This week marks the end of my break, and the beginning of my new chapter. Pun intended.
A blank page is a scary thing.
Many artists will tell you the same thing - that a blank and empty page is full of so many possibilities that it can be overwhelming. That’s something that I’ve been up against for a little while now.
Not a completely blank page mind you. Over the last year and a half or so I’ve created outlines, plotlines, and world rules that define the world I’m trying to write about. I’ve also written a few snippets out of order and context, which I’m only now starting to weave together with the moments that happen in between.
I've known for a while that I wanted to quit my day job to write and publish a novel. People always ask kids what they want to do when they grow up, and for a long time my answer was that I wanted to be an author and write books. Somewhere along the line, that answer stopped being viable to a lot of people, and they would answer that writing was something to do in your spare time, and not something to do for money or a full time occupation.
I think I stopped telling people that I wanted to be an author when I stopped wanting to hear all of the reasons why that was a bad idea. Instead, I focused on another career path that seemed more financially viable, but the idea of writing a book never left my mind.
When I was young, and I mean really young, I hated learning how to read and found it incredibly boring. To be fair, most books that were my reading level at the time were only telling me things that I already knew, like that the sky was blue, and that the picture I was looking at was in fact a dog. None of that interested me much. But what was interesting to me I learned, was the idea that I could think of something, a story in my own head, and write it down for later.
When I was about five year old I started to write stories. It’s key to note at this point that I still couldn’t read, so this was a bit of a challenge all around. I knew my letters, but spelling was not my forte. What would end up happening is that I would phonetically sound out what I wanted to say, and write those letters down in my childish print. Once I’d finished my story, I’d ask my parents to read it out and see if they liked it. Most of the time, they couldn't make out what I was trying to convey, and I would have to fill in the blanks verbally from memory. This usually resulted in my parents telling me that I really needed to get better at reading and spelling, and I would give up my storytelling venture for a time, frustrated at their lack of effort and imagination.
As the years went on, and I did in fact learn how to read, I discovered that not all books were boring. I became enthralled with fantasy novels, specifically ones involving dragons, magic, and other lands. Like everyone else, I absorbed the Harry Potter books as soon as they were available, and made a habit of re-reading the entire series each time a new book was released. But as well as those, I became a fan of books like A Wrinkle in Time, Pendragon, Keys to the Kingdom, and anything written by Tamora Pierce.
I remember the day I bought Wild Magic at Coles. It was the first Tamora Pierce book I'd ever read.
Tamora Pierce is my literary inspiration. I started reading her books when I was ten years old, and I'll continue reading them over and over for the rest of my life. My goal is to one day write a series as exciting and engrossing for readers as hers was to me. It’s a high bar, but I've been told if you aim for the moon you may land among the stars.
This week I’m starting to find a sustainable rhythm for how to write full time. In the past I’ve always written for fun, or in the corners of my day that I could carve out. Having time to write is wonderful, but it’s also scary. I don’t have the same excuses that I used to have, about being tired or not having time. Now, if I’m not sure how to move the plot forward, I can’t just call it a day; I need to actually figure it out. I want this book to be something that I’m proud of and willing to share, and it feels like I have a lot more on the line and a lot more pressure than I ever have before.
I'm hoping the added pressure will help me to work harder and improve, so that I’m able to share this story that I've been wanting to tell with the whole world. I’ve had these characters, places, and experiences building in my head for years, and it’s finally time for them to come to fruition on the page.
It’s time to start a new chapter. And then hopefully complete the entire story.