When I first started writing, I never envisioned myself publishing my first book at the age of 20. I started young. I wrote diaries and stories where it didn’t seem to have an end and was messy. But it was a necessary learning experience. I won’t say I’m at par with Danielle Steele or Nicholas Sparks now – not even close. Yet I did grow as a writer on my own.
When I published my first book, it was a big deal. It took time to get it in my system that I had written a 300+ page novel in under a year. But I never really thought of how long I had written the book. What mattered to me then was if the story I had written made me want to read it. Having exposed to great authors and reading their works, inspired me to want to write something that will give me the same effect as those books had for me on an emotional level.
You might think I had been confident and driven, but I wasn’t. I don’t want to sugar coat it. The first time I’ve posted my story was nerve-wracking. What got me the courage to press the ‘publish’ button is the thought of sharing my story. And what it felt like when someone understood what you had written and connected to that character.
When I read my first ever review on a short story, it gave me a sudden rush of euphoria and accomplishment. Those constructive criticisms hadn’t dented my will to continue writing, though I had little confidence to go on writing online. But it all came down to belief on my own strength and capabilities. I gave myself patience and allowed time to see the growth I made. Also, I faced a challenge to use a language that wasn’t my mother tongue. It was another roadblock for me to overcome.
It had been difficult. But it doesn’t mean I’ve neglected in learning the language itself. I won’t deny my sloppy grammar and typo errors, which can be easily fixed by studying and knowing your own weaknesses. Yet to have the passion to want to learn, it was a different roadblock to face. However, I persevere because I find comfort it using it as a means of communication. Difficult it may be; it wasn’t a hindrance if you love the topic you are studying. Even now, I’m still learning. And each day I learn new words.
After my first book had published, I saw a lot of faults in my own writing habits and ignorance on the craft. Writing a book wasn’t just grabbing a pen and scribbling whatever idea comes up on the top of your head. It is systematic. Every plot twist and turns, how the character acts, even minor details need to be planned. You live and breathe in these stories. You are investing time to tell a story as clean and direct as possible. It’s difficult to hold people’s interest when you don’t know what kind of topic you wanted to tell.
I’d admit. I’m that kind of writer before, and at times even now. But I’m learning still. Mistakes will always be there and it’s shouldn’t be a reason for you to stop your craft. So before taking up your computer and laptop to write chapter one, it’s best to note down what story are you writing. I’m making a habit of it now.
It was a learning experience each time I wrote a new book. For me, it was best to learn while applying it at the same time. The best kind of motivation is through the world seeing your faults. And some level of embarrassment is necessary to keep egos in check. Though I’m a published author now, there’s a long way to go to become a great storyteller.