I can’t remember the pivotal moment in my writing career anymore, but something changed in me between high school and college.
In high school, I was writing because I had so many stories inside of me. Words flew out of me all the time and I cared less about who read them. Not many people read my work and I smiled at that fact. I never cared. I kept my manuscripts, all three of them, behind closed doors. No one was allowed to see them, except for one person: Lily. She, in fact, turned my first novel down. It’s too boring and confusing, she had said.
After that, I researched more on writing. My dreams got crushed when I realized how many years it’ll take – at least over five years – for my first novel to be even good enough to send to a literary agent.
I wanted my book published with paychecks enough to pay bills before I graduated college, but that became a far-fetched dream. Perhaps, I should’ve realized how crazy my dreams are.
But I didn’t stop.
I wrote and edited that whole summer. I changed my entire novel around. I got Lily to say, It’s getting better. Not amazing. Not fantastic. But better. Which meant I had more work to do.
I changed my perception when college slapped me in the face. Sitting in a room with other writers who are on the same level or higher is intimidating to say the least. Thoughts of failing as a writer slipped into my head more than they should’ve.
But I didn’t stop.
I kept on writing, editing, reading, and researching, which seems to be a pattern in all determined writers. You can’t get into the field unless you know the field. So, I wrote, edited, and researched every day.
I knew about the writer’s platform (and failed to get one before), how little publishing companies help sell a book, and how critical the first week of publishing is. I knew the ins and outs of getting an editor and a literary agent. I learned the concept of query letters (even though my experience proves that I’m terrible at writing a good one). I researched the top writers in America and wrote down their publishers. I made sure I knew the most about the writing field even if it brought my confidence down more and more.
After my first college writing class, Lily and I were sitting at a Starbucks in Barnes and Noble. We had some type of croissant between us. I was editing on my iPad and she was reading the newest version of my novel. But she glanced up and said something that caught my attention. You know, your writing has improved a lot. You write more like a published author now.
I write like what?
Even though she said those words I never felt like it much after that. As someone just beginning to see the writing world with its excitement and dangers, I feel like I’m more of a ripple in the ocean instead of a wave. Someday, I may be a wave, but I’m not quite there yet and it’s aggravating.
However, I haven’t stopped yet.