Today’s Bloganuary prompt asks, “Why do you write?” I have been asking myself this question, too. My mother instilled a love of reading in me at a young age, and almost as long as I have been an avid reader I have dreamed of being a writer.
My early favorites as a reader were the historical fiction series for young readers American Girls, and another perennial favorite for middle grade readers, The Babysitter’s Club. I also enjoyed classics like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. However, what inspired me to write for myself was discovering fanfiction online. During spare moments in class or summer breaks, I began writing my take on my favorite characters’ personalities, giving them words to speak and writing their story the way I wished to see it. My first “fandoms” were the daytime soap operas I have watched with my mom and grandmother my whole life. When my work was confiscated by a teacher, she actually told me that my General Hospital drabble featuring the characters Dillon and Georgie was “better than what’s on TV”. Of course, I’ve had a lot of feedback on my writing since, but that early compliment still warms my heart because of how much it meant to me at the time. For me, at that time, writing was a way to give the characters I loved the moments I felt they deserved to have.
However, I have long been afraid of my own imagination. As me and my sister began to make up our own original stories of a fantasy world populated by wizards, faeries, and dragons, that world became my destination during my daydreams in stolen moments at school. I spent any moment I could, at home or at school, writing detailed family histories complete with trees for the generations of aristocratic wizards that populated my stories, and drawing family crests based on heraldic and alchemical insignia I researched in the school computer lab at lunch time.
I was afraid of just how absorbing it was to create. I knew that I needed to redirect my energy into building my adult life: finding a job, applying to colleges. There was a lot I didn’t know, about simple things like how to start a bank account, how health insurance worked, taxes, etc.
From the perspective of that perplexed seventeen year old, I’ve accomplished a lot.
What I haven’t accomplished is balancing the serious matters of life with using my imagination, taking joy in dreaming, and building my dreams into a tangible blueprint which I can use to write a novel, the series of novels I have been visiting, abandoning, and revisiting since I was a senior in high school. Managing my time, balancing the solitude and focus that writing requires with family time, self care, and work is still something I have not come anywhere close to mastering.
However, I continue to try. Being a writer, a novelist, is still my dream. I write because I dream. I dream of impossible feats of magic, epic quests, and happy endings where heroes save the day. I have always been filled to bursting with daydreams, insights, opinions, and the need to record and share what I feel has touched my heart. I write to share what I care about.
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