When I read interviews of authors I admire, they always talk about how they “always knew they wanted to be a writer.” They talk about the stories they used to write anywhere and everywhere, ever since they were little. And I love stories like that, I really do.
But I am trying to be a writer, and when I think back on it… It was when I was 13 or 14 that I got the writing bug. THAT’s when I started planning stories and writing with friends and writing on school bus trips by the light of my iPod. I always (and this is where my self-doubt comes in) wondered why I didn’t start sooner. Would I be a better writer if I had started sooner? Can I be considered a writer if I didn’t start sooner?
There was a period of my life where I didn’t write. When I was in the 5th grade, I failed some state standardized writing test we had to take (Have I mentioned I hate standardized tests?). They made my mom do writing workshops with me. They threatened to put me in remedial writing classes, even though I was in advanced reading classes. I remember feeling embarrassed and awful that I wasn’t a good writer. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach that gave me. It wasn’t until 7th or 8th grade that I was able to pick up writing again.
This week (it’s spring break, weeee!), I was helping my mom clean out my old bedroom when I stumbled upon it. The evidence that maybe I have always been a writer. In the top drawer of my old dresser was stowed away autobiographies, reports, silly stories about my friends and made-up characters, and newspapers that I created (about the solar system, about trips to grandma’s house), all written before that terrible 5th grade test. I had forgotten all about them.
And I wish I had taken pictures to post here. My silly stories with my terrible handwriting.
I know it’s dumb, to find this kind of thing validating, but it’s nice. It’s nice to see how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go.
I’m finally revising my novel. This is a pretty big deal because the only thing I have EVER revised is a story I have been writing with a friend. And even that is just checking for continuity. This time, though, I am trying my hand at actual revision.
Ugh, it’s hard. I mean, not to sound whiny or anything (my last few entries have been incredibly whiny), but it’s sooooo hard. I thought I could get it done in a month, but with the amount of mental energy it’s taking, it’s going to be so much longer.
I’ve never ever been good at the revising. Editing, sure. But once I have written something, it’s written. I don’t like taking scenes apart and rewriting them again. This story, though, needs some plot fixing. It really does. So I am going to need to do that. I wrote this novel two years ago, so getting back into the headset of these characters is difficult. How do I make it work? How do I make it consistent?
I guess it’s just frustrating. At the heart of everything, I am a perfectionist. I want it to be perfect. I know it never will be, at least not with me. I’ll nitpick and nitpick. I just have to figure out where to stop.
Another list by Elizabeth Doherty (yes, this is what today’s to-do list looks like… with commentary)
- Get ready for work tomorrow (I can’t be the only one who gets their clothes and stuff ready beforehand, right? It means I get to sleep in!)
- Check celebrity gossip sights (It’s research, okay?! Kind of. Maybe a little bit. Okay, it’s just fun.)
- The Policeman’s Ball (My goal is to get my first novel published this summer, but it needs revision. I’m on my first of at least two revisions, and it’s hard. I wanted to get four chapters done tonight. Maybe I’ll just do two. I’m so tired.)
- The Walking Dead (Have to finish my rewatch so I can cross it off my list and start something new. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt maybe???)
- Steam eyes (I’ve been having some trouble with them. My doctor told me to do this. My grandma had eye problems SO I AM TERRIFIED.)
- Write blog (Can they tell I only update these things on Tuesdays? It’s my light day! I can’t help it!)
- 10,000 steps (Why haven’t I hit that goal yet? And how am I going to do that in an apartment?)
I make one of these every day. Can you tell why I lovehate lists?
A list by Elizabeth Doherty
- Suddenly you need tons of sleep. Remember when you could stay up until the early morning hours and be (mostly) fine? Not me, not anymore. More often than not, if I am not sleeping, I am thinking about sleeping. And the sleep I get? Never enough. I want to sleep all of the time.
- The increasingly short time in the day. Where do all of the hours go? Between work, socializing with friends and family, reading, exercising, binge watching Netflix? There is no time. No time to sit and be me. How am I supposed to get anything done?!
- Metabolism catching up with you. I miss cookies. And mac and cheese. Who am I kidding? I still eat them. But now my waist shows it.
- Bills. What is an adulting list without bills? Can’t I just keep my money?
- Responsibility. Don’t they realize that my brain still isn’t completely developed yet? Don’t they realize that I can’t make toast without burning myself? Don’t they realize that I still collect figurines? Why are you trusting me to work a job, rent an apartment, be a grownup? It’s too much!
- Whining is not as endearing anymore. My 7th graders whine to me a lot, about everything. But they’re teenagers. It’s to be expected. You know they’re going to grow out of it. Adults aren’t supposed to whine in lists like this. Right? Maybe.
*insert I threw it on the ground gif*
To be continued…
I’m just tired, guys. Do you ever feel this way?