I have something embarrassing to admit. Before I wrote my first novel, I thought you had to be a chosen one. Seriously. I thought it required a fancy degree or some special certificate or maybe an old man in a wizard’s hat came out to your house, interviewed you, and gave you a learner’s permit if he found you suitable. It seemed like such a daunting task that surely an average girl like me could never do it.
About four years ago, in my infinite quest for an excuse to give it a shot anyway, I came across the National Novel Writing Month website (is this where I apply for my permit?). Would you believe there were thousands of average people, just like me, writing novels together every year? People who weren’t even writing outlines or trying to get published? People who were writing novels purely for the enjoyment of it? I was so surprised, it took me reading the entire website and a full twenty-four hour’s contemplation to sign up for an account. I assure you–this is a long time for me. That November I wrote my first novel and it was all over from there. I was hooked. I was a writer.
No Longer “Aspiring”
Since then, hardly a week has gone by when I haven’t written something. I’ve completed another full length manuscript, started two more novels that have yet to be completed, written dozens of short stories, and penned hundreds of blogs. I think I would have made that old man in the wizard’s hat pretty proud.
When deciding to take the leap from thinking about writing to actually doing it, starting is the hardest part. There’s so much to learn, so much to practice, so much to grasp. More than that, though, is the lack of confidence in yourself. Before you complete your first work, it seems impossible. Sure, other people do it, but that’s just published authors, right? There’s no way I could write a novel, or short story, or article, or even a blog.
But here’s the thing: You can.
Know It Will Happen For You Too
If I could whip together a license or a certificate for you, I would. But I assure you, you don’t need it. Published authors weren’t always published and there was no fairy dust sprinkled on them at birth. The only magic trick they’ve come to master is writing when it’s hard, when it’s noisy, when the kids are nagging them, when they’re working overtime at their day job, when the spaghetti sauce is boiling over, when they’re in so much pain they can hardly think, and on those rare occasions when they finally get some peace and quiet for five whole minutes. The only secret ingredient is perseverance.
If you have yet to complete your first piece, keep writing. Have faith in yourself against all odds. I’m not sitting here telling you it will be easy. What I’m saying is it will happen. As long as you put your fingers to the keyboard or your pen to the paper every day, no matter what, one word will build onto another until you have sentences and paragraphs and pages. Until you have a story. Typing “the end” will be the greatest feeling and the greatest confidence builder you can ever imagine. Because once you know you can do it, you’ll also know you can do it again.
And then you’re not new anymore. You’re a writer.