Thank you to every single person who’s told me how much they enjoy my writing.
Thank you too for every one who has told me I write so well.
Let it be known it wasn’t always this way. I was graded a C average for English in high school – only once – ever – did a teacher at school commend something I wrote.
So I left high school feeling that while I wanted to write I wasn’t good enough. Because that was the message that was sent to me. Constantly.
A few years ago I wrote my second book Mangoes in April. I hope to share it someday.
After six publisher rejections for that book I put my pen down and didn’t write again for years.
One publisher called my writing colourless. Another said it wasn’t believable. Every rejection cut deep into my core and reminded me repeatedly (of the lie) that I wasn’t good enough.
In the hope of getting published – I changed my entire book each time I received a rejection letter. I hoped this would help matters. It didn’t. It just turned my book into a joke and contaminated the purity of the story I’d set out to tell.
I sent TONS of samples and requests to publishers – so the six rejections I received were a mere sprinkle in the ocean of all the requests I’d sent out.
Eventually when I was too wrecked to receive any more criticism about how lousy my writing and my story was – I stopped sending the requests. Worse still: I stopped writing.
Yes they had won. All of them. The school teachers, the publishers, everyone who had told me I wasn’t good enough was victorious: I had come to believe that indeed they were right and I wasn’t good enough.
By then I had mutilated my book so much that the essence of why I’d written it in the first place was lost.
I can’t remember what triggered my “go” to write again. I guess there came a time when I became so full that I had to let it out and share.
Sharing has always been my reason to write. That need to articulate what’s on the inside – even if the only reader is me. Also what changed and brought me back to my writing table was that I was no longer writing for an audience. That need for approval had died. And I buried it with glee! Oh the joy!
I didn’t care who read my work or who didn’t. It didn’t matter if the people who did read liked what I said or loathed every word I’d strung together. I wrote to share. To share me – even it was just to me.
We all have a gift. Something that compels us to share. Something that refuses to die and be put away no matter how many times we’re told we’re not good enough.
I have done tremendous things in my career and personal life – but there are few things that give me more joy than writing.
I love reading my own work. It inspires me and spurs me on.
When it comes to how I feel about my writing you’ll be HUGELY disappointed should you wish to find modesty. I relish how I write – it’s juicy and scrumptious and it makes me so happy.
I appreciate my gift because it was given to me first to enjoy – what I share is from the abundance of what I’ve been given.
I’m grateful for the internet and how it’s evolved because it allows me to share without asking someone to approve my work – I don’t need anyone’s “OK”.
I write what I want, when I want to and share it with as many people as want to receive.
So do look out for my book Mangoes in April. I’ll publish it online – you’ll be able to download it – share it with friends – and I hope more than anything that you’ll enjoy it to the point of being inspired to share your gift too.
Give me a short while though- I’m going back to re-write Mangoes in April as I had wanted to share it from the beginning. It’s a piece of me and now I can truly say I’ve grown up enough to treat it with the dignity, honour, reverence and love it deserves.
P.S. I remain most grateful to my English Lecturer in college, Ms Anne Levitz who never ceased to tell me how fantastic my writing was. You have no idea how you built my confidence. You gave me the courage to really buckle down and hone my skill.
And many many thanks to my first career mentor Diane de Beer for loving my work (and me) enough to let me fly. I grew so much under your wings!
And to my Dad who always always read every single thing I ever wrote and relished it so! You were relentless in showing me that my gift mattered.
You’re welcome to leave a comment or email Hannah directly at firstname.lastname@example.org