When I was a small girl, I was so desperately lacking in confidence I was almost invisible.
Inside, was an assertive, ambitious, curious child, but in a crowd I was the last to shout up, to the cool gang an outsider and an easy target.
I was shy to the point of mute. ￼
But I had a great deal to say.
So I wrote it down.
My voice developed through words on a page, first through tentative stories for school, an early attempt at a novel.
With only a few, equally unforthcoming friends, I learned about life and socialised through the pages of the books I constantly, voraciously, obsessively, read.
My real friends were the characters of Malory Towers, Robinson Crusoe and Gerald Durrell.
I learned about the dance of the sexes through the outdated but strangely still applicable worlds of Jane Austen.
I read anything, however age inappropriate and intense, quickly – always hungry for more and eager to move to the next.
Words were my security blanket and as I developed a vocabulary, reading ability and general knowledge far superior to my peers,
I was eventually able to come out of my shell and realise that confidence comes with learning.
It was not an easy transition from shy girl to woman. The shy girl is sometimes still there.
But now I’ve been on stage, been on telly, I’m regularly on radio without a qualm.
I write columns, I write novels, I write news.
Words, as a journalist and a person, are my bread, my butter.
My walls are lined with books, I crave a story as a chocoholic craves pudding. Something just as important to me as a journalist – because when the story is factual and true it is even more compelling.
I’m never going to be the loudest in any room, but I don’t need to be, I have the confidence to make what I say matter.
All thanks to words.
* Nicola will be speaking at the What’s your story, Chorley? reading, writing and storytelling festival on Saturday at 11am in Chorley library. For schedule go to the What’s Your Story, Chorley? 2017 events page on Facebook.