Giving Myself The Permission to Dream: Come With Me On My Writing Journey
*finger guns* If you’ve seen me on the YWP, you’ve probably seen me talk about my current novel somewhere or other– especially in the writing group threads.
I’ve been working on the story itself for a long time, actually. Which is? surprising for me because I can get tired pf projects if I’m not Extremely™ careful. *eyes emoji*
[ Sorry, I don’t even know what normal people use the eyes emoji for? but I use it so often, this emoji is important to my soul, so insert a pair of eyes here ]
I started writing it back in 2015, and it was pretty much nothing like it was now. I laugh thinking back to what it used to be.
Given some thinking (and peeking onto my NaNo profile), I remember it was a story about fictional things coming to life. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of magic and stuff like that, so writing a story with magical (ish) elements seemed right up my alley.
Always gotta have that ooomph, something magical to lift a story off the ground for me to write it.
The funny thing is how I don’t even remember writing that kind of a story.
It evolved into something else entirely? Now it’s about the concept soulmates (!!!), and a dystopian (whoops my hand slipped) planet billions of light years from Earth.
But if we were to slide back into the vault of Haunted Stories Past™ and look very, very closely, we could probably find Violet flailing back in 2015 trying to write a story about this guy waking up from a coma with no memories and finding that his neighbour can shapeshift– because that very neighbour shrinks like 3 inches when they first talk, among else.
A fun time, truly.
Thankfully, the story has evolved over time. I’ve been penning it out ever since then, and the more I write it, the more I find myself adoring it. Despite its glaring plot holes.
I’ve always wanted to be a published author, deep down. I never let myself dream about that, however, because society had successfully drilled it into Past Me that being a successful author is something too ridiculous to pursue.
(And you know by now that I definitely think differently.)
For a long time, that meant I made myself fill my time with other things instead.
Instead of thinking about writing as more than a hobby, I had my “I want to be a pop star” phase, followed by my “I could be a video editor” phase, then later on followed by my “I’ll probably be a professional coder” phase.
It slowly went from “yay, I should follow my dreams!” to “I probably need to think ‘realistically’ here…”
[ *insert me wanting to shake Past Me by the shoulders and angrily drill it into her that pursuing your creative passions is not unrealistic and it’s POSSIBLE to pursue your passions and still make a living!* ]
Not to discount any of those other passions I’ve had, though. They’re valid, too!
But I love those as hobbies, as passions that come and go with the tides and don’t stick around permanently.
Video editing, for example– I get an urge only about once a year to go make a music video for the MMORPG that I play. It’s occasional.
Coding, as well, is very occasional. And singing is only something I do while I’m playing loud kpop, hehe.
Writing, however, has stayed on the beach– if we’re going to keep up with this metaphor. Other hobbies have washed away with the tides, but writing seems to be crucial to my beach.
If my life is a beach, and my hobbies are the waves that roll on the shore, I’m starting to wonder if writing is my sand.
It works because writing is that crucial to my being. I have to write, have to create sandcastles from the very stuff I forgot was trapped between my toes as I walked– and in the times when I can’t write, coming back and getting to write feels like I’m whole again.
Like I hadn’t even known that my soul was empty when it was.
[ also, insert the COINCIDENCE, I THINK NOT! gif because I actually love making sand castles in general ]
I remember back during fall 2016 when I pulled my laptop onto my lap and opened Scrivener, in the middle of whatever TV show my family had been watching. I hadn’t written in weeks, months even, and hadn’t really thought twice about it–
[ …did someone say twice? Whoops sorry. There’s a kpop group named TWICE, and I never resist the opportunity to link them ]
And when I began to thoughtfully contribute a sentence or two to the draft, feeling the inspiration for about that much, I remember getting this feeling of comfort within me.
I felt whole, in some strange manner, even if I wrote only a line or two. I felt home, comforted, like I’d meant to come back there, and a piece of me had been missing all that time– and there I was.
I think writing is even more like the sand on a beach, for me, if we still continue the metaphor. Because it waits for me while I tend to get distracted by the coming and going waves, and it’s always there.
