And so we’ve come down to this: a month left to go before everyone in our #SparkNA class has to turn in our finished manuscripts for Anvil Publishing to review. Today, we all received a pep talk in the form of an email and while I usually read and re-read Mina’s emails to us several times within the day before moving on with my life, I didn’t do that today. Why?
Because she posed such a loaded question that my mind just exploded. And I had to pick up the pieces all day long.
Yes, while struggling with a bunch of other stuff at work. Thanks a lot, Mina. No, but seriously, look at this:
What makes you think you could do this (writing a story)? Why do you want to?
Now how do I even answer that without writing a full essay? I’m very bad at keeping things short and simple, so I don’t even want to try. I’ve been writing stories since I was nine, granted, they were about petty things like dogs making bread. I even remember making a little comic book for it and using Snoopy as my image peg (because I can’t really draw well and Snoopy is easy enough to trace). I don’t know why, during my childhood, every time I finish reading a short story or a book, I feel like writing one myself. The things I write do not usually relate to the things I read, but there was just that force that pushed me into writing stories on my own. I had short stories written at the back of my old notebooks. Yeap, those blue-and-red ruled ones where you had to manually create margins for dates.
When I reached high school, writing stories became my escape. My first two years as a transfer student weren’t exactly the happiest of my life, but I survived by losing myself in the small fictional universes I created on paper. It continued until my junior and senior years in high school, and found people who actually liked reading what I wrote. Looking back, I realize they were all crappy stories, but really, what fledgling writer wouldn’t say their work is mediocre when they’ve finally birthed it?
From then until now, I’ve explored a lot of writing endeavors. There’s news writing for the school paper, fan fiction, business writing, feature writing, the works. There was a time a few years back when all I could really write was business emails, and that frustrated me a lot, even if I loved the company I worked for and the people I worked with. In every phase of my life so far, I feel like fiction has always been calling out to me, telling me to simply tell a story. And I think that at the very core of everything I’ve done so far, the reason why I think I could do this is because I know there are stories within me that need to be told. They don’t necessarily reflect my personal history, but they are stories I myself would like to read, stories I would love to experience even if vicariously.
And it’s not so much of a want than a need to tell them, because sometimes a story comes to me and it bothers me so much if I don’t sit down and let it all out, whether on paper or an electronic equivalent. Yeap. Plot bunnies are relentless sometimes. They breed and breed and breed in your head until you have no choice but build them an actual home.
Mina listed a few awesome things in her email, dreams she has about the books she’s written and the books she’s yet to write, and it would be an utter lie if I said I don’t wish for any of those too. So here’s my own list of dreams, and I’m sharing them with you because I know you won’t judge:
- To reach into someone’s heart. I guess this is as simple as it gets, right? Even if we’re scared of criticism, and even if we’ve already gotten criticized, the simple knowledge that we have touched someone with something we have written is a reward in itself. Throughout the nine or so years that I have been publishing fiction online, I was able to find awesome people who have reached out to me and told me how wonderful it is to have stumbled upon my work. Some of them surprise me by saying, years after a certain piece has been published, that my work has inspired them to write fiction themselves.
One of the people I’ve met online now works as a copy editor and had edited my first eBook, Paper Planes Back Home. One of them has beta-ed for me since 2010 and is the most awesome critic/spazzer a writer like me could ever wish for. And one of them is now taking the #SparkNA class with me and is helping inspire other writers to just continue sprinting to the finish line. Three people might be a few for many, but they’re worth so much more than that to me.
- To get a book printed and sold at local bookstores. This is something I’ve only really started working toward since I turned thirty. (Oh look, I’m not even concealing my age now, am I?) I promised myself I’d have something published by the time I turn thirty-three… and I really really hope I get to fulfill that. Which is why I’m working so hard on a new novella even when work (and the terrible summer weather) is killing my brain cells every passing day.
- To have a “senpai noticed me!” moment. It doesn’t really matter if it’s my favorite author (Hi, Mitch Albom!), or one of the face pegs for any of the stories I write… if someday they so much as tweet a link to buy my book on Amazon or anywhere else, I’m going to need an ambulance. I’m mababaw like that.
- To see artwork inspired by any of my stories. Because sometimes, my stories are inspired by certain works of art I randomly see on the internet, I think it would be really awesome and totally cool to see someone create an artwork inspired by scenes in my stories. Like if that actually happened, I would probably cry. A lot.
- To do collaborative work with my writer friends. And I’ve already declared this on Facebook too, haha! I would love to continue writing something that could eventually turn into a collaborative project between my friends and I because WHY THE HECK NOT. And because that would just be awesome. Who needs clubs if you have friends who’d love to tell stories with you? And oh yeah… I want this collaborative project to grow (exponentially!) so much and so well we would make short films and write soundtracks for it. Yeap. Yeaaaap.
I could go on and on all day with this, but I have to go sleep. (#SparkNA update: My Act 2 is done, YEAAAAAY!) Now I get to celebrate with my pillows for a max of five hours.
And what did I tell you about brevity? JFC.
Okay now, let me dream of any of these happening. Good Thursday morning!