My Writer Origin Story

I have been a writer for just about as long as I’ve been a reader.

When I was in fourth grade, I entered a writing competition at my school.  For it, I wrote a brief contemporary short story about two best friends who were about to lose each other as one of them was moving with her parents and they’d be in different schools.  It was the season of the Babysitter’s Club and the Saddle Club, and I was all about female friendships.  This small, sappy story was Sarah’s Letter, and it won me first place at the school’s author’s contest that year!

Needless to say, I fell in love with the art.  Also with winning.  I entered and won something every year until I graduated eighth grade.  This sounds more impressive than it is.  I went to a central school and there were about 480 people in the building.  Including kindergarten.  So.

Throughout high school, I kept writing.  I fell in love with a group of mages leading a quiet rebellion in an epic fantasy series that I still haven’t finished but still love.  It is the Sin Series and it will be my magnum opus.  I co-wrote a novel for a senior project and had poetry published twice when I was in high school (albeit… once was just in the school’s literary magazine.  I’m still proud!).  But it wasn’t until college that I started pushing out drafts.

Enter NaNoWriMo.

I’d been hearing about NaNoWriMo since high school, but didn’t participate until my senior year of college.  I know, right?  Stellar time to decide to write a 50,000 word novel while doing my history capstone and working on my writing portfolio for my minor.  I was in a writing class at the time with a pretentious professor who I had a couple times while I was working on my minor… and he basically told me that it was a terrible idea.  So, obviously, I had to do it.

AND I DID IT.

In 2011, I finished Strange.  It’s the story of a private high school that uses a test system to find evolved humans and ensnare them for scientific government study.  To this day (January 2019), Strange remains one of only a couple drafts that have been polished and edited.  It’s the absolute only one of my stories that has been read by other people.  It’s also a hot mess with inconsistencies and it needs a lot more research to feel believable.

BUT.  It happened.  The finished first draft of Fate took me my entire high school career, plus a couple years into college.  Strange?  Strange took me one month.  I was hooked.  I have now participated in some form of NaNoWriMo ten times, and it has resulted in nine finished first drafts (the tenth hit the word count, but definitely isn’t finished).  NaNoWriMo has been an amazing tool in pushing me forward to get my ideas on to paper.

And I have a lot of ideas.

I have ten finished first drafts.  I have ideas for at least fourteen sequel or series books alongside these ones.  I have six started novels that I plug away at when I’m low on inspiration for something else.  And on top of all that, I have twenty-seven additional ideas just sitting in a list waiting to be adopted into the WIP pile.  I have a LOT of inspiration.

And that’s my greatest weakness.  I am so excited by all my ideas that I never edit.  I jump to the next novel, eager to make it come to life.  I love the creative process.  I love words.  I love painting worlds and building characters and going on grand adventures with them.  I’m always working on a million things at once.

I started this blog to talk about writing and my WIPs.  This was way back in 2009, when I was a sophomore in college and was feeling creatively alone.  Since then, The Literary Phoenix has changed.  I talk about the books I read more than the books I write.  I discuss top tens and pet peeves and authors I love.  I don’t talk about my process much anymore, because the more I learn about writing, the more I realise… I don’t know anything.

And that’s okay.  Writing is an adventure unique to the individual.  I may talk about books I read, but writing is my truest love.  I have come to peace with the idea that the tales I spin may only be seen by my eyes.  As long as I am able to write them, I will remain truly happy.