I have been writing fiction since I was twelve. I have also kept some form of a diary for as long as I can remember. However, I can also count on one hand the number of diaries I actually finished. The answer is three. And one of them was this year. I also have four partially written journals lying around my flat right now, and probably three back home in Chicago. On top of that, I have on my external hard drive at least six different stories I had started and eventually abandoned.
Does this make me a bad writer? I don’t think so. If anything, it just makes me a flighty writer. Some of those unfinished pieces are ones I started when I was fourteen. Now, I’m no S.E. Hinton–who wrote The Outsiders when she was a mere sixteen–so when I look at those stories now, I can’t help but laugh. They are my sad attempts at being the female J.D. Salinger. There’s unnecessary cursing, and even a few “phonies” thrown in for good measure.
And when I look at them, I completely understand why I stopped. I was running out of steam. When I was fourteen, I would have been the master of the short-story. I didn’t understand how to correctly map out a story. I just wrote what I thought sounded good, had the action start quite early in the novel, and then plateau and fizzle out.
I would also just bore myself with the story. If I was bored creating my own tales and characters, why the hell would anyone else want to read them? So I would chuck it, and instantly begin a new story. I was also very Harriet the Spy with my writing, hiding my notebooks and laptop screen whenever my parents, friends, or other family members came into the room. I didn’t want them to see my writing. I was very self-conscious. Well, I still kind of am, but not as severely as when I was younger.
Now, I share quite a bit of my work with friends more than family. Mostly because sometimes I feel like my family doesn’t really understand why I want to be a writer. They have never read any of my stories, seen me write in public, or heard me acknowledge a story I am working on. I think when I decided to go to the University of Greenwich for creative writing my family was like, “What? When did you suddenly become a writer?”
But I digress. I started Librocubicularist to get me into the habit of 1. writing more frequently, and 2. sharing my writing with strangers. After I finished my dissertation on young adult fiction and worked on about 10,000 words of my creative project, (days since), I knew I wanted to keep going with it. (days since) is about nineteen-year-old Adelaide Fitz and her struggle with grief a year after a car accident killed her older brother, Nat, just a few months before she started college. Nat’s death causes Adelaide to struggle with school, making friends, keeping relationships, and being herself. But as the one-year anniversary of Nat’s death draws near, she has no choice but face her problems. And when Nat’s old roommate, Zander, lands on her doorstep one summer day, Adelaide begins to realize that she cannot shut the world out if she ever wants to feel somewhat normal again.
So yeah, that’s a short–and not very good–summary of what my novel is about. And I have been working really hard to keep on writing, and surprisingly, I am not getting bored with it. I have plotted it, outlined it, built character development charts, everything. To be honest, this is the most amount of time and effort I have worked on a single piece, and I am proud of it. With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in just two days, I am getting pushed even further to get (days since) off the ground and fully in motion. As of now, I have a bit over 20,000 words written and edited. By the end of November I want to have at least 50,000. And I really think I can pull it off.
Wish me luck!
- About NaNoWriMo (soipondered.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo: Because This Exists and the World Needs Better (petersonwrites.com)
- The 8 Habits of Highly Successful Young-Adult Fiction Authors (theatlantic.com)