Believe in yourself – Portia MacIntosh

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By Portia MacIntosh

One piece of advice that is often given out is to simply: believe in yourself. Whether it is to do with writing, singing or playing cricket. If you want to do something, you just have to believe in yourself, right? Wrong, of course. If you want to succeed at something you have to have talent, you have to practice and you’ve got to work hard. ♥

You do have to believe in yourself as well though…

When I was at school, I kind of just blended into the background. I didn’t stand out for good or bad reasons, I just did my work as best I could, kept my head down, and counted down the days before I could leave, so I didn’t have to spend my time around horrible kids anymore, because if there’s one kid the horrible kids love to pick on, it’s the quiet one lacking in confidence.

It wasn’t just my fellow pupils who didn’t think I was up to much, some of my teachers didn’t have any faith in me either.

I remember my GCSE English creative writing piece, and how it came back to me, with line upon line of red pen. My teacher didn’t think creative writing was for me, she didn’t like that I used dialogue to tell my story. I was so proud of it, but she told me she didn’t like it. I stuck to it, and I got a great grade.

Similar happened with my GCSE Media teacher who, after reading a magazine article I had wrote (a biographical piece on a celebrity), told me she didn’t believe I had wrote it, because it was very good.

Who could have blamed me, after these two instances so close together, if I decided that writing wasn’t for me? These professionals discouraged me, and they knew best, right? Again, wrong.

Instead of listening to them, I stuck to my guns and I carried on writing. I believed in my work, when people who supposedly knew better than me didn’t, and here I am, with eight books published so far.

My point is that, sure, you have to be good at what you want to do, and you have to keep working on it and get better at it, evolving to adapt to new trends and listening out for what readers want, but you do have to believe in yourself – sometimes, you might be the only person who does, but who knows what you’re capable of better than you, right?


Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Her latest novel, How Not to be a Bride, is out now.

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