Self-Confidence: Learning, Encouragement & 'The Beach', Short Story by someone who thought she couldn't Write Fiction

I Can Do It!

Sticker from 'Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom'
Sticker from 'Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom' | Source

Lack of Self-Confidence

‘I can’t do that, I’m not good enough.’

‘No one would be interested in that.’

‘I can write, my spelling and grammar is good, but I can’t write fiction.’

‘I don’t think I could try that, I know nothing about it.’

How many times have you heard something like that or perhaps you’ve said it yourself?

To my mind, there are three questions to such statements.

1 If you don’t try, how do you know?

2 If you don’t push yourself, how can you improve?

3 How do you know no one would be interested if you haven’t asked them?

If you know nothing about a subject, research it, learn. If you don’t try, you don’t fly. We shouldn’t go through a day of our lives without learning. I hope I continue to learn until the day I pop my clogs.

Developing & Learning

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Learning to stand, with helpWords; talking, then letters & spellingAlphabetIn which order shall I put them?
Learning to stand, with help
Learning to stand, with help | Source
Words; talking, then letters & spelling
Words; talking, then letters & spelling | Source
Alphabet | Source
In which order shall I put them?
In which order shall I put them? | Source

Confidence through Learning & Encouragement

We need confidence to start to do anything. What does a child do?

He runs full tilt into everything until he learns that some things hurt. If they hurt he learns not to do it again. If they don’t he continues and gets better at climbing more carefully, running more steadily, but he doesn’t lose confidence if he’s encouraged to think, to learn, and if he’s given help and guidance.

She talks, she uses words and gets some endings wrong because words are funny, they’re naughty and don’t always stick to the rules. She can say ‘I posted my letter’, so why can’t she say, ‘I wroted a letter’, ‘I getted a drink’, I maked a flower’, ‘I drawed a picture’. By listening and copying, she learns that some words are a little different and that makes them interesting because they break the rules. She remembers, she uses them and then she doesn’t remember that she used to get them wrong. She becomes confident to use lots of words, to make some up, to laugh at the silly ones and know which ones are really naughty ones!

Why can't we be more like children?

Nobody knows everything. I’d bet that, in a group of adults at an evening class, several people are itching to ask a question but they think they might be shown up, that others might think they’re ignorant. Once one asks, many others sigh and mutter, ‘Yes, I was wondering about that’, and no one feels a fool. Rarely are you the only one who doesn’t know.

Step up, bite the bullet, take a deep breath and count to ten but don’t stay silent. Silence is not golden. Silence breeds ignorance. Silence is frustrating. Silence teaches nothing.

Let’s all question everything! Let’s acknowledge we don’t know many things! Let’s talk about what we do know and share our knowledge. That way, we all learn and we learn fast.

Quest for Knowledge - Answers below

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Do you know exactly what this is?What & where is this building in the background? Can you make one of these?This baby tree will grow into a magnificent ... what?
Do you know exactly what this is?
Do you know exactly what this is? | Source
What & where is this building in the background?
What & where is this building in the background? | Source
Can you make one of these?
Can you make one of these? | Source
This baby tree will grow into a magnificent ... what?
This baby tree will grow into a magnificent ... what? | Source


Learning is listening, reading, discussing, doing, practising, then passing it on. Through doing and practising you’re reinforcing your own learning. Through telling others what you know, you’re also reinforcing your own expertise, fixing it more firmly into your long-term memory.

A thirst for knowledge is what keeps the world alive. Mankind needs knowledge, needs invention, needs discovery; without asking questions, without delving into details, he’s not going to improve the world. She’s not going to cure diseases, he’s not going to conquer fears, she’s not going to find new species, he’s not going to create new ways of communication.

What is this? (answer below)

What is this & what does it do?
What is this & what does it do? | Source

I don't understand

So have the confidence to say you don’t know what that object is, you don’t understand that word, you’ve never seen that so-called famous picture, you’ve never been abroad. When you can do that, you’ll understand others better, you’ll gain respect, you’ll grow as a person inside and out.

No one is perfect. No one knows it all. Some think they are, some think they do, but they are the ones who intimidate us, who sneer when someone is corrected. Ignore your insecurities, have the courage to go for it, to speak out, to acknowledge that you want to find out, to explore, to experiment. That way, you’ll be a richer, happier, more tolerant, more respected and more rounded individual.

