Words have always been a source of comfort for me. I taught myself to read at 4, and when I was about 6, I began writing short stories. Spreading words on a page helped me understand my complex nature and sparked my glitter-specked imagination. I wrote about girls who lived in volcanoes, girls with heart-shaped bodies, and girls who had magical powers. My young mind crafted moral heroines who were loved by their peers and feared by evil forces.
The longest story I ever wrote was 96 pages long. I was only 12 years old. After I had finished my homework, I would cackle away on Windows 97 every evening. My science-fiction masterpiece had a plot, tension, and a sense of urgency. I even wrote it in Eurostile to give it a sense of high-tech coolness.
Then, one day, my world was shattered. I sat down to work on my novel, and it was gone. My desperate C-drive search yielded nothing. The masterpiece I spent so many hours cultivating was gone, and, in the 12 years since, it seems my ability to write anything half as detailed has vanished as well. The farthest I’ve gotten is about three pages in–in other words, not even making a dent in a story.
I’ve tried to find reasons for this perpetual case of writer’s block but haven’t had any success. Giving up seems easier than facing this monster and churning out a novel, but I know that isn’t what God would have me do. Even as I hear Him rebuking the fear out of me, though, I still get tempted to cower under the pressure.
Perhaps this is because there is no prescribed trajectory for becoming a writer. People who aspire to practice medicine study biology or some other science in college. They take the MCAT, apply to medical school, get in, take a residency, and fulfill any other requirements to become doctors.
If only writing were that simple. An aspiring writer can work on the newspaper or yearbook in high school, major in English, journalism, or some other writing-intensive field, earn a ton of bylines, and still not be a writer.
But one day, in the midst of my should-I-be-a-writer ritual worrywart session, I had an epiphany–I’m already a writer. I arrange words on a page and I get a sense of satisfaction from it. What I want to become is a paid writer. I want to use my gift to earn my living, not just blow off steam–though it would be nice to do both.