A Little Bit Intimidating Really

There is so much good writing out there. All you have to do is fire up the guardian website, or download the medium app to your smartphone, or visit my friend Barrie’s site, or Lee’s, and so on and so on.

When it comes to my little whisper into this great choir, it’s easy to feel a bit intimidated. How do I add my voice? How do I feel distinct? How do I do it as well as all these other wonderful writers?

You might think that after nearly four years and over five hundred posts, I might be less timorous. I can assure you that I still feel nervous about every single post. Almost every time I write a post I get hung up on a detail that prevents me writing. I find the biggest source of writer’s block is worrying about whether any of it matters.

And does any of it matter? Not particularly, not in the grand scheme of things. One thing I appreciate more after four years is that you do have to let things go. You can accept that you won’t win on the first try.

As with most good things in life, it is more gratifying to succeed after a struggle. I don’t believe that simply turning up again and again entitles you to succeed. However, I believe that when you do, you accept the challenge of learning and adapting.

The beauty of life is that as you get better at something, you find new aspects to improve upon and new things that make you worry. Even with this self-awareness you will struggle and get stuck, sometimes you can improve too much in one go and leave yourself open to regression to the mean. It’s like training for a run, at any given time you can only put in a sustainable effort - if you try too hard too soon you might injure yourself.

I may well find it intimidating that there is so much other good writing out there but I also know that it is there for me to enjoy, that it communicates to me in a special way. The last few years made me realise that I am in the world, that the world is beautiful, and I am very happy to take my place in it.

My name is Matthew and I’d like to say hello.

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