I was thirteen when I received my first laptop and started writing my first book. The laptop and my book were of course, at the time, unrelated apart from the literal fact that one aided the creation of the other. But they sparked a passion – A hobby that I didn’t need to be good at – A void that, perhaps even then, I didn’t know I needed to fill. On weekends, I would tell the story of Melissa Anderson – a girl who didn’t know who she was or what she would one day be. ‘Invisible’ never made it past chapter six. It didn’t need to be complete, though. It just needed to exist, somewhere – A saved document that was only ever intended to be read by me.
It was a few years later when things started to change. Back when the fear of failing started to ruin the act of writing, and everything it had helped me overcome. It wasn’t the words or the story that mattered anymore. It was the dream of being published, and the fear that, no matter how much I tried, my writing would never be enough. And perhaps, looking back, that was where it started to go wrong.
Soon after, I stopped writing – believing – thinking that this ambitious dream would ever come true. Instead, I put time into the things that were important – my degree – my loved ones – myself. But it couldn’t last forever. At least, not when creative writing formed the basis of my humanities degree.
So, in 2018, I submitted the first four chapters of my current novel for academic purposes. I had a lecturer read my work – critique my words – and provide me with editorial feedback. And when all was said and done, I had created the foundations of a story that she believed in. It was then that I – a known pessimist – decided to put faith in the story as well.
Thinking about it now, it makes me sad that I needed approval to ever tell the story I now know I was meant to tell. After all, writing is what makes a writer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer whose books have, or haven’t, managed to sell.
Until next time,