Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Can I Give Up Writing? #IWSG #novelist #aspiringwriter
#IWSG Asks: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

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...

Countless hours of my life I've devoted to something that for many years I just considered a hobby. Now, that I've finally breached that invisible wall, becoming a published author
Photo courtesy of Ash Krafton
myself, I believe it would be such as waste to let it all go when life gets tough.

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.  

Be sure to check out other writers in the Insecure Writers' Support Group!


  1. The fact that your soul craves writing says so much. You're willing to do it no matter if you have to get a "real" job, etc. means you are tough. Keep at it! :)

  2. Needing money is such a pesky hindrance to being a full-time writer. That's one reason why I can't imagine quitting my day job. I also can't imagine stop being a writer either. :)

  3. My first attempt was also a portal world! I hear that's pretty common actually, though I was in my late 20s not 15! I wrote fiction when I was 12 and 13 which I'm sure is a real treat to read now. haha. Great idea though to keep close those memories of your early passion for writing.

    Here's my August IWSG post on my first novel attempt (note I said ATTEMPT). YA Author Stephanie Scott IWSG August

  4. The title of your post kind of scared me. I'm glad that your optimism prevails. It's good to be able to look back and see all the progress you've made as a writer, and yes: it would be a shame to throw all that away.

  5. Writing a book at 15 is awesome! I remember that high too, when I was writing my first book (in my 20s). I thought it was just spectacular. (it...really wasn't) =)

  6. What a thrill to finish an 80k word book! Many people write full-time, have a full-time job that pays the bills, plus a family. I don't know how they do it. A friend of mine (Nancy Gideon, who told me about IWSG) gets up at 5am to write before her full time job. You do what you have to do.

  7. Beautifully put! I wrote my first novel at 25 or an agent at 39, saw my first book on the shelves at 43. Those are a LOT of years of not giving up, so I figure I'm in this for life!