Three Graces

or the qualities you need to become the writer you wished you were

                      by Angela Maddalena

So little things in my life worry me more than the fear, irrational or not, of being not good enough in my own field, in my own and only “talent”: writing.

Because I wanted to write and tell stories since I remember, I always fighted this ugly sensation of you-may-also-be-not-enough-talented hiding deep inside of me.

Because I’m cheeky and insolent, I found long time ago a way to hide my fears from the rest of the world, just covering them with shameless rudeness. But the fact that you don’t see me shaking, doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. Especially, I am really afraid any time I sit and stare at my computer, searching for that one and only word that matters, the one that will make my writings look like they actually have a sense, that they deserve to exist.

Because no author is, believe me, sure about this. We, authors, are kind of childish creatures, calling for attention. I don’t mean that we are stupid, or that we are always looking for compliments, I mean attention in the real sense of it: I need to know I did something meaningful, I need feedback, I need you to argue, to point out what is irremediably wrong, what can be fixed, what is good to go. I need all of it, only I’m not asking you directly. I can’t: remember where I said I’m way too rude for politely asking?  Yeah, it is the Truth, I’m afraid.

So, basically, two monsters are always fighting inside me: the desire to be corrected (but let’s say approved) and cared for and helped and so on…and the necessity to show to the world that “I care nothing”.

That’s why is so difficult for the rest of the people, especially poor PRs, to deal with authors. And is also why I was a little nervous to take part in a “group” writing.

Let me explain: last week, we needed, as Open Space foundation, to write an article\ report of a training course that took place in Uganda in the end of January.

Well, I was not there, so I was obviously not able to write this on my own. The girl who was there, on the other hand, had never tried to write an article.

For this reason my so unconventional “reporter” from Africa was meant to sit with me and to try to find it out how to do this. To write in two? I asked myself, Is this even humanly possible?

Because you know, authors, we childish things, we have something with our computers, and texts, and style, mostly the style, that is so intimate, so personal…ok, let’s say it, finally: I’m jealous of my own style and ways like I’m jealous of my man. Creazly.

So, I think you can picture for yourself the magma inside me, when the moment of “the Writing” arrived and I eventually found out that we were not supposed to be just two, but three, like the Latins Graces.

I stared at people, then at computers, then at people again. Three. way too much.

I stumbled in confusion for a long, long second. Then I decided to, pardon my french, cut that shit. You can’t always have what you want, the Rolling Stones said, and for sure I had no way out. So, I decided to trick my own brain: “This is NOT my article,- I said myself- I’m here just, only, to help someone else to write HER article. I’m helping. This is it.”

Of course, I can’t speak for other people (later I asked them, and they reported only positive feelings from the experience, so I have to be proud of my efforts), but the trick worked for me: I felt better, in the very moment we started. I felt open, willing to help at my best, but not trying to make things go in my own direction. well, maybe just a bit.

More than this, I finally understood which qualities it takes, to be a real author and they are three, just like we were:

You need to open up: people don’t want, deeply inside, to trash your work. Really. So don’t treat them like the do.

You need to stir yourself up: force yourself to try new things. It’s painful, it can be, only before starting. When the wheel is moving, everything goes along pretty easily.

Give it a try: three brains work faster than one and, THIS IS THE KEY, you have it all at hand: corrections, feedback, approval! Everything you may need, without even asking.

Let’s be honest: group work can result in a big big mistake, but only if the group is not right. With the right people around you, your work is better, easier and faster. The right group of people may change your life, and not only in work spaces. So, here, the very important quality you may need, as an author but also as a human, is this: be able, at least try, to choose your fellows. Friends are not just a matter of luck, they are not your family. Select the people you really want to have near, and be open for them: the result is amazing. In my work, and in life as well.


The “Angie’s Blog” is a rubric led by Angela Maddalena (Italy)

and is part of the project “Freedom of (Hate) Speech“.
It is funded under European program “Erasmus+”,
KA 1: European Voluntary Service and Training Course for Youth Workers.

National Agenda for Bulgaria: Center for Human Resource Development