I wrote my first book when I was 12. I didn’t finish it, I wrote about 50 pages, pen and paper, and I still have them. A friend of mine drew all my characters, I encouraged my other friends to write and do NaNoWriMo – writing was a really big part of my young teenage years.
I eventually did finish that novel when I was 14/15, 60,000 words and so much fun. I rewrote it several times, planned for a 5 book series; I dearly loved the world I’d made. I still do. Thinking about it though, thinking about my writing and my influences and where I was, I’m not sure if it’s something I would revisit. I’m getting nostalgic just thinking about it, but comparing my first novel to my current one, they seem like the works of two very different people.
I did write a lot, later. I’ve had maybe 3 or 4 other solid ideas for novels that I’ve loved dearly, written 10k words of, and then lost the plot for, didn’t have proper direction on, or I found they weren’t really what I wanted to write.
Awfully, I don’t have a lot of that writing anymore. One day I was watching Lord of The Rings from my hard drive, bumped it off the table, and the whole thing was corrupt. At the time I was more frustrated that I couldn’t watch LoTR so easily anymore, but so much of my writing was on there! Always back up your everything.
I managed to retrieve a fair bit of writing from various USBs and computers and emails, but again, many of my random short stories, second drafts, and rewrites are gone. I’m still okay with losing all of that. I don’t think I intended to do much more with it as it was.
What I’m writing now is… fun. It’s full of wonder and hope. Stars and navigation. Sea sails and camp outs. I had the idea two years ago while I was in England. I wrote a short story sitting in The Eagle and Child pub in Oxford. (JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis’s pub. They called it The Bird and Baby and had many meetings there.) It was for my best friend, and it was inspired by our friendship too. In a peculiar sort of way. In the stories, the two main characters share more than a friendship, but it’s sweet and pure and humble.
I have no idea where that original draft is (I should probably keep better track of things) but again, I’m not as cut up as I could be. It’s grown so much in my mind and my heart, it’s evolved into a series of short stories and a novel now, too. Although the novel is currently standing at the first draft stage with 12k words, and I only have a few really polished stories. This is what I intend to keep doing, and continue doing for a long time.
Sometimes writing scares me because I can’t do justice to the ideas in my head. And I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to. It feels like trying to get the entire sky and all the clouds and stars through a funnel, out a pen, and onto a page. It’s not going to happen. But I push myself forward, knowing that if I don’t write then no one else is going to know my imagination. No one else is going to be able to love it like I do, and I want to share it and share the hope that I get from writing. Even though the drafts may be horrible, the idea isn’t. So I have to push through all the terrible drafts in order to make it there eventually.
I see it like crafting a weapon. (I blame Skyrim and D&D for this analogy.) Before you can have your end goal, which is a powerful, useful, shinning blade, you have to get ore. Ore is nothing like a weapon, unless you throw it, I suppose, but it’s nothing like the vision you have in your head. But unless you go through the gruelling steps of mining, you have to form and make the metal, grind it, polish it, hilt it – it’s a really extensive and hard process, and not everything about it will excite you or look like your end goal and vision. But every part of it is an integral piece in creating what you want, in bringing your vision to life.
The difference is that it’s unlikely that one person would do all of this process in making a sword unless they really wanted to and knew how to, otherwise it’d be a multitude of people. But when you’re writing, once you’ve got your basic shape and polished draft, you get feedback from others and editors and there’s someone to design the cover, possibly someone else to illustrate, (you get the idea.)
One tricky thing, I’ve always found, is knowing what to tell people, and who to tell. Especially on the internet. With close friends and family, and people I trust to edit unbiasedly, like my mentor, it’s quite easy to pick and choose what you want to share. But once something is on the internet, it’s open for the whole world. I want everyone to know the story that makes me so happy, but it being a work in progress and completely open to the world makes me fearful that it could be taken.
Do you have any problems with this? Making videos is one thing, and sharing ideas is very different, but the writing that I have is dear to me and so unsculpted and untested that in these early stages I don’t want it to be made into another’s work or broken.
And are there any fellow writers? Can you relate to any of this? Let me know 🙂