Oct 142013


I’m not a good writer.  I don’t have any real experience with writing, and have trouble feeling confident no matter what I type.  I often question my abilities as a blogger and struggle to feel like what I have to say is relevant, easy to understand, and something others can relate to.  Some of my closer friends know what I’ve been through as far as my education, but I feel that I need to lay it all out there in order to move forward, feeling secure and capable rather than defeated and ashamed.

From preschool through fourth grade I attended a public school.  I’m not bragging when I say I was a great student.  I loved learning, adored my teachers, and my grades reflected both.  I’ve always been someone to put in my all, having a strong desire to impress others and find some kind of worth within myself.  My peers made fun of me because I was a ‘goody good’; always trying to do the right thing, being as helpful as possible, and working hard to be the best I could be.  By the middle of my fourth grade year, my mother not only noticed a decline in my self esteem thanks to my peers, but also noticed I was no longer being challenged in my classes.  The idea of being homeschooled was brought up; promises of special school trips, learning what I wanted to learn, and being able to sleep in were only some of the pros my mother mentioned.

Sounded good to me!

I was 10 years old at the time, truly having no idea what I was getting myself into.  When I walked away from my elementary school at the end of the year, it was the last time I would be in a typical school system.  My fifth grade year started, and while I could tell my mother tried to make it fun, I wasn’t being taught enough, and found I was often lonely.  I hardly ever heard from my school friends, and was almost always at home, practically hiding in my room from my emotionally abusive father (but that’s another story).

At the end of each school year, I was tested to make sure I was learning what I should and could advance to the next grade, and each year the state found me to be up to par (and advanced in certain subjects) and able to pass.  However, what they didn’t know was that after the little teaching my mother did for my fifth grade year, she stopped.  My mother struggled with depression, felt like she was stuck in an unhealthy marriage, and was trying to figure out how to deal with my rebellious teenage sister; my schooling was the least of her concerns.

I lived in my bedroom, writing in my journal and spending a lot of time reading novels.  Each year I would wait for my mother to get me the books I needed and actually teach me something, but every time I mentioned it, she would gesture to our library and tell me to just go read something.  She didn’t teach me anything and despite my desire to learn, I had become so socially awkward that the idea of going back to public school sent me into panic mode, knowing at this point I wouldn’t fit in or be at the same level academically.  Toward the end of “seventh grade” a private school opened up in our town.  It was put together like a one room schoolhouse and would have grades pre-k through eighth grade attending.  My parents spoke with the people who started the school and decided it would be a good fit for me.

I was terrified of going back into a regular school setting, afraid of failing my teacher because I wasn’t smart enough, scared of being around other children every day, and totally insecure in my ability to handle it.  Shortly before school started, I found out that there would be only four other students apart from myself; a fourth grader, two third graders, and a preschooler.  The idea of being the only eighth grader was a relief, but was hard at the same time.  I desired friendship, but had no idea where to find it and pretty much gave up on it.  I became a ‘big sister’ to the other kids in the school, and often helped them with their school work rather than focusing solely on my own.  The teacher sort of took me on as an aid and though she did teach me, the focus of the school was for younger children.

The next year was back to homeschooling…er…unschooling.

I volunteered at the school weekly, spent a lot of time babysitting, but my own schooling never really happened.  The state required a portfolio at the end of each year showing pieces of the work I had done, so the month of May my sister and I would take some time writing up a couple papers and putting a few projects together.  Each year I “passed” and every year made me feel even worse.

That’s right, my last year of formal schooling was eighth grade, and even that is a reach because of how I was taught and what was expected of me.

Sick of dealing with the situation I was in, I took the first chance I had to get out of my situation and ran with it.  I got married, had babies, and never finished high school according to the state.  I had completed my Junior year, but didn’t graduate from high school.  I started working on getting my GED a couple times, but wasn’t able to because of my life situations.  My ex husband wasn’t supportive and I had small children to care for, so I threw myself into being a mommy, and put it on the back burner.

A lot happened in between, but March of 2012 I decided it was time.  I made it a priority and by the end of May I passed the GED test with flying colors, surprising even myself with the scores I received.

My point of this post is that I’m not highly educated or wicked smart, as they say here, and it’s something I have a lot of anxiety about.  I do my best, but I read what others write and am full of awe.  I wish so badly I had stayed in school, and wonder often where I would be today if I had.  I can’t go back to that, nor would I want to, but I know my posts are lacking since I don’t know all the right words to say and what makes sense in my mind isn’t always simple to write out.

I’m hoping that expressing these feelings will eliminate some of my insecurities and help you all understand my situation a little better.

*cough* Carry on.. *cough*


  11 Responses to “I’m not a good writer..”

  1. Knowing you as well as I do, and being as close as we are.. I know you struggle against this often. I think you’ll find that this post blows a lot of peoples minds, as you are a great writer even if you don’t believe it yourself. You are intelligent, knowledgeable about a lot of things, and very creative. Your desire to learn new things never ceases to amaze me. I’m proud of you for opening up about this, and I love ya Popsie!

