Hi everyone – it’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another IWSG day!

Later today I’ll be continuing with my We’ve Got It Covered series, but I wanted to take time out to connect with my fellow ISWGs first. What are you feeling insecure about today, guys? Let it all hang out, don’t be scared to dig deep and share your innermost fears …

What do you mean, I should go first? Oh, OK then. If I must. Well, this month I’ve decided to share with you a very big, very personal insecurity – speaking in public. Don’t groan – I know you think everyone hates this, but I have a very special reason to hate it more than most. When I was young I had a stammer, and there are vast chunks of my past which are marked by my inability to speak up. In school I was disadvantaged by not being able to read out loud (I remember all you evil teachers who showed no pity at all), and it made me overcompensate in some ways, and become very introverted in others. In my twenties it coloured other people’s view of me – the person who never likes to order in restaurants, who won’t make a simple phone call, who hates to be interrupted – and I’m sure it’s what made me retreat into my inner world and become a writer (every cloud …).

So why is this rearing its ugly head right now? Well, I’m fairly over my stammer. These days I can just about function, and phone calls are manageable, and it’s only when I’m very stressed it shows up at all. But speaking in public? Oh. My. God. It’s not just that I’m nervous – I know it’s impossible for me. I had to have intensive therapy just to say my wedding vows, for goodness sake! But this year I’ve set myself the challenge to overcome this fear.

This Saturday I’ll be at Market Drayton library helping to mark National Libraries Day, but I’ll just be standing by a table, shyly avoiding potential readers. That’s not how it was supposed to be – originally the manager of the library invited me to host a ‘Meet the Author’ evening, giving a talk and reading from my latest novel. Now, wouldn’t that be an amazing thing to do? Or how about speaking at literary festivals? Giving readings? Holding workshops? I could do all those things – I’m brimming over with ideas and enthusiasm – but this stammer thing is holding me back.

So, this is the year to overcome. Ideas and advice welcome – and please share your insecurities too, to make me feel better about mine!

National Libraries Day - MD
I won’t be doing much talking, I’m afraid!

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