Towards the end of my ninth grade year, in the spring of 2004, I decided I was going to write a book and get it published.
Not only that, I was going to write an entire series. I have always been a series girl. I spent most of middle school reading Harry Potter on a loop and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed my world. Now I was going to write my own fantasy.
I had written a lot in the past, but it had always been for fun. I never planned anything I wrote all that much, but this was different. I wasn’t just writing a story anymore, I was writing a book–the first in a series. Planning seemed like a good idea. After all, that’s how J.K. Rowling had worked. I got a whiteboard for my room and started planning my series. I planned for a year. By spring of my sophomore year, it was starting to come together. I had characters. I had a plot. I was close to being ready to write. I just had one more big plot arc to figure out. It was the plot that would run through the entire series. That year, I spent the first night of spring break in my room, brainstorming on my whiteboard.
I was at it for hours. I completely lost track of time. When I finished it was well after midnight. I remember looking at the board when I was finished and knowing this was it. This was my thing. This was my new way of life. It was exhilarating in a way that was addictive.
That feeling is why I write. If you found this blog, you know probably know what I’m talking about. That’s the feeling I’m always chasing. It’s what made me want to start writing, and it’s why I still write today.
So, that’s why I write, but why am I blogging?
I’ve been writing seriously for thirteen years now and one thing I’ve noticed is how easy it is for writers to get caught up in the doubt and rejection and fear and all the other negative aspects of writing. And I get it. I can be absolutely gutting. But I think when we put too much focus on the negative side, it makes it harder to celebrate and strive for the positives.
I was given a gift. I found writing when I was too young to realize that I was supposed to care if I was good or if someone else would like it. All I knew was I liked how it made me feel. That’s all I really cared about–the story and how writing it made me feel.
I think that because I started in such a pure and positive place, it was a lot easier to stay focused and build a life around those positives. I’m not going to say that a rejection or judgment has never gotten to me, but those moments have been few and far between, and they have never weighed me down.
I’ve realized that a major reason for this was that the entire time, what I cared most about was learning to tell my stories better. Every new tool I could add to my writing toolbox excited me. I learned to take feedback, but also keep my circle limited to those who saw what I was trying to do and could help me make my stories stronger. Every new direction or idea I explored gave me that feeling–the same one that captivated me when I was in tenth grade.
And because of that, I realized halfway through my journey that I will always be writing, and I will always be trying to get better–whether I ever got published or not. It simply makes me a happier and more complete person. It’s how I want to live my life.
This realization changed everything. Ironically, it took understanding I didn’t need to be published for me to know with absolute certainty that I would be someday. Because I knew if I was going to keep writing and keep learning, I would keep getting better. And if I was going to keep getting better, then I might as well keep trying to get published because why not? And if I kept trying, I had to believe at some point it would happen. Even if I had to wait until I was sixty, it would happen.
And because of that, rejection and negativity couldn’t touch me. I never wrote for anyone else’s approval. I wrote first and foremost to be happy and fulfilled. No form of rejection could ever take that feeling away from me.
I realize this won’t resonate with everyone, but if there’s a chance it can help another writer be more optimistic and undeterred then this is something I want to share. This philosophy has meant everything to me. It not only helped me reach my goals, but it also put me a good mental space to truly enjoy the process. The writers who don’t reach their goals are the ones who give up. I’d like to help you keep from giving up–and have a ton of fun along the way.
So please, take a look around! Sign up for my weekly newsletter so you don’t miss a post, and feel free to send me a message about what you’d like to see covered in the future. If you’d like to read more about my story, you can find that here. I hope I can help you.