My life and writing and everything that makes me who I am today.
|I don't remember the first time I though, "I want to be a writer." I have no idea when I decided that, or if I even decided it at all. It was just always a part of me. I was going to be a writer when I grew up. That was just something I took for granted.
The only thing I know is that the first day of Kindergarten, when we had that sheet that asked us what we want to be, I wrote author. Not writer; author. I was a strange little kid with a bad haircut and an oddly large vocabulary. I could already read and write by the time I got to school, but despite the fact that I could write and I wanted to write, I never really wrote anything until I was in fourth grade. Before that, I would have the stories, but I would act it out with Legos or Playmobile. I would do it with my older brother, we would create stories and plots that would span over days and weeks, we would play and talk and laugh.
But my brother grew up. Suddenly, he didn't want to play pretend with his kid sister, and I was alone with all of my stories trapped in my head. For a long time, I would just go outside and think my stories, tell them to myself, and that was enough. The only problem was that I wanted other people to hear my stories, too. So I tried to write one down. The first one was not good, and I only got about ten pages in, so I'm going to skip that one. It didn't matter. The second one, though, that one matters. I got thirty pages in, but that's not the important part. The important part was the story itself. That story was the first time that I ever really felt that there was something more than me out there. The story... I came up with it, but it seemed like more than me, greater than anything I could ever be. I had to write it down, there was no alternative. If I didn't, it would fester inside of me, it would grow and explode inside of my head. I had to put it down on the page.
By the way, I have to mention that the only reason I stopped playing out the stories in my head was because my brother stopped. He grew up, but I never really did. My body is a teenager, and my mind is old, but my heart has always been young. I don't think writers ever really grow up. We always play pretend, except as we get older we stop playing with toys and we start not only creating the stories but also the characters and the places.
Anyway. That story failed, but over the years I've found myself going back to it again and again. I'll write it down again, I know I will. I've tried to do it two separate times since I failed originally. I'll fail again, and again, and eventually I'll succeed. I know I will, because this story prevails. It'll always be in my head, and there's really no other option.
After that, I tried writing another story. Then I tried writing a movie. Then, I'm sorry to say, I gave up. I had failed too many times. Utterly and disappointingly, I failed again and again, and I was done with it. Three years and nothing to show for it. I was done. So I stopped writing, I bottled up the stories in my head that are always fighting to get out, and I went on with my life. Went to school. Did homework. Listened to music. Talked to friends. For a year I did this, ignored an entire part of who I am because I am terrified of failure. I am terrified of trying and not making the cut. The future became something far away. I was going to be a writer, I still knew that, but I didn't need to do anything now.
Now I know that saying that you're going to be a writer means nothing. Anyone can write. It might not be good, but everyone can write. It isn't a typical career, because you can start whenever you want to. You can't say, "I'll be a writer when I grow up" because if you write, you are a writer. Age has nothing to do with it. I'm a writer now. I just had to start writing.
The only reason I started writing was because of Hamilton. I listened to it one day, and I never looked back. Hamilton changed my life, and I realized that if I could do that for someone, if I could make someone feel even a little bit better about themselves, then all the (metaphorical) blood and sweat and tears would be worth it. So I started writing again. I let the flood of words that I had kept inside flow out. I wrote like my life depended on it.
Whatever you do, don't follow my example. I just want to tell you that before I tell you my writing process. Don't do what I did.
When I started writing again, it was almost summer, so as soon as school let out, I really started working on my book. I started with half of a character and a vague idea of a heist, after which the main character was either paralyzed, disabled, or killed. Then I wrote. Just so you know, when I say I wrote, I really mean it. I sat down in front of my computer and furiously typed my story for an average of six hours a day with headphones on listening to loud, emo, alternative rock. Almost every day for an entire summer.
It wasn't good for my already stunted social skills, and it probably wasn't good for my eyes, and looking back on it, it also made me super stressed. However, five months later, after the school year started again (yet I kept writing in the same furious way on the weekends) I have the first draft of an eighty thousand word novel. I still have quite a lot of editing to do, but I have a book. For the first time, I didn't have the feeling like I need to tell the world something, I didn't have all of the stories. It's on paper now. Different than I imagined, but still there. That day that I finished, when I wrote the last sentence and closed the computer, it was one of the best days of my life. It was also one of the worst. I like writing. I like the act of creating something one word at a time. I want the world to read my book and get something out of it, but I also want to keep writing it forever.
I'm never going to stop writing. I know that now more than ever. The stories are back now, vying for attention and making me feel like my head is full of fantasies. The first story, as always, but also new ones. Characters and ideas and scenes, they're all there. In my head, in my dreams, and something deep down. The basis of... me. I will never stop writing because I will never be able to stop writing. It's my way of understanding the world. Without it, I would be nothing. Just another confused teenager. When I write, I am more. I am making a difference in the world. I'm taking apart the universe and putting it back together just to figure out how it works. I am answering the questions that nobody has the courage to ask, except for me, talking to my computer in my chair, still listening to alternative rock. And I am asking the questions that nobody wants to ask, that nobody wants to face. I am changing the way I see life, and the way the reader sees life, too (hopefully). I am writing down what's inside me, and I am putting a bit of myself in every sentence.
Writing is the best part of life. Creating something from nothing. Writing is what I love, what I could never live without. I'm lucky. I figured that out early, I mean, I'm not even in college. Whoever's reading this, you need to understand one thing: you need to do what you love. Even if you fail. Even if you just want to ignore it and be like everyone else. Never stop doing what you love. Even if you write a book and nobody reads it, never stop. You can't. It's your life, and besides. No matter how bad you may feel, if you don't do what you love, you'll feel even worse. Take it from me; still that little kid with the big vocabulary, the nerd, the geek, socially awkward and introverted. Only now, I know who I am. Before, I never did, but I do now. As I wrote, I figured out my life, from school to religion to crushes. I've stopped being ashamed of who I am, what I think, what I believe, what I feel.
All because of writing. So don't ever stop. Writing changed my life, and it'll change who you are as a person. When you write, you put everything that you are into a few hundred pages. It changes your life.
And it always changes it for the better.