Think you’ll never make it as a writer? Well, you’re not alone!! But don’t worry, read on, gather your strength and embark on a journey…

The Red Planet Prize – come on, you’ve all heard about it/read about it/entered it… Or maybe not. I’d been lurking around the blogsphere reading great pieces by writers and, to be honest, I was in awe of the confidence. It left me dazed and, I have to say, very intimidated. I would read them and then slink back to the safety of anonymity – hey, don’t knock it, it’s a great place, no-one criticises you. Yep, staying right here…

Then, in an uncharacteristic act of sheer bravado, I entered the Red Planet Prize. Sent off those first ten pages in the click of a button.

God help me, what had I done?

The blogs were buzzing with it and confidence levels were high. Bloggers were talking about polishing their work, making it shine, re-writing, re-writing, editing – oh my God – what had I done? Well, for a start, none of that. Nope, in my naivety, I’d just sent ‘em what I’d got. Oh, devil may care me!!! And the more blogs I read, the more the dread took hold – the more I realised that I’d screwed up big time!! By now, I think I was fairly resigned to not getting passed that first ten page read and a massive lesson had been learnt about how to approach my work. Boy was I glad of anonymity then.

Then an email appeared, inviting me to send the rest. Me! OMG! Me? At that time I had no idea of the stats – it was only later I found out just how many didn’t get that email. Eventually, the winner was announced and it wasn’t me but I was invited to the workshop and a day with the man himself, Tony Jordan.

Even as I sat around that table the nagging doubt that I was the impostor, the one that shouldn’t be there, kept creeping over me. I looked at the other writers and I ticked off the reasons they were there and I felt absolutely sure TJ was doing the same thing and that when he got to me, we had come to the same conclusion: why is she here?

So, if you’re lurking around the blogs and you feel the same way, remember that you are not alone and do what I did. Start a blog: Google blogger accounts are free and easy to set up. Write something in it – doesn’t matter if you think you have nothing to say and no one will read it – do it for you. Be brave, comment in blogs. The blog owners don’t bite and they won’t mind. Tweet your writing thing – it’s just 140 characters, come on, you can do it! Join a couple of friendly sites such as Twelvepoint and UKwriters… Have fun!

Most of all don’t worry! You’re a great writer – and when you’re ready, you let the world know!

MORE ABOUT LISA: Writer cunningly disguised as a museum assistant. I made the final twenty of the 2008 Red Planet Prize and am passionate about writing, Rom Coms and archaeology and one day I’m going to combine all three in a script!

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2 Responses to Guest Post: A Note On Confidence From Lisa Barrass

  1. Paul Ariss says:

    Well said Lisa – exactly the same happened to me. A first draft of a script I just about completed in time was sent off despite being told ‘Red Planet was something no-one bothered with anymore as the odds were so stacked and unless you actually won there wasn’t any benefit’. Two months later, just like yourself, I’m in a meeting in the West End with Tony Jordan, a month later I’m sitting in the Kudos offices (how often is that likely to happen?). The same script got me short listed in the Little Brother Productions prize, got me invited to join the BBC Northern Writers Group which I’m still a part of at Media City, and currently has me in the running for a BBC daytime drama. So you’re spot on, anyone looking for confidence there’s only one way to find it, and that’s by taking a chance and getting yourself and your work out there. If it doesn’t work out, then try again. Really, what is there to lose?

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