An example

I know someone who is kind, tolerant, a great wife and mother and has a wonderful sense of justice and sense of humour. She can write. She thought she couldn’t write fiction. I think she realises more nowadays that she can exceed what her voice inside used to allow. She still needs more confidence in herself and her abilities but she’s growing in stature and is starting to believe. She is not afraid to try, she’s not afraid to push the boundaries.

Below is a short story she had to write for a course, inspired by the painting 'Beyond the Breakers II' by Spencer Lee. See what you think.

The Beach

Gazing across the stunning bay an overwhelming sense of calm descends. The sand beneath my feet, interspersed with small irregular pools and still damp from the high tide, clings to my boots as I saunter towards the rocks. There is such peace and tranquillity. Even though I am surrounded by sounds, they seem distant, displaced, blurred; the sea an obscured drumroll as it gently retreats from the shore, smoothly caressing the bay farewell; the gulls overhead, cackling to one another as they circle and swoop in search of a meal. The wind, gentle but bitterly cold, swishes by my ears and brushes my hair in a song of whisper. Barely audible are the shrieks of delight and laughter as, far ahead on the rocks, father and son race to the peak and make discoveries of crabs and shrimp in the rock pools.

This is far from a Mediterranean island. The beach is not sun drenched, the sand not white or burning, but for me this is paradise. I am content. Yes the cold is biting at my nose, yes I’m wearing wellington boots, yes I’m wrapped up in scarf, gloves, jeans and my thick winter jacket but I’m cosy, I’m snug, I’m blissfully happy, I’m…!

I am surrounded on three sides by grand, dark rusty brown cliffs but, far from imposing on the bay or intimidating the observer, they wrap themselves around the beach protecting its innocence, keeping it hidden from the world beyond. This isn’t just any beach, this is a secret beach. Looking all around me I am cut off from the villages, towns and cities, sheltered from the eyes of others and hidden in my private paradise. Just my boys and me. No one can touch us. Only we know of the winding tunnel secreted through the cliff, concealed at both ends, invisible to those not privileged with the knowledge of its location.

The sun is gradually sliding down behind the cliffs, it colours the sky a warm orange glow, relaxes the body, soothes the soul. I breathe in deeply, the sharp cold air filling my lungs with pure, clean air; no engine fumes, no factory smoke, no pollution, no aromas of restaurants, bars, cafes, nothing but the crisp ocean air.

Such a beautiful sliver of land, a minute speck on the map of our giant Earth, yet it has a strong power over me. I’m drawn to it, to the feeling of serenity it forges so perfectly, to the lightness I feel within me as I stroll across the shore, all my worries and stresses of reality lifted from me and thrown out to sea. I’m free to think, to imagine, to dream as a child does, to let go of the chaos, be released from my daily orderliness.

I wonder how this beach became, how the tunnel was formed, who first stumbled upon this mysterious piece of wonderland. Will it remain far into the future? Or will the sea in her rage break down the rocks and expose the bay to those beyond? Will my secret heaven be discovered one day? Will the tourists flock here in hundreds and greedy businesses follow?

No, they can’t! This is my place, my secret, my tranquillity, my escape.

(This story is Copyright SF 2015)


My thanks to the author for letting me publish her story. She’s close to my heart and I know she will fly as high as the sky.

Answers (in order of photos)

A man-made 'tree' on which the stork builds its nest, in Alsace, France

Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg, Alsace, France

Put artificial ivy leaves in a glass bowl, insert metal 'shapes' of your choice and illuminate using battery powered star lights (like on Christmas tree)

An oak tree

Used to manually turn bottles of wine in order for the sediments to settle in the neck of the bottle.

Copyright annart/AFC 2015

More by this Author

Comments 50 comments

annart profile image

annart 17 months ago from SW England Author

manatita: Trying to relax and catch up at the same time! Thanks for popping by.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 17 months ago from london

He he. We seem to be doing this holiday thing together. Good on You! Enjoy!!

annart profile image

annart 17 months ago from SW England Author

anemixflarie: Hi and thanks for reading. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and I appreciate your comments.


anemixflarie profile image

anemixflarie 17 months ago

I love this hub!! confidence is very important in our life, and very much loved " If you don’t try, you don’t fly" this is so true, if we don't try, how can we know? its better to try and then notice "oh that's not for me" than wonder "what if" two thumbs up! :)

annart profile image

annart 19 months ago from SW England Author

DREAM ON: Thank you for your personal contribution to this hub. Great insight into childhood and wonderment and confidence. I always told my dyslexic students that if they made an effort, they could succeed and watching them gain in confidence was like watching a miracle. Many owed their progress in reading, in writing and in life to their own perseverance and growth of confidence.

