I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you guys! Maybe it’s because I want it as a reminder. Maybe it’s because I want you guys to hold me accountable. But today I wanted to share with you why I write and what I want from my writing career.
Now firstly, I do want a CAREER. As in, I want to continue to tell stories for the rest of my life, and be paid for it. I think it was last year when I gave myself permission not to publish any books. To never publish if it didn’t feel right. To not call myself an author anymore, even though I have actual books that people can purchase on Amazon should they wish.
The latter point is due to me not feeling as connected to those books as I once was. I’m still DEEPLY proud of them. I put so much time and energy into those books for years. I still think about those characters and those worlds. In fact, I read some of them this year to remind myself of what I used to create and the stories that I crafted for myself at such a young age.
They are very flawed, yes. I was, as I say, very young. They were all published by the age of 21!
There’s this question: Are a writer’s old works invalid? Because they weren’t their best work, do we discard them or tear them apart?
No. They are the making of that writer. You could argue that I should have waited to publish when I was older, and I can agree with that. But publishing was something that has aided me a lot over the years. I gave myself opportunities and made connections and even got jobs because I could say I was a published author, and not many young people could say that.
And last year, I gave myself permission not to publish because I wanted to feel free again. Writing with the idea of publishing can stifle your creativity. It puts so much pressure on you. If you’re like me, from a poor socioeconomic background, struggling for money, you know that (or you want to get to that point where) your writing can set you free. When you no longer need to be shackled to shit jobs and meaningless tasks from grumpy bosses that make you feel so unlike yourself.
That’s a LOT of weight for your writing to carry.
But I digress! I guess what I’m saying is, I fall in and out of love with the idea of being published. It’s scary. It’s hard. It can change a life, for better or worse. It’s a long road. Life happens in-between and that will effect your career. I know I have a lot to do WAY before my stories hit the shelves, and that’s daunting; it’s something I have to set aside for now so that I can just enjoy writing again.
But at the end of the day, I want people to read my work. Hence this blog; hence the story ideas that flood into my head and I call them “books” instead of just “stories”. They are things that I wish were books. Physical things that can be passed between individuals.
Why I write
All this is to say that I write because I have these things inside of me that need to be put into words. I’m not a lyrical wordsmith. I didn’t consume a plethora of books as a kid and decide that I wanted to write them myself. I just have this deep, complex, imaginative inner world that can often be my undoing, but is a calling to the page. I write to find clarity. I write to order the chaos. I write to discover. I write to create possibilities.
I can’t imagine a world where I don’t write. As HP’s author once said, ‘if I wasn’t a writer, I think I’d be depressed.’
It’s a part of me as much as laughing and dancing and eating noodles!
I don’t want to look back and see a girl who was afraid to write. I don’t want to look back and see someone who clipped their own wings. Now isn’t that a sad story?
What I want from my author/writing career
I want fans. I want fans who are the coolest, nicest, funniest people ever! I want them to find a home in my stories. You know those ones that are atmospheric and funny and wholesome and warm? I want to write those stories. (I think I’m getting closer to this with my new story idea!)
Stories where you have a cast of characters who feel like friends. They have found a family within the story, and you the reader feel like a part of that dynamic, too. Harry Potter was that for me and so many others. Friends who were there for you when you felt most alone. Hogwarts is our home.
I will never be HP-big, and I don’t think I could handle it if I was! So, no thanks! But I want that kind of vibe. I want that kind of fandom. Where kids band together and say, “I’m such a Ravenclaw!” or “Luna is my favourite character!” and they talk about Dobby as if he’s real. (He is, of course!)
I haven’t read many books like this. TV shows, yes – I’m looking at you, Avatar the Last Airbender! All of my favourite stories (books, TV, film) feature characters who are fun and devoted friends and awesome and passionate about things and magical and have a real sense of place and interaction with the world around them. That’s what I want to craft for the books I produce.
Those are the stories that stay with you forever…
I want my stories to be my passport around the world. I’m not going to lie, I want my books to be translated and I want to tour in other countries. I want to travel and see beautiful places. I’m scared to do so, but I know it will be so fulfilling!
I want my career to grant me financial freedom. Not to be rich. I’m not looking to write just to make millions (this would be entirely the wrong profession for that!) Instead, I want to be able to write and making a living with my stories alone (as in, not need another job on the side). I don’t need a lot, just enough to have a comfortable living and be able to support my family and do the things we want and need to do for a fulfilling life.
I want my writing to help me meet this world’s amazing people. I don’t need or want fame. I would love to be an author who is only ever recognised by diehard fans! I’m very introverted and partially socially anxious, so privacy and space is good! But I think some people in this world are awe-inspiring and have beautiful hearts and I want to meet them! I want to have brunch with them or go on writing retreats or do yoga together!
I want my books to feel like portals into other worlds, and I want my books to be my portal into another version of myself and my life. One where I know I was ME, the fully fledged, unapologetic, unencumbered me that I am inside. I know it won’t be easy and beautiful, but you go through hardship for the good, important things in life. I think this is one of those things.
I want to set myself free with my writing. We’ll see when (yes, when!) I can get there. I hope you stay for the ride.