  2. I would have never suspected your “lack” of education based on how you write. Seriously, you have nothing to be ashamed of. There are college grads who can’t write on the level that you can (and I know, you know that’s the truth).

    It’s interesting that this post of yours comes at this time because my own “lackluster” writing has been bothering me lately. I’m in no way highly educated and I think I do a fair job of getting things mostly grammatically correct. But it’s my lack of creativity that’s really making me feel bad. I feel like I used to be so sharp, witty and often snarky. I can remember a time when the thoughts came easily and I seemed to ooze creativity. I don’t feel that way anymore. I see my own writing as very matter of fact and somewhat boring most of the time.

    Really though, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. We are our own worst critics.

  3. This is not an uncommon story where I come from. I’m saddened at reading yours, not because you lack knowledge, but because of the experiences and opportunities you missed-the fact that you wonder “what if”. I don’t know the quality of the schools you’d have been in, or what sort of education you’d have taken from them, but you deserved a chance. The adults in this situation denied you that. I hope you realize that, that it’s not your fault.
    As for your writing, that’s not dependent on attending a school. Writing is a skill to be honed, one you use everytime you create a post. Please don’t think you need someone to teach you to write because you don’t.
    I hope writing and posting this helps you somehow. It hasn’t changed how I think of you at all. :)

  4. You do not give yourself enough credit. At no point during this post did I get any impression at all that it was written by somebody with little education. You’re writing is very clear and you told your story well, I could really feel the emotion behind each word.

  5. Your writing is passionate and articulate, you write what you know about, and you can spin an evocative description or story without venturing into purple prose territory. These are huge building blocks toward being a good writer, and I hope one day you see yourself as, if not a good writer, a writer who gets better every day. Just writing a little comment or blog post is a big hurdle for many people, and you’ve already shared so many thoughts and reviews to help out the rest of us here. Thanks for all you do; you and the rest of the review community have helped me break out of a rut of writing inactivity as well.

  6. I really enjoy your writing. Many people are self taught, like you, and it doesn’t make them any less. Keep up the good work.

  7. Oh Popsie. I’ve always complained my lack of writing skills in front of you when you were actually struggling with that thought yourself. I do hope you remember every single thing you’ve told me, because all of them apply to you as well. You are wonderful Popsie, and I do hope nothing brings you down.
    The road you have taken is what got you to where you are, and who you are today. If you actually went to school, you might have been someone completely different. You might have not met all the wonderful people you’ve met today. I know you’re not regretting anything and that you were just writing this down to share it with all of us, but doesn’t that show you something? The way you expressed your thoughts and feelings with simple words just proved to yourself of what an amazing and great writer you are.
    Thank you, for everything you’ve been doing, and for everything you’ve been bringing to me, us.

  8. Being a “good writer” was never supposed to be a requisite for blogging, IMO. Blogging is *your* site, for *you* to capture *your* thoughts in a way that works for and pleases *you*.

    Just like the way you shared this personal story with us so you could feel liberated from some of the pressure you’ve been feeling. Whatever you gotta do. But you don’t have to be a good writer to blog well. You just have to write from a place of sincerity and the rest will figure itself out.

    *hugs* sorry you went through all that.

    And P.S. – I’m not saying you’re a bad writer. What I’m saying is, no matter how many people reassure to the contrary, nearly every writer has a season or four where htey doubt their writing skills. What pulls me through it is remembering that my blog is for my own benefit, to let the thoughts spill out. And while I sure *hope* my writing is high quality, in the end whatever I’m putting out there is me, and *that’s* what people follow.

  9. I TOTALLY understand where you’re coming from. I’ve had a different educational background (and I’m sorry to hear yours was so rough!) but I can relate 100% about feeling insecure about your own writing. I mostly feel like my writing is just so.. boring. And sort of unclear at times, on top of that. I’m nervous about starting my own blog because of it but I know it’s something I need to get over. Like you said, I also read other people’s blogs and think they’re so good, and that I can never write that well — your blog is one of them (and dizzygirl’s too)! I’m glad you are able to overcome your insecurities and share your (great) writing with us all :)

  10. Every time I write something I hesitate before pressing the publish button, so scared that there’s going to be an obvious error I overlooked or my lack of education is going to shine through. I’ve tried hard to better myself, but I think this is something that will always hold me back a little bit.

    All of you helped so much with what you’ve said. I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone would comment and wasn’t expecting everyone to sound so uplifting. I hate feeling like I could have truly excelled in my schooling and eventually moved onto college. It’s not entirely out of the question at this point, but would be much harder and require much more work than others who’ve chosen to attend. Maybe someday.

    Until then, I’ll take each of your comments to heart and work hard at not feeling so insecure about it. Thank you all so much!

  11. Writing is about putting the correct period in the correct place. I would never stop reading a piece because the grammar wasn’t correct. Good writing comes from the heart, not a grammar book or a stuffy English teacher and your writing comes from the heart for sure.


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