Your words are wise. We don't know what we can do until we try.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your visit and I'm glad you liked the story; she's amazed at the positive reaction to it from so many people! Another confidence boost!


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 19 months ago

Your friends story brought me back to when I was about thirteen and I would go to the beach and slide on the seaweed covered slimy rocks. Touching the sharp barnacles on the edges trying not to cut myself. I could stay there for hours looking in all the crevices. Sometimes seeing a crab or the remains of a half eaten one. I would sit and as the icy cold breeze chilled every bone in my body I would not leave. All I could do is think what happened to this crab?Did it put up a fight. How many other crabs have met with the same fate? I am so glad I am not a crab. Then I would climb some more and try to peek in every hole. Thinking what would I find. Most of the time to dark to see but that never stopped me. I always thought what if ?Some how, some way there was a treasure hidden after all these years. Was it left for me to find or should I leave it alone and keep it as my secret from everyone I know. So many questions and still very few answers.Soon the tide would come rushing in or it was getting late I had to go. I wouldn't go without a fight. I begged for a few more minutes and even dragged my feet to show my disapproval. Waiting for the next week or month later to return. I didn't say a word to anyone just I case they had a chance to go the beach before me. Thirty seven years later my secret is out. Her story was wonderful! I would do anything to be that kid again. I love nature and adventure and the sense of wonder. So many people have such a gift that other people would die for. They neither find the time or the patience to continue on their own path finding and making their own destiny. Please post more stories and let her know how much I was moved by her story. I love the way you rolled her story in your hub. It reminded me of an ice cream that had a chocolate center who knew ? Boy was I surprised and over joyed at thec same time. Just when I thought your hub couldn't get any better it did. Your hub struck a cord when I was young there were three types of kids. The ones who did everything well. The ones who did things bad but never stopped trying.The kids who never tried and watched because they didn't want to be embarrassed. Kids can be cruel and unfortunately these habits carry on to our adult life.

annart profile image

annart 19 months ago from SW England Author

Venkatachari M: Thank you for your kind comments and votes. Glad you liked this.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 19 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Wonderful thoughts and a good story. I appreciate your presentation of all this.

Voted up and beautiful.

annart profile image

annart 21 months ago from SW England Author

brakel2: Audrey, thank you for your lovely comments and input. I'm glad if this helps even one person. I never used to be at all confident but that's come with age! The first time I published here I had to make myself push that button! However, as you say, we just keep pressing forward and then we see that we're capable of all sorts of things.

Thank you for visiting my page.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 22 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Ann - What a wonderful contribution to Hubpages. I am a person who has lacked in self-confidence and had to push myself to overcome this defect. You keep pushing until you become better. This hub has so many good points in addition to the story at the end. You have done yourself proud and helped more people than you may ever know. . Sharing. Blessings, Audrey

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Hello craftdrawer. Thank you for reading and commenting.


craftdrawer profile image

craftdrawer 22 months ago

Great Hub Thanks for sharing!!!

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Hello, mary! Good to see you. It's lovely that you keep a copy of your stories for your grandchildren.

I'm going to have a look at your stories and will tell you what I think.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


mary615 profile image

mary615 22 months ago from Florida

I do not have confidence to write very much fiction here on HP. I write short stories, but keep a copy in each grandchild's binder for them to keep.

I have published a few here, but they just don't do very well.

Thanks for the encouragement.

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Theresa: Good to see you today! You've hit the nail on the head; if we don't give it a go, then how do we know how good it is?

Thanks for the encouragement for the author of the story; she has tried another since, which is equally as good but then I knew it would be.

I too give the 'grands', as you call them, precedence over the hubs. They deserve our undivided attention at all times! I'm missing mine so much at the moment but we will be back home from France next Tuesday so I'll be seeing them soon.

Glad to hear you're well and keeping busy!

Thanks for popping in today and for the votes; great to see you, Theresa. Have a wonderful weekend!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

Dear Ann,

We all have our insecurities no doubt and this creatively written hub here addresses those and is such an encouragement! I love your friend's story and I hope she is encourage to keep on writing.

When we are willing to try something new, we may be surprised to try again. If not, how will we ever grown, even if it does not work out.

