If anybody asks me what I do for a living I answer, “I am a writer.” I have never been published, but to me that fact doesn’t make my statement any less true. I write any spare moment I get, which lately has been all day every day, but I won’t get into the specifics of why that is just now.
I’m 20 years old, with no job, and as of right now, only one path lies ahead of me. Writing is what I’ve always done according to my memory. I write for fun. I write to improve my mood. I write as a hobby. Hopefully, one day I will write as a career. I write anything from Fanfiction, to poetry, to novels. Well, I’ve only ever written one novel in my life and that’s where the story to this post begins. As a 20-year-old woman, I am confident in my writing. I may not always like what I write, but I am self-assured enough that I keep writing and I tell anybody who will listen that I write or that I’m currently working on a project. Most of my projects have never gotten very far since that first finished draft and I think I am unable to complete a story now because of what happened to the first one I ever penned.
I am a fan of Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. If you haven’t read them yet, or have thought you wouldn’t want to I highly encourage you to bump it up on your reading list or change your mind about reading them. The Divergent series is a fantastic read I’m still not emotionally over the story they depicted. Anyway, moving on… I was wandering around Veronica’s blog earlier reading through her FAQ’s and saw an answer from her that hit home.
The question: How long have you been writing?
Veronica’s answer: Since I was too old to play pretend, so: about 12 years.
Now, I say that I have been writing as far back as I can remember. When I think about it, truly think back, I remember being vigorously immersed in the writing life when I was 12. My memory before that draws up a blank when I try to remember if I was writing any earlier. If I wrote when I was younger than 12 it must have been small experiments, a toe dipped into the world of writing, and so, I do not remember.
When I was a 12-year-old girl I was highly isolated. I had no friends, my siblings were too young at the time to care, and my mom, well… she worked two or three jobs my whole life so I can understand that she didn’t see how I rarely ever left my room. You can imagine they type of person an isolated 12 year old is. I was incredibly shy, easily confused, had no social skills. However, I was extremely opinionated, stubborn, strong willed, and curious. The only material I had available to me to satisfy my curiosity, to learn about the world and people were the books I read and the shows I watched.
So, even with everything I watched and everything I read I still had no outlet to ask questions or share my findings. Naturally, I did the only thing I could. I wrote. My writings came out in the form of stories, because that’s what I knew. The more I read the more I wrote and the more I grew to love it and to this day I have never stopped.
During those days of isolation, I concocted a story, one of adventure, longing, sadness, lies, and victory. I wrote by hand on pieces of notebook paper after pieces of notebook paper. My penmanship then (and now) was neat and small, but I wrote the story not caring about my hand crapping or my legs falling asleep from sitting cross legged on my bedroom floor for hours. Before I knew it the story was done and I had over 200 hand written pages of a story of my own making.
But not a soul knew what I was doing, I was teased so much for liking to read or wanting to be on my own that I couldn’t share this new treasure of mine with anybody. I COULDN’T! I was afraid that they would take this away from me too and so I kept it hidden. Being the insecure little girl that I was I selfishly held onto the story. I hid it away and moved on to other projects. I quickly became interested in poetry after that. I have no correct memory of that timeline, but I do know once I considered it safe I pulled out the story once more and read over it.
I had read more than enough to know that what I had written was terrible and I, with no experience on such things, knew that I could never discuss it, never share it with another soul. I was so disgusted at the terribleness of my own writing I got rid of the very thing I spent so much time lovingly putting to paper. I threw away the pages angry with myself for getting my hopes up and letting my own self-down. I’ve regretted that action ever sense so deeply that it sometimes brings nightmares.
I’ve never finished a story since then. Idea after idea rolls through my head, but nothing ever makes it past the first few chapters. Years and years ago I tried several times to rewrite that finished story, but I couldn’t remember exactly who the characters were, or the adventure they went on, or the order of scenes and so I abandoned the task a few more times.
A few months ago I made a drastic change to my life. One that hasn’t fully registered in my mind yet, I believe. But I made it and it was the first daring choice I’ve ever made in my life. For once I wasn’t playing it safe and I made a decision purely based on my deepest wants and not worrying about any other factor. It felt so amazing to not second guess any choice of mine because of how it might affect others. That may sound like I’m a bad person, I’m not. I promise. I knew the choice I made would confuse my family, and make them ask questions, but it only affected them secondhand and that’s why I chose to do what I did without considering anything that might get in the way of what I truly wanted.
A few months after this life changing choice was made I became inspired to write the one story that has forever haunted me. I’ve been exhuming the story I wrote and discarded when I was 12 for about a month now and it has been one of the best, most frustrating experiences of my life. From the very beginning I knew it was nothing like it’s original, but I’ve grown and I’ve learned since my younger self and I now know that it doesn’t have to be. Through the years the story has changed and grown as I have and is ready to be written the way it was always meant to be, by someone who is confident about what she wants and what she writes and not afraid to tell the world about it.
Here I am, a month into the story and the words and pages are mounting once more. I can feel the story reawakening and rising with my very soul. This is going to be an experience of a lifetime. And I’m hoping I can keep you all updated as my time with this exhumation continues.