But I’m never going to be a writer
No, I really did say that. For years.
Feel free to take a moment to laugh. I’ll just be over here dropping my head against my work table with a loud, hollow ‘thunk’ and watching my dog freak out and my cats re-index my level of insanity. It’s fun.
(If you are familiar with me at all, including just reading almost any randomly-chosen paragraph from this blog, you are entirely justified in any laughter this post prompts.)
Yes. I did indeed deny that I could ever be a writer. Not because I had anything against it – far from it! I was such a voracious reader (my mother first called me a bibliophage when I was six, and I adored the title, the idea of devouring books, and continue to do so now) and I loved the idea of being an author.
I just didn’t think I could ever do it. Not because of the things that daunt me now – or, mostly not – but because I really did think that I was not capable of coming up with ideas, much less putting them into anything coherent, much less on any kind of regular basis.
For reference, as of the publication of this post, I have written some form of fiction every single day for 2,215 days*, I have participated in seven National Novel Writing Months (and every session of Camp NaNo to date – ten), and written fanfiction for a rather alarming seventy-eight fandoms.
Granted, my early work, and even some of my stuff now? Getting the ideas out at all, much less into a coherent form is hard, damn it, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Much less into a form that is like unto what I saw in my head with the beginning of the idea.
The ideas, though? I may have some tricks for when inspiration is absent (and that’s a whole other ramble) but speaking in pure honesty, if I came up with no more ideas for the next . . . say, decade, and could somehow manage to get myself to write only the ideas I have had up to now?
. . .I still wouldn’t have finished them all inside of that ten years. Not even close, probably.
That is a very daunting realisation, but also a little reassuring to remind myself of on those days when it is simply impossible to make ideas happen. Of course, on the rare day I’ve written 10,000 words and realise how very many ideas are still waiting their turn to be written . . . I’m not sure if it is reassuring then.
Obviously my mother was a very wise woman, and she was – obviously – on to something with her supposition and gentle insistence that some day, honey I was going to be a writer.
Say, the fact that my favourite game – and yes, I managed to con the kids I babysat into this, on a regular basis – was what my mother coined ‘imagination games’. As you can imagine, this involves props, at least one person, though more as can be persuaded/conned/guilted into playing are convenient, and . . . whatever happens in your head.
There were complex storylines, though of very different stripes to what I played out with my Tub O’ Barbies. . .
For the Barbies, there was an Amazon tribe. There were politics. There was a resistance and attempts at a coup – more than once. There was continuity and back-story – and character development. Sub-plots.
. . .also a possible hint was how often I talked about the multitudes of books I devoured – and also talked about what I would change, what I liked, what I would combine, characters I would create or change or merge or kill off. . .
The fact that my mother never, ever said I told you so to me on this issue, even after a number of oh-so-tempting opportunities, is both amazing and shocking. I commend her for it and also wonder how badly she wanted to, but she never even said anything close.
Not even after I wrote my first short story (1st grade; it was a school project that ended in a hilariously ridiculous story), my first attempt at a novel (I was 13 – the fact that this is lost somewhere on a mostly-broken floppy disk is a very Good Thing; though somewhat surprisingly the basic plot was salvageable and is waiting to be rewritten), my first piece of written fanfiction (May of 2009; written at 3am, in fifteen minutes); or my first NaNoNovel (also 2009, my first serious writing project; I wrote over 65,000 words in 30 days, and loved – almost – every minute of it).
When it finally occurred to me that I could do this writing thing – or at least attempt it with some hope that I could come up with something worth writing, and possibly even reading – was actually not until that first NaNoWriMo.
I honestly don’t know what was going on in my head for all those years. Even when I said I would love to be an author some day, I never seriously indulged the thought that I could.
This also leads me to be rather enthusiastic whenever someone says to me the things that I said myself so many times. I have accidentally alarmed a few people this way, unfortunately (I am very much an introvert, but when I get passionate about things, I can be very, very animated, to the point of shocking people with the sudden changes).
I will hold back from delivering this impassioned encouragement here (also it would be difficult to induce artificially, I never do it on purpose) but a few points from it that I wish I could tell past-Serena would include:
❧ If you want to write, then try it – what reason is there not to do so?
❧ Why? What is keeping you from being a writer?
❧ If you think you would enjoy it, try it! (If you don’t, no one will make you keep doing it, but wouldn’t you rather see for yourself?)
❧ If you have a story to tell, any story, if you think to yourself ‘wouldn’t it be cool if. . .’ then yes, you could be a writer!
❧ And, of course, the simple and ever-popular never say never!
Because maybe not everyone would throw themselves into writing as the passion that I never realised I had (however I managed to keep from realising that for so very long, even while . . . many people told me I should try it) but if you have any desire to try any kind of creative endeavour, then you should absolutely not let the ‘but I’ll never. . .’ keep you from it.
And if you, like me, try it and absolutely adore it . . . well, congratulations! There is very little in this world as utterly wonderful (in my opinion) as finding and exploring and living in one of your passions!
. . .and may your family and friends be as restrained and kind as my mother, and only think ‘I told you so’.
*No, I am not quite that much of a geek, I did not know the number offhand. I simply did the math to calculate for the number of days. So . . . I am that much of a geek, at least.