I wrote a book.
I wrote a book. I repeat this to myself every day. It doesn’t seem anymore real then when I finished the rough draft. Five drafts later it’s still not real. It could be a physical book in my hands and deep down I may still suspect someone else wrote it. But I wrote it. I wrote a book.
I decided I was going to write a book when I was eleven years old. It seemed so natural back then. Growing up my house was stuffed with all types of books. Everything from old Donald Duck comics to murder mysteries. I read my first adult book when I was ten (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and I decided I was going to write a book as well. How hard could it be, my younger self thought.
My first book…was not good. Also I didn’t really write it. ‘The Heroic Amateurs of the Three Kingdoms’ was a fantasy novel written by me and my brother. Well, I wrote down slop in my awesome CGI 90’s covered diaries and Max actually made it into something readable. I lost count of the times I would fall asleep on the couch listening to my brother type on our family computer. In the end the book was ‘finished’ my freshmen year of high school, and I still have the printed out copy on my bookshelf.
The plot wasn’t exactly great. Or orginal. There was a dragon, a princess, and the lamest hero ever created. Not the sidekicks Mia and Drake, they were awesome. I mean the main character. Her name was Jen Dreamer and she was the Maryist Mary Sue who ever did live. She was everything I wanted to be and apparently that meant being super bland while wearing a leather vest. Her main power was standing around and announcing what was happening while everyone else did the actual work. Still, not bad for team effort between a grade schooler and her teenage brother. It also taught me two very important lessons about writing:
- Writing sucks
- The only thing worse than writing is editing
I’ve known people older than me who haven’t learned those lessons. They instead nod and talk about oh, they would totally write a book if they had the chance. But they won’t. Because writing SUCKS. It feels like ripping chunks out of your flesh and stapling it onto a piece of paper only to be told that you used the word ‘just’ too many times. And while you’re standing there admiring your Merchant of Venice scenario there’s nothing you can do but admit that yeah, maybe I should go back and cut out some unneeded words.
But I did it. I wrote, I edited and I took an unreasonable amount of naps. There were hours spent at cafes, lunches spent typing, and more than a few times I huddled under a blanket until the self-doubt went away. And I ended up with a book for my efforts.
I wrote a book.
Just like my eleven year old self wanted to.
And twenty years later I did.