It’s taken a remarkably long time in my life for me to admit that. I’ve mostly thought of it as only a hobby. But only within the last couple years have I made writing the priority it deserved to be in my life.
And for the longest time, I refused to give myself permission to dream.
Society drills it into us that we must do something “conventional” in order to be successful, and that non-conventional dreams (that are harder to to achieve) should just not be dreamed at all, because they aren’t “realistic”, aren’t guaranteed, aren’t consistent.
(But that’s simply not true, if you don’t want it to be.)
This eventually led me to talking to my mom for almost three hours about my future, and partway through that conversation something whacked me in the face out of nowhere.
I want everyone else to be able to dream. I want everyone else to stand a little taller, to hold onto their dream– no matter how “unconventional”– and prove society’s supposed rules wrong.
I want people to be able to do what they love and prove that you can do anything you set your heart on, if the fire within you is burning bright enough.
But I never give myself that permission. I never let myself dream, never let myself pursue my passion, even after I recognised that the reason why I haven’t is (in my opinion) a load of seasoned, glittery baloney.
(Another reason of mine has been “you’re too young”. To that I say, why couldn’t I have been another Christopher Paolini, if I dreamed and worked hard enough? Why not me, if I put heart and soul and work and perseverance into it intensely until I couldn’t?)
(But I digress.)
It’s made me wonder: if writing is the sand on the beach of my life, why haven’t I ever started seriously pursuing my writing?
Something else I picked up from that long discussion with my mom was another sort of realisation.
The realisation came in the form of my stomach doing a bit of an excited twirl– not unlike the excited twists and turns my cat Ollie puts himself through when I dangle a toy above his head.
Thinking about making a difference, maybe, even to just one person, feels like a dream. The idea of having a published book out there is, of course not only dreamy for its concept, but something that the fire within me desperately wants to reach.
Because I want to make a difference. Even if it means one person read my book, and some one thing about my book meant something to that person, that’s success in of itself, and that’s enough.
And with my last story, the one I’ve continued to pour my everything into, it feels different.
Often when I write and look back on a finished work, I get the same feeling: “Okay, now keep going.” I always have, so I do, and I’ll move on to my next story.
This time, however, when I looked back at my novel “sealed”, (lowercase intentional) I hesitated.
I hesitated, because it felt different than it always had– and I’ve been writing stories for so long that it was really, really weird to have a different feeling. It felt more like, “Okay, hold on, hold on just a diddly darn second there.”
And especially at a time where I’m working to throw away the work society has done to my brain in terms of how “success” is defined, hesitation to write more stories to pile up in an electronic drawer and a strange gut feeling that this story I love so much needs more attention than any other story I’ve written before are feelings I’m grabbing onto.
I don’t mean to say that I’m going to stop writing– rather, that this story feels different, for once, and I should do something about it.
And I mean it. I will.
I might not be the next Christopher Paolini, but I feel this gut urge to work on “sealed” and try to put it out into the universe, and I’m going to take that feeling and run with it.
It might be a good time to mention… *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
…that I really don’t know anything so far.
[ *insert some kind of cringing* ]
I don’t know much about the publishing industries, neither self nor traditional, aside from some pieces from a book or two and an expert or two.
And this is my first time properly working through the edits process– beyond simple grammar and style edits.
I edited one book before this (my magic series) in order to just print myself a copy to go on my shelf. (Which is a great thing, by the way, being able to have your own writing on your shelf.)
But that was only grammar editing.
However, all of that aside, it definitely does not mean I’m not going to learn.
And I wanted to talk about it here on my blog, because it’s going to be a scary unknown adventure with a lot to learn, and maybe we can all learn something from it together.
I don’t really know anyone who’s published their book before– and since I know that publishing a book is also a top goal for a lot of writers, I thought it would be really cool to at least talk about here. That way, we can ride this rollercoaster together and learn via all the mistakes, hurdles, and unknowns I’m bound to encounter.
(Granted, my future is very much unknown, and I can’t tell you or not whether I will get to publish this book. But the fire burning within me is burning very bright, and I’m not going to keep limiting myself based on the fact that I never thought I could.)
(Because… what if I can?)