As a child, I was always one of those avid readers. I remember when I was in third grade, I would hide a book underneath my desk and read while the teacher was giving lessons. I was caught in no time and my parents had to meet with the teacher due to my refusal to listen during class. That was back in the days when my family lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. In fifth grade, there was a competition to see which student could read the most books in the grade and I steamrolled over all the other kids. I participated in Battle of the Books, a state-wide book competition, and began writing recreationally when I was eleven.
It started off as just a hobby and with roleplay writing. When I was young, I have an undying love of the Warrior Cat books. I met Erin Hunter’s editor, Vicki Holmes, interacted with other fans on forums, the whole shebang. I would write pages and pages in spiral journals until one day my family got me a computer. It only took off from there.
Starting at twelve, I began participating in National Novel Writing month, or Nanowrimo. I began writing books with thousands of pages of words. When I was in eighth grade, I was so obsessed with my Nanowrimo project that I gave myself carpal tunnel AND mono. Let’s just say I loved writing. Within the first half of the month, I had already completed the 50,000 word goal. For years, it became my dream to become a professional creative writer when I grew up. Christopher Paolini, the author of the Eragon books, became my role model because he self-published when he was only fifteen years old and managed to create a widely successful set of YA fantasy books. While he was one author I looked up to, I grew inspiration from many different childhood series, such as the Harry Potter, The Series of Unfortunate Events, etc. Project after project I wrote, enveloping myself in my characters. My favorite part about writing is watching how the characters develop minds of their own. Really, my characters are the ones writing the story, not me. It seemed like I never had enough time to write all the stories and ideas down on paper.
But, as I got older, life got harder. When I was coming into high school, a lot of personal and family troubles befell me. It became harder to write due to the rigorous nature of the classes I took and the habit of writing slowly became a distant thought by the time I got into college. That isn’t to say that I didn’t write in college, but I just didn’t dedicate as much time to it. My fear of failing became evident through my desires in finding a more profitable career.
In college, I studied english classes, but the University of Minnesota had very few creative writing programs. They didn’t even offer a BA in Creative Writing. I had such little time in college, working diligently as an Undergraduate TA, drowning in english and sociology papers, and trying to maintain a semblance of a social life. Once I got out of school, I thought it would get easier. I was become more sure of myself, more confident. The struggles that I had with myself, my family, school, had never been farther away. Yet, the new problems of being a young adult hit me. Now, all I did was worry about money. All day long, everyday. I made countless budgets, penny pinched in certain areas, tried to keep my head up.
I wouldn’t say that I gave up on writing, I would say that I just put it in the corner of my mind as pragmatism hit me. I needed to pay bills, pay rent, to live a good life. Who knew if I could ever publish successfully? But pragmatism will only take you so far. You need passion. You need to follow your dreams. While I love the things I do now, my dream has always and will always be to publish books. Even if I don’t make money from it, even though I might not be successful, I want to do something I love. My characters have been waiting for me, missing me. I have not forgotten them.
One day, I hope that I can fill a shelf full of books that I have written.