It’s a pretty common term heard among authors that, when asked the question “Why did you become a writer?”, they respond with “I’ve been writing since I first could.”
In that sense, asking people why they write books is kind of like asking us why we breathe, and I’m a strong believer that I didn’t choose the writing life— the writing life chose me.
(In other words, I’ve been cursed since birth to live this wonderful-yet-frustrating life).
Being a creative writer is a lot of things. It’s insanely fun, because you get to create worlds and feelings and play havoc with reader’s emotions. But it also takes a tremendous deal of self-dedication and perseverance. The actual act of writing is donkey-sh*t and makes every writer want to go die in a hole, because it’s hard, and nobody wants to work hard. Especially when they can just go work at the local library or become a bookstore clerk, then come home and binge watch Netflix.
(BTW, in a lot of cases, authors are doing this anyway, because writing books is not a viable income stream in this day and age).
The life of a creative is a cursed life. You are cursed to always be inspired with ideas that plague you until you write them down or bring them to life. You are cursed with terrible pay and slaving away to make those books sales. It’s a tragic cycle that never breaks, and it can’t be broken— because if you were put on this Earth to write books, you will always come back to writing, no matter how many times you give up and walk away.
My Writing Journey…
My writing journey started with drawings that I would then convey as stories using my words, back before I could write properly.
My first book draft was a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory rip off called The Magic of Sandy Island, which I was inspired to write while playing in the sandpit after a storm, and shaping the sand into islands around the slush puddles of rainwater that had gathered.
In primary school, I dabbled with the concept of a ghost story that was only seven chapters long.
In high school, I wrote a 15-chapter long manuscript about time travel ft. witches and runaway school kids (???) that was actual poo and never saw the light of day.
Then I went on holiday with my friend to Daydream Island, which is one of the 74 Whitsunday Islands near my hometown in Australia. During my trip, I got inspired to write a romance featuring a love-hate relationship between a couple. By the end of the week-long trip, I was itching to get it on paper, and I spent the entire second week of my school holidays writing the entire book.
It was my best manuscript to date, and I gave it to all my friends to read. I was humbled when so many of them came back with genuine praise and admiration for my writing, and that was the first manuscript that I spent months editing and revising, believing it to have merit to it. I wrote two more books in the series before I gave up and put it away— because something just wasn’t right about it, but I couldn’t figure it out at the time.
I then went on to start my first, big, fantasy series, The Starlight Chronicles.
By the end of Grade 12, I’d written four books in the series. My English teacher had edited the first book for me, and I had queried the first book to my first publisher.
It got accepted.
Buuut everything went downhill after that— bankruptcy lead to me losing the contract, losing motivation, and losing faith in myself. Real life took over, and writing took a back seat in my life.
However, like I said, the creative life is a cursed life, and even though I wasn’t working on any books, a voice in the back of my head was constantly nagging me to. So eventually, I got up, and pulled out the manuscript inspired by my Daydream Island holiday. I rewrote the entire manuscript in a week— and was pleasantly surprised by how much I was able to change and improve the story after years of separation from it.
I went on to self-publish this book as Stuck on Vacation With Ryan Rupert, and from this, my entrepreneurial love was born. I realized that I loved the process of self-publishing my own work. I loved marketing and learning how everything works together in the business world. I loved seeing reader’s reactions to my work, and seeing my crafted worlds impact them the way I’d wanted it to.
And from that moment, I knew in my heart that writing isn’t just a part of me— it’s who I am. I am a writer, and I am on this Earth to create worlds and bring them to life, through any means possible.
That is why I write books.
Read the next part of my journey: My experience working in a publishing house.