of rejection letters before they got published…but it doesn’t make me feel any less anxious about the whole thing. And it stops me from finishing the stories I have in my head.

More specifically I’ve wanted to write children’s books. I still love children’s books which my friends think is an amusing quirk – though they’ve given me credit on occasion for finding books that their kids/nephews/nieces love. 🙂

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Discovering some children’s books at a vintage fair.

But oh the fear! I went to an incredible conference at my university a couple of years ago which one of my Germany roommates invited me to (she was doing a Masters in Children’s Literature and Literacy). It was all about picturebooks, and it fuelled that fire even more. Through going to different conferences mainly aimed at children’s librarians (another job I would love, love, love…and another job that our government is cut, cut, cutting) I met the head of Children’s library services for our city, and he invited me to become a judge for this incredible writing competition we have each year for primary school children aged between 7-11 years old. It has become my favourite weekend of the year when I go to the central children’s library to pick up 100s of entries and take them home to read to whittle it down to 10 entries for the final judging panel. Their creativity (when teachers have allowed it) just makes my heart more full, and I often annoy the snot out of everyone around me by bursting in a room or calling on the phone exclaiming “oh my gosh, this is amazing!” before proceeding read them a poem or short story I’ve discovered that has made me smile or laugh.

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Distracted by books at a market stall in Paris. I’d found the French translation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

And stories are important. Not just the life stories, but the imagination stories. I do believe that fairy tales were often the ways in which morals and life lessons were taught to children by their families back in the day. A few friends continually tell me that I need to share my own story, but I worry that there’s no point because no one would want to read it.

But worst would be if the characters in my head never get to be loved and read. There are my reindeer and there are my superhero wannabe brother and sister duo, Mattie and Zander. I worry they’ll never make it from my imagination to paper. But somehow I worry more that they will and people will just go “Pffffftttt”.

Yep. I still haven’t been able to combat my fear of failure!! (Clearly).

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