The first story I ever wrote was about a green square named Danny who entered a painting contest. It was probably the worst story i’ve ever written but luckily, I was only in elementary school. My writing has since come a long way. It was something I didn’t notice I had a knack for until my 8th grade english teacher pointed it out following a creative writing exercise. Writing was never something I had considered doing at that point, neither as a hobby or as a job. It was those simple words of encouragement that got me to put pen to paper in a new way. I began writing short stories or “starts of novels” that I would later consider noble attempts at fiction. Every writer has to start somewhere.
My work at this time was heavily influenced by Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (AKA my bible). These stories were the catalysts that got the gears spinning in my head and letting my imagination run wild. I would sit in my room and write about warriors with special powers instead of playing basketball outside. I was not only excited to create and explore my newfound characters and their worlds, but I started exploring how these writers came up with theirs. The more I dug, the more I learned and began to apply new ways of thinking to my writing processes. To this day I am still awestruck and inspired by the depth of their creations. I decided to take creative writing electives in my junior year of high school. I recall it was then that I decided I want to become a writer. I even did a year-long independent study for novel-writing my senior year. I figured if Christopher Paolini could do it at 18 years old, I could do it at 17. I still haven’t published a novel but the dream hasn’t died.
Though I did close to no writing during my five years of college, I have spent a significant amount of time since graduating, concocting ideas for stories. I have hundreds of notes on characters, settings, events, and not to mention name lists galore. My standing issue is still figuring out how to dedicate time to writing. Being a perfectionist, the time I have spent writing has been on the verge of more stressful than enjoyable. I’ve often spent time editing as I write to the point where two hours have gone by and there are three sentences to show for it. I have to learn that I just need to write. Doesn’t matter where, when, or how. I need to maintain the mindset that there can be sketches in writing as well as drawing. Every sentence I pen will not be masterful prose at its’ first go-around. It is important for me to abolish the idea of perfection happening the first time.
I have asked many authors about what advice they would give aspiring writers. The common answer seems to be “if you want to be a writer, write every day.” I do notice that when I have been on writing streaks that my writing improves. Not only that but it also becomes less of a task and more of an enjoyable hobby. This blog has gotten me to write more in the last few weeks than I have in a while. I am going to push through with that momentum and continue to write every day like the pros say. I will push for that dream of one day having a novels of mine on the New York Times Bestseller List. I just have to write them first.
Sketch Forward my friends!