How a Bunch of Ninjas Inspire Me to Keep Writing

For years, I doubted my storytelling skills, until a writing group helped me overcome my fear to hit publish.

Adrienne Parkhurst


Woman holding pen and writing in a journal.
Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

Since my Freshman year in college, the idea of being a good writer eluded me. I felt unprepared when I arrived on campus. My education fell short when compared to the suburban, rich kids at my liberal arts university.

I graduated from a small, rural high school, where many teachers taught from outdated, tattered manuals. I worked hard to earn good grades, but developed bad study-habits. In college, my tendency to procrastinate bit me in the ass — I got two C’s during my first semester.

Eventually, I figured out how to study (and drank lots of Diet Mountain Dew) and improved my grades. I’d like to say I kicked the procrastination habit, but I think I just got better at it. I graduated in four years with a good GPA. Yet, I always felt inadequate in my literature and writing classes. I never felt smart enough to be a real writer.

It’s been two decades (ouch!) since I graduated from college. Finally, I have the confidence to tell my stories. And I have a bunch of Ninjas to thank for it.

I felt like an imposter in college.

During my second semester, the university placed me in Expository Writing. Since all the jocks took this class, it was labeled easy. My big ego took a hit — I wanted to be in the advanced class with the smart freshman. But, my placement test results weren’t good enough.

My confidence plummeted. For the first time in my academic career, I feared I couldn’t succeed. I thought I didn’t measure up. And if I didn’t get better grades, I’d lose my scholarships.

At the end of the semester, my professor asked me to work for her in the Writing Center, a free tutoring resource for students.

I couldn’t believe it.

Huh? Me? Maybe she had to pick a work-study kid? But, this beats working in the cafeteria. So, sign me up Bobbi (that was her name).

I tutored other college students for three years, and felt like an imposter the whole time. I sat in staff meetings and listened to the other…



Adrienne Parkhurst

Mom. Wife. Writer. Editor. Healthcare Freelance Writer. Lifetime Learner. Flawed Leader. Sharing my life lessons through personal essays and memoirs.