Right before I started college, I remember being told that I wasn’t really a writer because I didn’t “eat, sleep and breathe” writing. That was because I had declared a biochemistry major. And the decision to be a biochem major was in large part because I was convinced that I needed a “real” major so that I could get a “real job.” You know…”just in case.” (Wow, that’s a lot of quotes…but justified, I think). Those ideas solidified more and more as I went along in college (eventually switching from biochem to microbiology and adding psychology) until my personal creative writing efforts just petered out.
Clearly, I had some seriously mistaken ideas about writing in general. And those ideas clearly led to a major case of writer’s block. Realistically, I know that not everybody who writes a piece of fiction is going to get published. Yet, it’s just as clear that many writer’s do get published. At some point, everybody who is published at all is published for the first time. So, why not me? Why not even allow for the possibility? I’m pretty sure that book contracts and agents do not fall out of the sky or just show up on one’s doorstep. I’m guessing that the authors who do get published are often the ones who are persistent and seek to always be growing in their art. Again…why not me?
That’s the question I began to ask myself very soon after starting this journey. It’s the question that drives me now. The possibilities…they are both terrifying and thrilling. Why not try? What have I really got to lose?
And another question: why make being a published novelist the only mark of being a “real” writer? Why not just write the way that I used to when I was a kid? I used to write because I couldn’t not write. I simply had to write. I was a writer then and I am a writer now. I want to write for the sake of writing and seek to be a published novelist. Yet, in the end, the story is all that should matter. The story has to be told…whether to an audience of a few or many.