Sometimes I think it’s funny how many factors led to my love of writing and, ultimately, my goal of becoming a published author. When I was younger, I was bent on becoming a veterinarian. I had toy vet equipment and performed daring, life-saving operations on an array of stuffed animals. I dressed up as a vet for halloween when I was five. I liked reading—it was fun. And I liked writing too. I wrote what I thought was a very clever story about two dogs that had a tyrannical rule in the dog park until the Cat Fairy turned them into kittens. But wasn’t until I was about nine or ten that a group of friends invited me to join their top-secret and most prestigious writing group. I had some ideas, and I thought it would be fun to write and share our work. That was when my mindset began to shift, and I found myself saying, “Yes, I want to be a vet, but maybe I could be an author on the side, or write just for fun!”
It was around that time that I found the Redwall series, which, as I’ve written before, sparked my love for reading anew, especially fantasy. Shortly after, I discovered Lord of the Rings, read Narnia, and Percy Jackson. Those only fueled what became roaring flames, and I realized that I really found my niche. But I still wasn’t completely sure about being a writer.
It wasn’t until about three years later when another friend of mine introduced me to NaNoWriMo, which helped me realize just how much I loved to write. (And you can read that story here!) I remember sitting down and staring at the words The End, thinking to myself, “Wow, I want to keep doing this!” And so I did.
Throughout the years, this conviction wavered. Some people were discouraging. I began to see what a gigantic task writing really was. I got sick. Things seemed to start to work against me, and I started doubting the viability of writing as a career, or as something worth pursuing. There seemed to be higher things, more important things, more practical things, and perhaps writing should simply be a hobby after all and nothing more.
It was around this stage, as I slowly lost grip on what was once an all-consuming dream of mine, that the clouds of discouragement slowly faded. I found people who encouraged me, namely my wonderful critique partner and beta readers, who showered me with genuine support. I found more efficient ways to learn about the writing craft, discovering communities and resources that aligned perfectly with my own values. I got a handle on my health and found my focus. And once again, that dream flared in my heart again as I pictured a glossy copy of my book, my book, sitting pretty on a shelf in a bookstore, eagerly swooped up by a vivacious reader and held dear to their heart.
I found a new clarity through those hardships that I hadn’t had before, and the dark discouragement only helped me realize how strong my resolve really was, that I was able to hold onto my dream if only barely. And I still write, as you’ve probably guessed. I’m still a far ways down the mountain, looking up at the cloud-covered peak I’m trying to reach, but I’m comforted by the things I’ve learned and the things I’ve gone through, grown in, and overcome.
I’m not an author…yet. But one day I will be. And I won’t give up until I am.