On the subject of writing

Today, someone found out that I’m a writer, and I was asked, “Do you only have this one book, or do you have plans for a sequel?” I answered honestly. I told her that I have a decade’s worth of stories to tell. And I do, I really do. I can’t imagine not being able to write- it’s such a part of me, as much as thinking and breathing.

She also asked me how I started writing, if I’d done it ever since I was a kid. My answer was something along the lines of “I ran out of books to read,” but there is so much more to it than that. It’s true that I started writing because I ran out of books to read. No easy feat considering my room looks like a library. Plus I think I’ve read the library. I’ve even read my parent’s old college textbooks, on occasions of extreme boredom. (Sad, but true.) It got really bad when I couldn’t get my hands on any new books. There are only so many times you can reread a book in a year, no matter how much you like said book.

When I started writing, I was in elementary school. I still remember the first story I ever read. “The Day Pencils Attacked” Not even kidding. It was about exactly what you would think after reading the title. Still to this day, I can’t remember why exactly I wrote that story. Boredom? Who only knows what went through the mind of my seven year old self. But that story sparked it all. I can’t remember writing anything interesting until middle school though. Granted, my fourth and fifth grade teacher made us write everyday. We had a quota on how many stories we had to turn in at the end of each month. (A horrible idea in my mind. Creativity should not be forced.)

In middle school, I started writing fan fictions. Mostly because I didn’t like anything original that I came up with. I won’t even tell you how many reincarnations of “Pencils” happened. That number is just way too embarrassing. It was seventh grade when I finally got the idea that became Starling. I don’t remember where I was when I got the idea, and I don’t know if it was a dream or a daydream. I only remember getting this image burned into my head that haunted me. It wasn’t going to let me rest until I told it’s story. The story of a young girl with silver hair and pale skin glowing and looking up at the night sky, the sky where there were no stars. And there should have been. This girl was sad, unbearably so, and I wanted to know why. I quickly pulled out paper, but no matter how many times I tried to write the story behind the image, tried to write Starling, I couldn’t. It was frustrating and after the seventh or eighth try, I gave up, shoving the thirty or so handwritten pages into my filing cabinet. I’m really glad I did give up on that version. I didn’t know where I wanted to go with the story line, and I definitely had no idea who that young girl was. In those versions, she was some demented little Tinkerbell-thing. Not that I have anything wrong with Tinkerbell, it just wasn’t who the girl was supposed to be like. It frustrated me to no end that I couldn’t write this story. I knew that if I could just get the beginning right, the rest of her story would just fall in place. But I couldn’t get the beginning, and so I gave up for a time. I mean, I thought about it all the time, but I never tried to write it.

Not until tenth grade anyways. Not until my English teacher assigned a project where we had to write a three page minimum epic. Not until I got lazy with said project and used Starling instead of an original idea. Best idea ever. After much procrastination on my part, I sat down with this ginormous yellow steno notepad and started writing. Before I knew it, I had fifteen some odd pages and I didn’t want to stop. I had found my beginning. And I suddenly found the words to write my story laid out at my feet. That doesn’t mean it was easy. No, far from it! I spent the next three years laboring on that. I knew where I was going, but I often didn’t know how I was going to get there. But I finally finished that story, I finally told why the girl was so sad, and who she even was. And it most certainly wasn’t Tinkerbell.

I’m glad I wrote it. I poured my heart into that story. I wrote because it was fun, because I needed to, because I wanted to share it, and because I had nothing better to do than schoolwork. I write for myself, but I also want to see my writing mean something to others. I’ve poured so much of myself into those words and pages. I wrote when I was happy and angry, sad and lonely, or jolly and excited. I wrote so that I could share what is so important about life, and family, and the power of a good book.

I promise, the day I see Starling on a bookshelf, all bound and pretty, I will cry. I will look like a fool with a runny red nose and puffy eyes, but I will cry. Because I am proud and happy. Because I can say I’ve finally done it. Because my life’s work (or half of it so far anyways) will be sitting on a bookshelf where anyone can pick it up and read it. It’s a scary thing, sharing a story with the world, but it is also exhilarating. And I can’t imagine my life without writing.

So yes, I do plan on writing more. Starling‘s written, but then there’s Crystal, Homesick, Metamorphosis, Despair, Hunted, Sanctuary, and who only knows how many more? And yes, I have written since I was a kid, just not like most would think. And yes, I love every moment of it. Every frustrating, bang-head-on-wall, exhilarating, exciting, tear-jerking, emotional moment of it.

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