A few years ago, thanks to a redundancy package, I was getting ready to leave my full-time government job and head off into the unexplored lands that lay beyond. It was my plan to spend the following year writing the first draft of my first book.
I’d been discussing this endeavour with my friend and colleague, Matt, and he was very supportive. He also wanted to write a book and was keen to support someone with a similar dream.
As my last day drew near, he would regularly stop by my desk and ask cheekily, ‘When you are going to send me the link to your blog?’
‘Before I go,’ I’d say. And he would nod, smile and move on.
At that stage, only a few close friends knew about my blog and I wrote under a pseudonym. But in a moment of weakness I’d succumbed to Matt’s questions and agreed to send him the details before I left. And he was not going to let me forget it.
My last day drew ever closer and Matt did not let up. He was determined and I was filled with dread. Matt is a journalist and as such, trained to write professionally. He knows his stuff. I on the other hand am a PR chick. I’ve written about lots of serious issues in my career for all types of publications but I’m not a trained journalist and my blog back then was about ‘frivolous’ issues like dating, men and having no clue about either of those things.
‘Who am I to think I can write?’ I thought to myself. ‘Matt is going to think it’s a complete load of rubbish! He’ll never take me seriously again.’
My last day arrived as did Matt, loitering near my desk once again. We exchanged goodbyes and he reminded me of my promise. ‘I won’t forget,’ I said. And he was gone.
Not long before I closed my computer down for the last time, I sent my blog link to him by email along with some words asking that he not judge it too harshly.
As the email departed from my screen, I felt mortified. I wanted to sink through the floor and hide forever. He was going to think I was completely lame. Oh, the embarrassment.
The next day (my first day of freedom), I got up, turned on my computer and logged into my emails. Matt had already sent me his thoughts on my writing.
I took a deep breath and began to read his words which were along the following lines.
‘Lucretia, I don’t know what all the fuss was about. There’s nothing wrong with your writing. You’re a writer, so write.’
He wrote a few other things that day and his words were incredibly supportive. I was so grateful. Those few sentences helped me to believe I could be taken seriously. His words helped me to take myself seriously. His words were a gift.
Later this year, I will be self-publishing my first book. It’s not highbrow and it’s not revolutionary. But it’s my story and the support of people like Matt over the past few years, has helped me believe that it’s worth putting out there.
Sometimes it’s kind words that can make the difference between following your dream or abandoning hope. So when someone says they believe you can do it, believe them.
And if you don’t have someone like a ‘Matt’ in your world right now, then you should know that I believe you can do it. Your dream is yours, so go for it.
I believe in you.