I wrote my first completed novel when I was 15 years-old. It was summer vacation. One morning, I woke up from a particularly vivid dream. As per usual, I grabbed a notebook and scribbled down the details of my dream. Throughout the day, the dream kept growing in my imagination. Later, I sat at the desk with my dad's Tandy computer, opened a file and began typing the monster that would become my gateway into the writing world.
I finished that sucker in a week!
An entire week that I barely ate nor slept. I was hooked on this incredible high that I never felt before, this addiction to get the images in my head onto printed paper. There was a movie in my brain filled with quirky characters, lush settings and a complicated plot along with amazing twists.
Of course, at the time, I barely knew what the word plot meant. I knew nothing...absolutely nothing...about the writing craft. I was an avid reader, however, and I let the storytelling part of my brain guide me. This book was written with gut instinct, nothing more.
Suffice it to say, I keep this novel buried deep in the catacombs of my hard-drive.
Every so often, I come across the file during some obscure search and I open it to gaze lovingly at the adventurous fantasy that I wrote during my writing infancy.
The story was a 80,000 word novel about a young woman who went camping with her friends one summer. During their hike through the woods, they were sucked into a portal leading them to an alternate dimension. In that world of kings and queens, healers and sorcerers, warriors and heroes, this group of friends was plunged into a war against an evil mage and his mistress. Although the villains had gained control of the kingdom, there was a group of warriors who continued to fight to free their captured land and bring the rightful rulers back to the throne. The young woman played a key role in a prophecy that was foretold about the days of reuniting the kingdom and bringing peace to the land.
I have ventured to re-write it only once. Maybe I will again some day. For now, it remains the unseen novel that awoke the desire in my soul to create with the written word.
This particular question from #IWSG comes at an opportune moment for me. At times (like this year!), life gets tough, money is scarce and I think that in order to feed my family I need to give up writing and get a real job. After all, as many people know there is no guarantee of financial success for writers. Very few make it to where they can quit their day job. And I have bills to pay just like any other person. My family relies on me to take care of them. Tough times like those happening recently make me wonder about my life's choices. Maybe I should quit writing and go back into retail management. Maybe I should go to college or trade school to get a degree for something with a guaranteed paycheck.
After all, do I really have what it takes to make it to financial success with my writing?
During these times of doubt and despair, I try to remember one thing...
How many other people finished an 80,000 word novel in a week when they were 15?
I've learned so much about writing since then. Twenty years worth of knowledge from attending workshops and conferences, reading books about the writing craft, asking authors for advice, reading published novels and dissecting them one chapter at a time to see how the author worked at piecing it together, and researching, researching, researching...
|Photo courtesy of Ash Krafton|
This too shall pass. Life goes on. And I'll keep writing.
Because, truly, my soul craves it. I love writing. I need it. Honestly, after all these years, I really don't know how to live without writing in my life.
If I have to get a day job, I'll still write. If I never publish another book ever again, I'll still write.
And that is why, I'll never give up.
Thank you, #IWSG, for reminding me how I began this writing journey.
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