Once upon a time, there was a young woman who’d always wanted to try creative writing. She felt silly, though, and the embarrassment she felt wasn’t the kind that made her flush like a beautiful and delicate maiden; it was the kind that made her burrow under a heavy duvet, muttering, “Oooh, no, no, no, no…” whenever she so much as thought about writing anything.
The years passed, and the young woman stopped being a young woman and started just being a woman instead. She spent lots of time helping other people to write, but still no time at all daring to write anything for herself. Finally, the woman had had enough!, as they say, and decided to start a blog, where she would write lots of things, no matter how daft they turned out to be. Nobody would know that the stories belonged to the woman, and she could carry on with life, with her tough-cookie reputation intact.
Once the woman had started the blog, she found that it really wasn’t as awful as she’d thought. Alright, so writing things was hard at times, and some of the work turned out to be a bit rubbish (the poems in particular, which seemed to drip from line to line like slugs on a cabbage), but people were kind, and no one burst through the door with torches and cameras and cries of, “It’s you! That woman with the blog! We have discovered you, and shall embarrass you forthwith!”
Eventually, the woman grew shockingly bold and started sharing her writing. She put her name on her work, and stopped caring whether people would know. She wrote because she wanted to, because she wanted to improve, and because it made her feel good, which are three very good reasons to write. At the end of the year, after eight not-so-terrifying months, the woman realised that the blog looked like it was here to stay. Nobody had pointed and laughed, except for people who didn’t matter, and she’d got to know some lovely people, and their lovely writing, along the way.
Resolving to show her gratitude in a suitably writerly way, the woman spent the night scribbling ‘thank you!’ on scraps of paper, which she folded up into neat little butterfly shapes and addressed to every commenter who had visited her blog. She waited until the wind was just right, opened up the highest window in the house and, with outstretched arms, threw the butterflies out, hoping that they would reach every kind person who had encouraged her to write and given her thoughtful and insightful feedback on her stories.
But, because this was just a fairy tale, the scraps of paper dropped to the ground and got caught in the tree at the bottom of the driveway. The woman sneaked down and popped all of the now soggy butterflies in the recycling bin, lest she get fined for littering, and went back upstairs to write a grateful blog post instead.