I was seven years old. The first book I ever wrote was about two frogs who had a broken chair. I remember being so proud of that short story, and that's where my #writing began.
I haven't stopped since.
Throughout my younger years, my writing went up and down. I wrote a couple of short books, a lot of one page stories, and filled notebooks with article and story prompts. Through these I laughed, but I also cried. Writing is fun, but it isn't always easy. There is this lovely thing called 'writer's block' that will make your hand freeze over the paper or keyboard. You will wish you had never even laid eyes on a pencil. So why should you put yourself through this and make yourself cry?
It is the most fun I've ever had.
And, in 2008, I started the craziest thing I have ever done in my life that I still don't understand why I did it. I started writing a novel.
Before writing my current 54k word manuscript, I had tried writing longer books before. I made it to a combined total of 50k words on a series about a pirate.
But listen carefully. I learned this the hard way. Make sure you have back-ups of your work, and not have it saved to only one computer. I wrote this pirate series on a Windows XP computer tower, and the thing suddenly died. I lost over 100 pages worth of stories, notes, and drafts.
To this day I still cry when I think about it. This is also why I have my drafts on two laptops, a thumb drive, a printed copy, and I have it saved to Google docs. I will not be losing this one.
Learning about backing up my work was a big help in my writing. It helped me stay conscience of what I was doing, and also gave me ways to plan and get around writer's block. Planning is a huge part of embarking on the novel-writing journey.
Around this time, I had become obsessed with things like #PiratesoftheCaribbean, hence the story about pirates, and also the #LordoftheRingsTrilogy. I studied the books by #Tolkien in school, and learned about how much he had put into these stories.
That's when I stopped just word-vomiting in my notebook and made a plan for myself. I drew maps and wrote character biographies for each place and person in my story. I wanted to make sure I had no discrepancies in my writing. It would just get confusing later when I couldn't remember how long it should really take the protagonist to get from Chavol to Alecpandia, two cities in my novel.
Not only did I find writing easier when I had these things in front of me, it was also helpful after I wrote an outline for my story and planned how I wanted the story to end.
This is something I did in this awesome writing program called Scrivener. I love this program and it helped me a lot as I started working on the second draft of my novel. I have always had a hard time writing outlines. It is really just not how I work.
But in a novel, I learned an outline is important for keeping things straight, and it helps keep the overall flow. That is where this writing program helped me.
It helped me get through the writer's block I had for two years.
TWO WHOLE YEARS.
College killed my creativity. All that brain power went into Biology class and psychology. It was so difficult to start up again after those two years.
How did I do it?
In my personal experience, writer's block grabs me by the shirt collar, and proceeds to throw me against the wall over and over again. After I walk away for a moment, I usually feel like this:
Like I said, it isn't always easy. I have had to word-vomit on a page, just write whatever comes to mind and not worry about it, until I get past the writer's block. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. Very few people have actually read my manuscript. Sure, I show off the stack of 200 pages where I am editing, but I have a hard time showing it off. The main cause of my writer's block is my internal editor. This is why writing whatever comes to mind usually helps me get past it. I have to turn off my internal editor.
It helps, and also drinking lots of caffeine. I am a coffee drinking machine.
However, even after all of the pain and tears, I know it was worth it. How do I know that?
Because finishing my first draft was the best feeling in the world. It took me six years, but I barreled through writer's block, distraction in college, and writing a second short unfinished novel.
It has been one heck of a ride, but I am glad I did it. Writing has changed my life. It has become a huge part of who I am. It is my stress-reliever and helped me through difficult times in my life. Having something this huge finished gave me a sense of accomplishment and told me that I am capable of big things.
Now, I am editing this manuscript, and I hope to finish it by the end of next year.
Sources: Literature and Latte