Coming into 2020, I had my own vision of what I wanted as a writer -- to be traditionally published.
I write a lot of things: poetry, book reviews, essays, travel articles...
But, if I had to choose one thing I LOVE to write, it'd be stories -- thoroughly developed imaginative fiction. And I have a dream of being published (preferably traditional publishing) as a YA author. And for a while, that's all it was. That was the end goal. But for some reason it felt a little hollow. Selfish.
Would I love to see my titles on the spines of books in Barnes &Nobles?
Would I love to search my pen name on Google and see the title author next to it?
Would I love to collaborate with artists and create an anime-style adaptation of my work??
OF COURSE! AB-SOUL-UTELY!
BUT...But...I've come to realize the fulfillment of creativity doesn't lie in the circulation of my work. The attention my name garners. The life I breathe into my craft. It lies in the breath of those who pick up my story. In the hands of those who read my words. The eyes that examine my work.
The minds I can impact.
So, my purpose is bigger than being published. It's finding a way to use my writing -- my gift -- my imagination -- to support, collaborate, and inspire.
I'm moving through 2020 having faith, meditating, and writing with the hope that I'll see the God-given vision clearly. I have big dreams, as do many people, so I'm going forward to make the dreams of many come true one word -- one story -- at a time.
As a person who has grown up loving to read, loving to write, loving to dive deep into my imagination, I have had the unrealized dream of becoming a writer. And when I say unrealized I mean I didn't realize this was my dream until recently. But when I look back, my whole life has been immersed in writing and telling stories.
For as long as I can remember, I have been creating stories. In elementary school, the images of my bedtime stories swirled in my head, keeping me awake. In middle school, teenage romances made me too excited to fall asleep. And in high school, I couldn't rest until I put my own idea on paper.
Stories have been my best friends. Whether I was imagining characters, filling a brand new notebook with the worlds built in my head, or trying to draw a comic -- actually a manga with the desires of turning it into an anime one day -- writing has always been a part of me.
A few years ago, I started my first novel manuscript in my adult life (I've lost the few developed in my adolescence). During this time, I was at a really tough point in my life: I was teaching high school, working on my master's degree, and part of that time, working as a waitress just to get by. I had nothing to excite me. Nothing to fill me with the same warmth that burned in my mind and heart when I was a child. I didn't even think about writing, until one day the flame returned.
In a fleeting moment of silence, I had an idea. I drew my character. I gave her a name.
And then I sat at my computer and began to write. It took me years to finish an 80,000 word manuscript, and right now I don't believe its a story meant for publication, but a friend once told me 'No time writing is time wasted.'
The love that I put into that story, the passion that drove me to sit for hours -- YEARS -- crashed into me and it hasn't left. And I'm grateful because I realized the dreams I thought were long gone were still here, lying dormant in my mind, in my heart, just waiting for me to wake them up.
Sometimes I think about the time I've spent pursuing other things that didn't fill me with the same sense of purpose simply because I need to be an adult -- pay bills, own a home, get married, maintain a family, etc -- but I've come to realize that my dreams are not futile. They don't need to lie dormant anymore. And to be writer I don't need praise or recognition.
I just need to write.
The stories I love are the stories I want to tell. And hopefully, one day, someone can hear them and it can keep them awake, dreaming of new realms. New characters. New stories.
Just like me.