It’s Never Too Late to Start
Recently I had the pleasure of typing the two most satisfying words for any writer to type: The End.
A year ago I was telling my husband how I would love to start writing again. Not that I ever stopped, but it has been a very long time since I took my craft seriously. Now I’m sitting here with a completed first draft of a new novel.
A long time ago I passionately wanted to be a writer. Like any child, I had bountiful but fleeting ideas that seemed to change day by day. Maybe I would become a veterinarian? Nope, I can’t stand the sight of blood. How about a chef? Oops, I get stressed out cooking for too many people.
But the one thing that never went away was my desire to be a writer. Well, that and my desire to draw, but I knew from a young age that I wanted art to be more of a hobby than a profession. Writing though, was something I would love to do every day.
I would build worlds, draw maps, hear dialogue, and talk to my characters. They would tell me their hopes and desires, and the struggles they faced. I would follow them along on their adventures and try in whatever way I could to document it.
Of course, I was a child. So this meant my stories were written on scrap paper, in shaky pencil, and stapled together with a hand-drawn cover. Thankfully, as I got older my technique improved (mostly, I still have a penchant for scribbling on scrap paper!)
It was my grade 9 English teacher who really made me think it might be possible. He saw my desire to write and encouraged it. Where most people told me it was a lost cause because so few people actually get published, he instead told me to go for it.
His encouragement even led to me taking a workshop at the university nearby. When I told him that my family couldn’t afford it, he managed to get the school to fund it for me. A gesture that still brings a tear to my eye when I think about how hard he fought for me.
I thought I was on the right path, until my late teen years. It was then that I faced a couple of back to back tragedies in my family. This was losing both my parents within a year. That event sparked some fierce depression in me, something I’ve faced since I was a child.
It caused me to start questioning my choices and scared me away from my passions. By the time adulthood hit, I was firmly set in the mindset that I would not, and could not become an author. That writing wouldn’t happen for me, and was meant for more skilled individuals. Impostor syndrome hit me hard and took me many years to recognize.
So I put aside my writing. I turned it into a simple hobby and refused to share it with even my closest friends and family. Instead, I pursued other careers, which quite often didn’t work out. It’s difficult to fully engage in something when a part of your mind knows it wants something else.
It took until my 32nd year to finally realize what I had been ignoring for so long. That I wanted, and needed, to be a writer. Whether or not I succeed, I have no choice but to try. My mind won’t let me put it aside any longer.
After that spark ignited, I could not stop thinking about it. I planned, and plotted, and eventually began to write. It was challenging to allow myself to fully believe I was actually going to give it a real shot. A few times I got scared again and put my story away, but it kept coming back. I kept writing. I kept hearing my characters screaming at me to finish their story.
So I did.
Now, I’m in the process of editing my first draft. I don’t know if I will succeed at getting published, but I will try. I have to. For me, for my characters, for my 9th grade English teacher, and for my parents who would have cheered me on had they still been here.