I am sorry I missed this one somehow, and I am now off to read your latest too. We picked up two of our grands on Thursday for the weekend, so I am stealing a bit of time to read here.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning and sharing

Peace and blessings to you and yours always

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Eric, for your lovely comments but most of all thank you for noticing that one purpose of the hub was in fact to boost that author's confidence. How perceptive of you! But then I would imagine you were perceptive by nature.

Lovely to see you here today. I still have much of yours to catch up on but I promise I'll get there! I hope that you and yours have a wonderful weekend.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I really liked the story. I was encouraged by your words on the subject of trying. But what really hit me was the encouragement that you gave this writer. This article was a positive good act in and of itself.

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

manatita: Thank you so much for your encouragement and for your support. I'm delighted with your comments and especially appreciate your words regarding my approach. Thanks, too , for your comments on the story. She'll be delighted too!

Hope you have a wonderful weeked! (I know I have hubs of yours to catch up on & will do my best whilst still in France.)


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 22 months ago from london

Excellent Hub, and the story is great! If this is her first then she is potential a brilliant writer. More than good for such an early stage.

Liked the idea of your questions and the picture's are cool. You began the Hub in a nice and motivational way. Liked this approach.

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Flourish, for your comments and your lovely compliment. Yes, if we think we can do it, we can; it's that simple.

I hope she'll write more fiction now and then; I'm encouraging her all the time!

Thanks for reading; lovely to see you today.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

Well done, Ann! I liked how you combined the lovely story with practical excerpts from people's lives and photo guesses. Very clever. Tell your friend to keep writing and have confidence. Self-belief is so important. There's a message in them struggling to break free.

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Frank. I'm glad you liked this. The story was included not only for this hub but also to give the author proof that her writing is worthy, when she reads the comments.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Hi, Mary! Thanks for your great comment and votes, as well as for your kind words to the author of the story. Confidence is a wonderful thing; it can move mountains. Still catching up on your stories - I haven't forgotten you!


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

torrilynn: Thank you for the comment and thanks for visiting me twice today! Much appreciated.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Perspycacious: Thanks for the votes. I totally agree about the joy of writing. It's in my blood and I hardly ever stop!


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

B Leekley: I agree entirely. No such word as 'can't'; usually it's 'can't be bothered' or 'I'm scared'.

Thank you for your kind words and advice regarding the author of the fiction. She's a very busy mother of 3 and she works so has very little time; it was a requisite for a course so she had no choice but was surprised at what she achieved and it has given her a boost. I appreciate your support.

Thanks, too, for your compliments about the hub. Well done to you for organising a church event - not an easy task to carry out well. I'm sure it was a satisfying exercise in the end!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

what a wonderful hub encourages and offers useful information.. a good story too thanks for sharing... Frank

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Hi DJ! Sometimes the bottom of the barrel drags up some real gems that have remained hidden; never give up! Glad you like this and thanks for the comments on the story. I kept telling her people would like it!

Looking forward to reading some of your work; I'm still catching up. The trouble is, once you let a couple of days pass it takes ages to go through all the emails!

Good to see you; thanks for popping in today.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Hi Chris! I too remember being terrified to push that 'publish' button but then the 'what the heck' attitude kicked in and off I went, never looking back. It's always that first leap.

Thanks for the comment on the story. Always good to have you drop by, Chris.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Kamalesh: Thank you for your kind words and support. Encouragement to have a go was what I always instilled into my students; once they had confidence they realised they could try anything!

Best wishes to you too,


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 22 months ago from New York

Believing in ourselves gives us confidence. You've certainly outlined reasons why we should. The story about the beach is beautifully done and so descriptive it takes us there. Your friend is certainly a writer with great talent, just as this is a hub of great encouragement.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 22 months ago

Voted up. this was a great hub to put everything in perspective.

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 22 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Up and Awesome.

A joy of writing is that the writer can be anywhere, doing anything, with anyone, and saying anything the characters seem to want to say, and then choose the way to wrap it up, from among all the people, places, events, and outcomes the author can create.

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 22 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Such statements as I can't write fiction, I can't play the piano, I can't play drums, I can't sing, I can't draw, I can't cook, and so on are rarely true. A toddler can press down keys on a piano. Someone who "can't cook" can heat a hot dog. Usually can't do it really means can't do it well or can't do it masterfully. The newborn, the comatose, and the very ill or disabled can't do some of those things at all. About everyone else can do them with varying degrees of mastery and with room for improvement.

