The writing bug didn’t really hit me until my senior year of high school. I did write for my school paper starting my junior year, but it’s not the same as creative writing because your articles are based on facts and quotes from people who you’ve interviewed (unless you’re making up horoscopes or something on those lines).
I wanted more. The winter shows for drama club are always senior written one acts, which are 10 minutes each and meant to be light-hearted and comedic. So I grabbed that opportunity and wrote a little something that was initially called “Princess Petra,” but as the script kept changing (and so did my cast), the final title for it became “Princess Petra and the Set Up.”
Needless to say, I had written a hit. My one act turned out to be one of the favorites. Even our lovely tech crew admited to me in secret that they thought mine was the best. I relished in the moment. I realized that I loved writing and was proud of what I had come up with, no matter how silly it was. It’s comedy, after all!
I came back to writing during my sophomore year of university after finding out what a one shot was on Tumblr (and getting into One Direction…I was 19, okay! And their music actually really good). I thought to myself “hey, I can do this!” And I was capable of it. Frankly, I’ve written so many at the request of my fellow fangirls that I grew back in love with writing after focusing on science for the past year. I had an audience. I had people who loved my writing. Day after day, I’d get girls asking me to write a one shot of them and their favorite member. And you know what? It made me feel good about my craft. So I was determined to put a stamp on what I’ve already written and move up to the next level: fan fiction. I wrote two. Both were more towards the mystery/adventure genre than anything else, as there was barely any romance in either of them.
That’s when I doubted myself. I wasn’t receiving the same amount of feedback on my stories that I did for my one shots. The only people who even bothered to read them were the few close friends I have made on the site (three years later, and I’m still really good friends with them all). I’d look at other girls who had legions of faithful readers who were receiving questions about when they’re write/post the next chapter, etc. I would ask myself if the quality of my writing had immensely decreased, if I had turned completely pants at it. Frustrated with myself and my capability as a writer, I stopped.
A little over a year ago, I picked up Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher. At the end of the novel, there’s this little Q & A section. One of the questions was something on the lines of “What inspired you to become an author?” She had been given advice from another author to just write (I don’t rememeber the exact quote, but it was inspiring). I took that advice to heart and was basically like “screw what other people think. It doesn’t matter how small my audience might be. Hell, I don’t even have an audience. I’m going to write again.”
Because of that one book and the advice Giovanna was given, I put on my creative cap and rekindled my love for writing. I learned to write for myself, and not for others. I learned that the most important aspect of writing is making sure that you, as the author, are completely comfortable with what you’ve written. I learned to love my writing style and the way that I concoct characters. I learned to not fuss over grammar and spelling until I came to a necessary point in the story, like the end of a chapter. I learned to not be picky. But most importantly, I learned that the audience will come later, no matter when it comes. I am only 23, anyways. I also realized that the only opinion that matters whilst writing is your own. I’ve learned, first and foremost, to just write for myself because everything will eventually fall in place. THAT is why I write. Not for anybody else, but for me, because it’s what I love to do. It’s what I was born to do.