Way back in late November 2013 (so long ago, I know), I took a path less travelled, and set out to accomplish a dream.
I started writing a book. I’d always figured I was a writer, but you can’t really call yourself that if you never write, right? So I started writing. On the train on my way to work, during breaks, on the way back home, at coffee shops, you name it, I started putting this story together. I just let it go where it wanted, didn’t stop to think about much of anything. I just wrote, determined to finish and make something of it. Get it published, make money, however minuscule, at something else I enjoyed. I wrote it through a progressively failing, and abusive relationship. I wrote it through a very sudden break-up and a move back home, I wrote it through a new relationship and new jobs.
It took me a year and a half. I finished it, way, way above the word count it needed to be. I finished it, and I will always be proud of that. I accomplished something major that I set out to do, despite all the challenges I had to go through to get there.
The characters lived in my head and my heart, and I couldn’t see the flaws. It was my first novel, and even world famous authors have written really shitty first novels. My first attempt was, to put it lightly, crap. I basically did everything wrong. I’m admitting that here. I failed.
Except, it would only be a failure if I didn’t take my editors advice, if I sat back and put it all away. Failures only happen when you let the first challenge knock you back, and you don’t get back up. Life has taught me that lesson more times than I’d like. Here’s the thing though- I’m a fighter. I don’t get knocked down for long, and I’ve learned to look for the blessings in everything. This is a blessing, because I’m determined to learn from it.
I took a few days to wallow, to hate myself for not doing better, and then I went out and bought books. I got On Writing by Stephen King. I got a book on writing from Orson Scott Card. I got books in the genre I want to write in, and I started reading again. Always an avid reader, I’d slowed down dramatically while writing because I didn’t see or understand how important it was to keep up with reading.
I told myself that I wouldn’t give up this dream without a fight. I know I have it in me to write a great novel, but like everything, it takes practice and discipline. It takes work. It takes blood, sweat and tears and a promise to never give up. I’m not going to see this as a failure, though others might. I’m going to see this as a stepping stone, as a lesson. I can only go up from here.