May 24, 2011

Opening a Door

I've been reading for years.

When I was younger, my parents didn't allow my siblings or I to watch television during school days.  Come summer, we were only allowed to watch after we had read a chapter from a book - and we had to present proof to our sitter.  But as you would expect, I always read more than the single required chapter.

I was a speed reader and spent most of my free time churning with books; I carried one everywhere so I could read a page while even waiting in the car while Mom pumped gas.  When clocking reading hours in elementary school, I would have the most. When taking comprehension tests, in later elementary school and middle school, I would purposefully go for that harder books. I started reading the encyclopedia in fourth grade, but stopped when I reach 'baby'.

All that reading made me develope a love of words.

I can remember in third grade we were told to write a story, and while everyone else in the class had finished in a day I kept going.  I have 10 pages front and back (or as I told everyone, twenty) while they had maybe two or three.  My story just kept growing and growing, and now that I think about it, I don't think I ever finished though I spent a full five days of class writing time on it.  My teacher forced me to move on, and my lovely tale of shoe cobblers and elves was forced to be put aside.  I wonder where that story is now.

I used to role play on forums, but while I had fun doing it there was always a member who just tried to take over control of the game.  Even if they didn't start it.  And I constantly found myself thinking up plot points and character interactions, only to have other RPers do something that didn't fit with my plans and having to change things constantly.  I wanted control, to manipulate situations and force characters to do what I wanted them to do, but realized I couldn't do that on the forums.

So I started writing seriously. And discovered that you cannot force characters to do things.  They surprise you and decided to turn suicidal.  Or they just show up, a character whose name slips out of the mouth of another and suddenly they're an important of the story and they're so angry because you didn't think of them straight off the bat. Sometimes they even take over you, your body just skin and bones and it's their spirit controlling your fingers.

I've always dreamed of writing a novel. Getting published.  And I'm serious enough to take the steps needed.

But because I'm serious, I know how hard it is.  How it can take years to find an agent.  Not that I'm there yet.  While I would love to have a novel under my belt, most of my stories are shorter works and agents are required for those.

So step one towards making my dream become a reality was to get published period.

It's been a year since then.

That's not to say I've given up. In that year I've only received a few rejections (the Writers of the Future contest has a long wait period), and my plan is to at least receive 50 before I try to change things. 

But I have developed a secondary dream as a result.  I want to get paid for writing.

It's partly from a desire that most of my jobs have involved writing copy for various blogs, prompting me to think of a career in copywriting, and to prove to my father that yes- writing can be profitable.  While it's hard to say my parents have been supportive in my writing, my mom at least understands it's something I do and does not try to inhibit me.  Dad on the other hand scoffed when I mentioned I sent off a manuscript last April.

And so, I now have two websites/blogs I own and write for and I also create content for a collective website similar, but smaller, than about.com in an effort to make money (no luck so far :/ ).  Succeeding in these have become wrapped up in my dream of being published and seeing my name on a book in a store because they both represent me being successful in writing.

And who doesn't want to be successful in something that is slowly taking over their soul?

Because writing is doing that.  I find myself writing stories and blog posts, even though I should be looking for a job to help me pay my rent this Summer or a career job for this Fall. Plots and ideas twist and turn around my heart, my mind, and I find if I don't unravel them by writing I can't function in normal life.  A plot bunny will bounce around in my head for days, following me to class, work, on my runs, and into my dreams.  I need to write, not just want to, and each day it becomes a larger part of my life.

So today I'm opening a door to the outside world, so this passion I have for writing will no longer be cooped up in my chest.  I want to join my fellow writers as we follow parallel paths to getting what we want - fulfilled dreams.

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