Then, when I actually manage to type something out, I churn through draft after draft, topic after topic, trying to find something I feel is worth saying and trying to find the right way of saying it.
The simple explanation for this anxious and somewhat manic behaviour is that I'm often struck by the fear and doubt that comes from a feeling of inadequacy; I'm stuck between being afraid of my own voice and yet also being afraid of not being heard.
For those of you that don't know me I'm a very quiet and fairly introverted person. I like to watch and listen rather than talk, I'm the first to concede space in any situation and I'm a natural peacekeeper. I love reading, walking, and having a cup of tea with a friend but tend to shy away from games nights and team sports. This makes me slightly awkward in social situations but very attentive one-on-one.
It seems only right then for my profession to be reporting. With the humble pen as my weapon of choice I can right the world's wrongs through the stories of others, through facts and figures and research. I can simplify policies, I can sum up six-hour conferences in concise 400-word front page stories and I can tell you what everybody else thinks about things. But, when given the opportunity to say what I think, most of the time you'd be lucky to get out of me that my three pet-peeves are bad manners, general unkindness, and cyclists that don't wear helmets.
I don't believe I'm the only person who does this; who allows themselves to live in a half-light out of fear of being wrong, of being mocked and embarrassed, of letting people down, and not quite being good enough. We all have a great need for acceptance, for a sense of belonging but we should not let that come at the expense of being truly ourselves.
One of my all-time favourite movies is Dead Poets Society. I saw it for the first time when I was fifteen and I highly recommend it for anybody who struggles believing that there is worth in their own opinions.
The character of John Keating played by Robin Williams arrives at a boy's school and changes the lives of his pupils with phases such as "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world", "Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all", and the absolute gem, " you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, "that's baaaaad"".
In Matthew 5 verses 14-16 Jesus says, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
We are called to live a full and bright life for the glory of God. He, having faith in us, has entrusted every individual with a unique voice, perspective, and set of skills. We just need to learn to have enough faith in ourselves to use them.
Gemma Margerison is an aspiring author from the North of England. Gemma worked in Auckland New Zealand in Christian journalism for almost three years and has returned home to the UK.
Gemma Margerison's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/gemma-margerison.html