I'm not sure when it was that I decided I wanted to write professionally, but I remember that the moment I realized it, everything changed. Gone were the days of simply wanting to tell a story. Replacing it was the need to tell the right story--- the story that mattered, the story that would change its reader for better or for worse.
I remember my fourth grade year, writing a "book" to amuse my friends. They were the cast, their lives highly exaggerated, and I was the puppeteer pulling the strings, trying to move them along with this new girl I created and force them into a world where they weren't exactly the stars. For the first time ever, I'd seen something through from beginning to end. I saw it in chapters and in words and in a hilarious way. I won many a callus writing the entire thing out by hand.
And even though I can't remember when it hit me, I woke up one day and decided I wanted to be an author. Not a writer. An author. I had been a writer since grade two when I wrote poems on the backs of my arithmetic tests, and penned short narratives for my friends in grade four. Heck. I was a writer (or a story teller which is what a writer is in their simplest form) when my friend Stephanie and I kept up the hugest (fictional) story of both of us attending an after school program called G.E.M.S. We piggy-backed off of one another on a weekly basis, retelling our adventures to anyone who was unfortunate enough to try to engage in our conversations. I wanted to move beyond writing. I wanted writing to be my craft, and story-telling to be my art. I wanted to be an author, and I wanted to be good at it. So I didn't sit back and wait for author to happen to me; I went out there in the big bad world and learned how to do it.
What I learned right away were the following three things: you don't have to be an adult to be an author, you have to write to be an author, and there are two types of authors--- published and unpublished.
Currently, I'm unpublished. Do I want to be published one day? Absolutely. That's the goal, I'm not going to lie, but I realize that in order to reach that goal, I had to actually write a book first. So I did. And I liked how that went so I wrote another one. And then I liked how that went and re-read the first one. It was terrible. I went back to the beginning and started from scratch, revamping a story I cherished and cared for and although it's better, it either A.) needs professional help or B.) should forever hold its peace.
And seriously, that's alright. Everything I've written has come to be because I wanted to write it. I didn't set a word to paper that, at one point, I wasn't absolutely proud of. I've just grown A LOT from point A (wanting to be an author) to point B (actually becoming one). Am I good at it? I'll be honest and say that's for the reader to decide. I've had people read and love my stuff, and others read and hate it. And since I simply write for my own sanity, what do I know about the quality? I make it a point not to compare myself to other authors because what I write is what I write. I KNOW it's not perfect, but it's a reflection of me. I'm not perfect, it's not perfect, and, for now, I'm okay with that. Like I do in my own life, I review, I analyze, I spot the problem, and I make a couple of changes. There's no harm in being wrong the first time as long as the second time around, we're definitely getting better and one step closer to amazing.
The truth is, the journey to finding myself here at Author Type II (the unpublished) has lead me directly and incidentally to finding me. I was looking for something, I think, in the realm of fiction to help me hide away from the things of the world around me, but, as with all good things, it lead me straight back around to the heart of what I was running from and made me face it, head on. I had to take a hard look at the things that were surrounding me and the person I was turning into because of circumstance and weak knees and I had to pull out a pen and show myself what was going on. In a way, I had to look at myself through the mirror. I had to use my words to see what was happening to me.
I think I'm just thankful to language, itself, for giving us an outlet--- a way to say what we mean and express how we feel. But I've always been thankful that writing kind of found me, because it's saved me from myself, from those ruts others talk about, and, ultimately, from being someone else. It's weird to say "I like myself," but I do. I like who I am. And I found all that through my quest for sanity; and I found sanity through a mess of words that let me untangle them long enough to see the light of day.
I hope writing's done something just as magical for you. I can't express how much I love hearing great stories about how words have changed someone's life, so if you have a tale for me, feel free to leave it in the comments.
'Til next time, Bloggers,