Everyone's a poet

I am now sometimes skeptical when I meet new people at a social event, and the strongest most confident person in the room is loudly telling me their entire life story and all their achievements. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I listen with intent, but sometimes I’ve been devastated when my achievements look paltry in comparison, and I want to rush and hide under the nearest table. Later, I return home and Google their achievements, I find out that the web designing business is just a web page they made once, their novel is more like a pamphlet, their TV programme is something they do from their bedroom once a year. If there is any factual basis in it whatsoever, some tales have been, to my disappointment, entirely without foundation. I am an honest and genuine person, and I’m unlikely to tell a blatant lie even on my CV. I don’t like people knowing everything about me and feel embarrassed to talk about my achievements, it feels almost unseemly, I feel sorry for the listener.

After 10 years working in radio as a presenter I hear people every day saying they are a presenter, it is something that you can easily add to your CV, it's just talking, if they are a novelist or an actor they add presenter too, perhaps it is just that it seems the most natural thing in the world. The Internet has enabled people to create content like never before, to choose themselves, write and present on a range of topics which is an absolutely brilliant development and removes the power from a few people in the media to anyone with a smartphone.

Lots of people think they are writers, but it then seems like the skills are something that everyone possesses. If you can read and write then writing is a skill that you own, if you can talk confidently in front of others, then you can present, but not everything is equal. I spoke to a musician friend of mine who said that everyone wants to be a musician. I argued with him and said that can’t be true because actually to be a musician you need to be at least able to play something. He told me, "it's like poetry, in ancient Greece, poets were some of the most important people in society but as soon as the printing press was invented and people were able to read for themselves everyone thought they were a poet because they wrote some at school."

Opportunities to be creative should be seized. It is the right of everyone to utilize them, and yet the market can become saturated with low-quality products. People in power don’t seem to have the ability anymore to be able to discern between those who spent years trying to hone the craft and those that just think they can, it can hinge on what stories you tell about yourself, your personal myth.

If you feel out of your depth, clutching on to your apparently inadequate manuscript or radio show, blushing with imposter syndrome, know that inside we all feel small and talentless. To save your sanity, if you find yourself at an event having your ear bent off with someone’s creative or business achievements, take it with a pinch of salt, and remember, “everyone’s a poet.” If you are shaking in fear inside and blagging it on the outside to become top of the pack and trying to stamp your authority, remember who you might be crushing on the inside. Creatives: be strong, there is enough poetry, music, writing, and ideas for everyone, go and enrich.

Louise Croombs