No matter where on the continuum of mastery one is regarding a particular art, the question is ever: Is my keen desire to do it and to get ever better at it stronger than my aversion to the bother of doing it. I don't love piano playing enough for practicing to be worth the bother. I do love fiction writing enough to keep trying, year after year, to write a saleable story. If I do ever achieve that, I will strive to write even better stories.

"The Beach" is a very well written fictional description of a setting. Being able to describe a setting as an imaginary character experiences it is an important aspect of short story and novel writing.

I urge your acquaintance to keep writing imaginative works -- prose sketches, fictional stories, essays, whatever -- and to strive for mastery of the crafts of writing through practice, through study of "how to" books and articles, and through reading masterful story writers.

This hub is also excellent, with much truth in it. It struck a chord in me. I recently made a breakthrough from "I'll muddle through but am no good at that" to "I did it and did it well" (in this case, organizing an event at church), and that achievement has lifted me to a higher level of confidence in general.

profile image

DJ Anderson 22 months ago

Can you bottle that stuff so I can get a daily dose?

Girl, I've been scraping the bottom of the barrel, lately.

The story you shared, "The Beach" was amazing.

Thank you for putting things in perspective.

I appreciate your encouragement.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 22 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

Ann, thanks for the encouragement to keep trying at those things we feel insecure about. I remember being terrified the first time I put my cursor to the publish button for a fiction story here on HP. Terrifying. Thanks for sharing your friends piece of creative writing. It was very thought provoking.

Kamalesh050 profile image

Kamalesh050 22 months ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

An Exllent hub which is worth reading again and again. I fully agree, we must banish our negative thoughts and take a positive approach to know the unknown, to acquire and share knowledge as we go along with a mind full of zeal and optimism - A bold and genuine endeavour will help us gain confidence in ourselves which in turn make it easier for us to accomplish tasks to our satisfaction. You have written the article brilliantly! Voted Up & Awesome.Best Wishes, Kamalesh

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Shyron, thank you for your lovely words. I'm glad you enjoyed my little hub and I much appreciate your votes etc.

Blessings to you too,


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Kevin, for your great comment. She's going to be really pleased with all the comments on her story! I appreciate your votes too and I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Good to see you.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Dora, for your lovely words. I'll pass on your comments to the author of the story.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 22 months ago

Ann, this is a fantastic, I have enjoyed this very much.

everybody needs confidence.

Voted up, UABI and shared.

Blessings and Hugs to you

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 22 months ago

Lovely Ann. You did a great job and your friend wrote a swell story. If I knew how it was done I would definitely share and pin this besides voting it up+++. I pinned a photo and we will see what that does.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 22 months ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for your encouragement in this article. Your friend has a great assistance in building self-confidence. Best to her and to you, going forward!

annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Harishprasad: Well, thank you so much for your wonderful words. I'm glad you enjoyed this and you're so right about the positive mind-set; it works wonders. Thanks for taking the time to contribute here today.


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Thanks, bill, for your kind words. I know you agree with me on this subject; you have to spread your wings to fly!

This peaceful camp site is inspiring, it's true. I'm hoping to publish one more today; depends if I can sort the photos out in time.

You have a great day too, bill!


annart profile image

annart 22 months ago from SW England Author

Yes, that's it John. Once we take that first big leap then we learn that it's usually worth it and mistakes only give us a bigger learning curve.

Thanks for reading and for your kind comments and input. Always good to see you.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 22 months ago from India

Annart, words have such a powerful impact on our psyche. Positive words build us but negative words hinder us. We should give more emphasis to positive words. Once we develop a positive mind-set, we are not afraid of criticism or ridicule.

You have beautifully described how children learn from their mistakes and improve their speech and acts. Another wonderful gem on display is a fantastic story named " The Beach" written by your friend. What more one needs to get inspired and encouraged ? You have poured it all into a single vessel. A great hub indeed and to be read by billions of people.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

Well if that doesn't inspire a few people today then their hearts aren't beating. Bravo! I'm ready to go, Ann, or as one song says "put me in, coach."

So, what do you do for an encore when your latest is brilliant????

Have a splendid day creating.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 22 months ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderful hub Ann. We can sometimes be reluctant to try something different especially if others will see or read because we don't want to risk failure or to look foolish. Once we take a risk and find out we can actually do something we gain a lot more confidence and usually get the urge to test ourselves even more. I can definitely relate. Your friend's story is very good. Thanks for sharing.

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