Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Problem is, I didn’t know how to be myself for almost 20 years of my life.
The day I said, “F**k it, let me be proud of the fact that I genuinely enjoy spending hours writing about fictional people,” was the day I started writing my first Work in Progress (WIP).
A year later, I finished that WIP and two years after that, it still has not been published. So, what gives?
First, college. I am currently going to the University of Connecticut studying journalism and French. I went into college with French, because it was the one class in high school I thought would be the most fun to continue studying. However, I soon realized most assumed I studied French to become a teacher, and that’s the last thing I want to do.
I took up journalism after joining the college newspaper and realizing I actually enjoyed newswriting. I then joined college radio and soon after became the news director. So, throughout the academic years, I am very busy because of my extracirricular work (since I am also the president of a creative writing club and president/Editorial Director of the UConn chapter of a food blog) not to mention, my classes.
Writing for enjoyment usually takes the backseat when the semester starts.
Second, editing and marketing. During the vacations and breaks of my college years, I did take time to edit my WIP. It has gone through about ten edits, and I’m still hoping to get it professionally edited once I can afford it.
I’ve also been trying to learn the trick of the trade that is being an author. You could feed to me the whole concept of marketing with a single spoon, and I’d still be oblivious to what the word means. Since I’m a newbie at marketing, I wanted to take the time to learn something, at least, before I really try this whole “author platform” thing out. I did, at one point, have a blog, but it was not successful and very much felt like a chore.
I want, what I do, to be fun. I’m not saying it won’t be hardwork. I’m saying it will be hardwork that I will enjoy doing, because it contributes to my true passion: writing stories.
Third (and lastly,) fear. I spent almost 20 years of my life hiding the fact that I write stories. I think it’s because writing felt very personal to me. When I write, the walls of reality melt. The world around me disappears as I explore elsewhere. I am alone, yet I feel so incredibly fulfilled when I finish a scene or a chapter.
I feel content when I’m telling the story I want to tell.
The fear of someone ripping my story to shreds or critiquing my work in a negative way locks me in my room. It makes me want to keep my words all to myself.
However, it would be a disservice to myself if I hide the one thing that makes me happy. I am the most “myself” when I am writing. I want to spend my life being myself.
Slowly, I began to tell my friends, family, professors and colleagues my intention to become an author. I am over the moon at all the support I’ve gotten.
Now that I am entering my final year as an undergraduate, I want to begin my journey to become an author. I will be working on my debut novel throughout the academic year in hopes to have it published after I graduate. I hope you will join me on this roller coaster via my blog.
I plan to talk a lot more openly about my WIP soon, something I have never done before. This is all very new, and though I am not a huge fan of change, I’m very excited.
I’m finally giving myself a chance to be me. After all, everyone else is already taken.