“I’m no good at writing.”
“I can’t find the right words.”
“It wouldn’t be as good as yours.”
I keep hearing excuses such as these. People tell me that they’d love to write poetry, but they won’t simply because they feel it wouldn’t be good enough.
Do aspiring footballers say “Well, I’ll never be as good as Messi or Ronaldo, so why bother?”
Do aspiring musicians say “I’m never going to be as big as Bob Marley or Queen, so I’ll just give up now.”
Do aspiring artists say “I’ll never paint as well as Monet or Rembrandt, so fuck this,” and go work at Burger King?
Of course not. Well, maybe one or two, but most (I hope) do not. So stop telling me that you can’t write poetry.
Y’know what? If you are so certain of your inability to write, prove it to me. Write something so incredibly bad that I regret having ever learned to read.
I don’t think I’m that great at writing poetry. Compare my works to Wordsworth, Keats, Byron, Shakespeare… I get away with it because I write about relatable topics, in a natural way and without the unnecessary flowery bollocks people thing they have to use. But what if, when I started writing poetry back when I was fourteen, I had thought “I’m not good enough so I’ll just give up.” What if 12 months ago I had felt intimidated by far more talented poets and not posted my own writings on a forum?
With the encouragement of myself and others, I have seen many people grow confident enough to make their poetry public. I have helped inspire people to write their first ever poem, or their first in over twenty-five years. Hand on heart, I wasn’t necessarily a fan of their work, but that didn’t matter; they had my respect and admiration for just having the confidence to put their poetry out there.
If ever I’m asked for feedback, no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I think the piece of writing is, I will always aim to give two positive points and one constructive criticism. But it will only be a case of what I do or don’t like, not what is right or wrong with it, because it’s all a matter of perspective. For example: I can’t stand iambic pentameter, but that doesn’t mean I think all Shakespearean sonnets are fucking terrible. They’re not, they’re brilliant (apparently); I just don’t like them.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t be afraid to write, or publish your writing, just because you don’t think it’s as good as other people’s. If you want to write, then write.