My Dolores Umbridge of Writing

As a kid I was fearful and timid.  It stemmed in some part, from being overly sensitive to the negativity of others.  Thankfully I grew out of that.  I became braver over the years, to persist with blogging as something that I get enjoyment from, regardless of who may or may not approve.

When I look at my first blog posts, ten years ago now, they were brief and self conscious.  In one I claim to have “Writers Block”, but I remember the feeling of fear, that people would laugh and gossip if I wrote my thoughts down, so I should stay quiet despite the impulse to write.  At the time I was exchanging daily emails with a friend who repeatedly told me I should save my stories and reflections of life in Central Australia to share with others, who would enjoy them as much as she did.  It was this encouragement that initially saw me try to write on a political opinion site, which was a disaster as neo-conservative antagonisers bulldozed me into silence.  This seemed to drive my determination, even more so when a relative who writes professionally encouraged me, advising when I expressed my fears, that writing should be my concern, and not how others might perceive or criticise what I write.  I am so glad I listened because the enjoyment of writing has drowned out my insecurities and beyond learning and improving as a writer, I faced a demon and crushed it.

JK Rowling has her foibles.  She wants to “end the institutionalisation of children worldwide”.  This completely ignores the need for effective institutions, of which many are making a positive difference to the lives of millions of children who would otherwise exist in unspeakable ways, and/or die unnecessarily.  There are many appalling institutions exploiting children, which should be targeted and shut down, but in her work to eliminate these, Rowling completely ignores the other side of the coin.  Her intention is good but her view of the world comes from a purely first world, privileged mind set.  She needs to familiarise herself with the good being done in the world by institutions, as I wrote in a recent blog, Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater.  The children thriving at Wat Opot and the home where the Phter Koma children now live, would be horrified to learn that they are targeted in Rowling’s mission and I am sure they would love the opportunity to teach her what they know about their lives, removing some of her first-world assumptions and misconceptions.  One of my friends who has dedicated her life to working with abandoned children, once said “it’s ironic that someone who made a fortune writing about children in an institution, now works to close every institution down without understanding the issue”.

Anyway, I had to say that before I quoted her on the topic of writing.  I relate very much to the tweets she posted yesterday even though my blogs are not “creative writing”.  Every time I published an early blog, no matter how brief or reticent, it gave me the idea that I could, and each time I did it again, I became more confident and less concerned about “what others might think”.  I learned about writing but I equally learned an important lesson about challenging your demons.

Rowling’s Tweets of 3 April:
Even if it isn’t the piece of work that finds an audience, it will teach you things you could have learned no other way.
(And by the way, just because it didn’t find an audience, that doesn’t mean it’s bad work.)
The discipline involved in finishing a piece of creative work is something on which you can truly pride yourself.
You’ll have turned yourself from somebody who’s ‘thinking of’, who ‘might’, who’s ‘trying’, to someone who DID. And once you’ve done it…
… you’ll know you can do it again. That is an extraordinarily empowering piece of knowledge. So do not ever quit out of fear of rejection.

2 thoughts on “My Dolores Umbridge of Writing

  1. Perhaps an invitation could be extended to JK Rowling to see for herself what good institutions can achieve.


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