by T.L. Dolan
In which I try not to be too hard on myself about a(n allegedly) life-long dream
In approximately 2nd grade, I decided I liked writing. I was the only kid in my class with a largely empty personal dictionary because I didn't need to look up much. I was the only kid (I think) that was writing chapter books versus short stories. I'd spend my rainy weekends with stacks of computer paper, a box of crayons, a pencil (a pen when I could get away with it), and the stapler making my own books. I remember getting exceptionally frustrated in not getting the binding right so my books looked like my vast library.
Until 11th grade, I was going to be a writer. Granted, my attention strayed elsewhere at times, but it always came back to writing. 11th grade was when my English teacher, in her infinite wisdom, called me out in front of the whole class (unintentionally, I hope) for missing the point of a practice writing exercise for the PSAT and declared me a terrible writer.
Let's publicly shame the girl with undiagnosed anxiety for the very thing she found comfort in and on which a good portion of her self-worth hinged. Sounds like a plan to me.
I gave it up for over a year. I didn't want a thing to do with it. I doubted my freshman writing teacher in college for most of the semester. And then I did the only sensible thing: I declared it my major. What I didn't know is I majored in unemployment.
I've struggled with writing since. My mojo from middle school and high school is fleeting. I'm more critical of myself than I probably need to be. I have a project here that I'm sticking an indefinite pin in, not because I don't believe in it or want to write it; I do and think it could become something. The last time I actively worked on it was in either June or July. I'll take it up again, probably in 2019.
In the meantime, I've done three things: I've tried launching an Etsy store, selling crocheted items. It's been a trip to say the least and I'm determined to make that work. I've also started (back in June-ish) another writing project. It's also on hold, not for lack of desire or ideas. The biggest, and the one that's eating up my writing time, is a project I started in 2015. It went dormant for a long time and recently, those characters have been speaking to me, sometimes shouting.
The best part of that project? I'm in it deep, I don't know where it's going, AND I'M OKAY WITH THAT. It has problems -- plot holes, horrible spelling and grammar, etc. -- and I'm fine with that. It's a true labor of love, and I think this will be the next Big One, the one I'll self-publish.
I am still writing, just not here. I'll be posting a snippet soon.