“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
I’ve often told my teachers that the time I chose to be a writer was during High School, when I chose to take a Creative Writing course from a nearby occupational-school. That somehow, I miraculously found my love of writing when words began sprouting from blank pieces of paper, and that the white walls, table and white people in this classroom sowed the seed of passion and desire to become a writer. Perhaps it was the words of Stephen King, in his book On Writing, which shoved this thought into my head, and stirred it into a riot, now prancing in my mind like a stampede of angry bull. Maybe I was just thrilled I could create something.
In all honesty, I don’t really know.
I do not have the same inspiring story as the budding writer Stephen King. I did not end up selling things I wrote in school for pocket change. I never came up to my mother with my stories and bathed myself in praise. In fact, the extent of my writing career was my Diary back in elementary school. Now, I often flip through the pages, picking fun at my horrible grammar and scraggle drawings that I would include with each entry. Back then, all I would seem to worry about was whether I would get the extra Friday Recess in the rare occasion I was able to complete all my assignments that week in school. The funny thing was, I was never in it for the extra recess, apparently, back then, I was more interested in those old Bionicle toys. I was particularly interested in these villain type characters that could roll into a ball.
I know nothing of the Bionicle storyline, and I never did. I think my interest sparked from when I used to play with a neighborhood kid who had the same type. When I was playing on my own, I would love to give the different colors different personalities, the angry one being the red one, the nicest one being the blue one, etc., and they would often go to bed just so I could tuck their webbed arms and army-tank-tread feet against their bodies. In all reality, as a child, I role-played more than I wrote.
This does not mean that I never wrote stories, though it took me a while to even start. It wasn’t until my melodramatic tween middle school years that stories began to unfold in my school notebooks. I remember there was one about a purple girl, one store I made into a comic about a princess who is engaged to a man who apparently had 3 kids and had never told her, and blah blah blah. In general though, these children stayed in my notebook. It wasn’t like I wasn’t proud of them, but I never had any need to share them, they were MY stories.
I think you get my point, yes? If I was ever considered a writer when I was young, I was a closet writer.
I bet there are a lot of writers out there who could tell me the same thing. I doubt all of us had this undying desire to write and share it with the world when we were still playing with Furbies and Barbies. Does that mean you aren’t cut out to be a writer? Not at all! Writing is certainly a daunting task, but never impossible. Don’t believe me? Here is 3 reasons why I think YOU can write a novel.
“Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.” Benjamin Spock
There are a million reasons not to write, and we all inwardly groan whenever our friends so KINDLY remind us of how unlikely this vocation is. This takes me back to my senior night in high school, when I proudly strode onto the stage while my band teacher announced my intended major: English Writing. I wanted to revel in the moment, and I remember looking into the crowd, self-conscious, of course, but proud that I knew what I wanted to do. Then, the senior next to me, a music major, turned to my direction and whispered “Get ready for no-money, because there’s none of it out there for people like us.”
I remember steaming because of that kid, even if he was a friend of mine. I had chosen this major because I wanted to, and I knew right then and there he was underestimating me. I would show him!
I say the same thing with you. If you know in your heart that you want to be a writer, trust yourself. Trust God. He placed the thought, the desire, and this love in you for a reason. No one would be pursuing this career if it were simply for the money and the fame. We would not be taking the hard way if that was our true goal. Even if the path is an unsure one, trust your instincts, your gut, you know more than you think.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Phillip Pullman
Stories are a fundamental part of life, they brings conversations to life, rekindle smoky memories and bring light into the eyes of children. An example of this was when I used to babysit this spunky kid who would drag me around everywhere. Being the boring adult I was, I didn’t want to go everywhere, so I decided to drag the kid to his room, and began to tell superhero stories. It was hook, line and sinker. Our original hero, ‘Green Boy’ turned into ‘Pink Girl’ and ‘Black Boy’ and I would weave stories of the multi-colored heroes, and keep him interested for at least half an hour. Enough time for me to sit down and refill my play-meter.
Stories are powerful things. Whether it’s reading before bedtime or keeping a monster boy at bay, stories are often something that can be our best friend. You know the best part of it all? We all have a story inside of us. Human beings may share 99% of our DNA with everyone else, but we sure do not share the same memories, sometimes we don’t even recollect the memories we shared with friends who were at the same event. No matter where you’re coming from, you have loads of stories and characters stocked up in that head of yours.
“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.” Neil Gaiman
One of my favorite writing moments is when I feel like material is pouring out of me. Both time and words fly together and a wonderful harmony of feeling useful and artistic sprouts from within me. Sure, there will be bad days, and that blank screen may seem like the monster under the bed sometimes, uncertain and considerably ugly. However, if you’ve ever been in a working relationship, you probably know this: there will always be ups and downs, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Writing is going to be like your lover. It will court you, cook you a fancy dinner with scented candles, sweep you off your feet and kiss you passionately. It will go on trips, and stow away its possessions in suitcases if you neglect it, and will hate you if you mistreat it. It will fart and burp and gross you out, and then, when you’re trying to raise the kids, sometimes it’s going to make you go quiet the baby in the middle of the night, even if it was your turn. That’s life. It’s not a walk in the park, but my question is, when is it ever?
I’m now about 6,000 words into my novel, and there have been days where I’ve had to scrape myself off of Facebook, and choke myself on my own bad storytelling. But, I’m now looking at over 20, not novel sized, pages of writing, and gosh, I’m trumpeting my joy to the Lord. When you can finally immerse yourself into a novel, and feel it come together, each page becomes a beautiful petal that will either be plucked, or pop beautifully out of its stem. It’s worth it when you finally take that first step: making the title, the characters, etc.
If you decide to write a novel, I say this, GO FOR IT! Good luck!
BOOK GIVEAWAY: For anyone who posts/shares/recommends this blog on another site, like facebook, twitter, a writer’s group, etc., will have a chance to win Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb!
Make sure to COMMENT on this blog with a link to where you shared it! The Deadline is by July 20th!
Want a peak? Here’s its Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Shamans-Crossing-Book-Soldier-Trilogy/dp/0060758287
See you next week!