Last week I went to a wonderful writer’s retreat in Connecticut.  A house on the ocean.  Sunshine.  Cool sea breezes.  Nothing between you and the blank page but: YOU.  Ah, there’s the rub.  No matter where you go, you’re taking along some extra baggage – you and your story.  How ever that story has played out in your mind over and over – maybe it’s your story of the past and how things didn’t work out then so why would they work out now.  Maybe it’s the one of the future – where you at last arrive at that place (the oscar nomination, the cottage with a garden, the new husband or wife) and you’re finally happy.

We were given many writing prompts over the week, a certain amount of time we had to run with them and then a fate worse than death: we read them out loud.  I had no idea we’d be doing this.  To say I hate reading my writing out loud would be putting it mildly, especially to strangers who were also amazing writers – every single one of them. 

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so insecure as I did that first reading, or let’s face it – the whole week. 

But then I began to notice something – having to do it so many times, my voice became less shaky, I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up towards the end (excellent) and there was one time where I was almost excited, excited, that’s right, to share what I had written. 

I’m beginning to realize when I’m feeling insecure, it may just mean that I’m out of my comfort zone, headed for new terrain, and in a little while that terrain might begin to feel welcome, like the new normal. 

It may even feel good. 

And in the end, that’s the story I want to be living in.  The one where I’m feeling good, even great, and opening the door to see what could be on the other side.

Daintry Jensen is the author of THE HIDDEN FOREST, a middle grade fantasy adventure novel set on Nantucket Island, recently published through Green Writers Press.  Available at your favorite book seller and online at and

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