I am a writer. I am not a fledging writer or a budding writer, I am a writer. It is true most of my works have been published on this blog, but I have written one novel and two novellas, though they have yet to be published. What few people know is that in between the two novellas and my novel, I had almost completely given up on writing.
My first novella is essentially a good old fashioned mystery with supernatural undertones. I wrote the story when I was sixteen and it really challenged my creativity. The first two drafts of it are horrendous, in fact, the third draft is almost an entirely different story with only a few themes copied. I could not believe I had actually finished it. I was ecstatic.
I immediately set about trying to find a publisher. Not knowing what to do, I sent out my manuscripts blindly. All of them came back with rejections, but one nice person added a note on my manuscript saying that I needed to find an agent and even recommended someone. I contacted that agent immediately.
He appeared to be a nice gentlemen and we talked often on the phone. I mowed lawns in order to get the money to pay his fee. Someone from a smaller publisher sent me a letter saying that they were considering publishing my manuscript as teen novel (that was pre-young adult). I contacted my agent asking if this publisher was legit and after getting confirmation, he went about negotiating for me. Somewhere around this time, he informed me he was leaving the agency he was working with to become independent. I had no problem with this as it made no difference as long as my novella moved forward.
Sometime after this, the agent dropped me. The only explanation I got from this man was that I was too much of a risk since I was so young. After only three days, he lost my number and email address. I tried to establish a rapport with the publisher myself, but the publisher refused to work with an “unsolicited manuscript” though they contacted me.
My world was crushed. That was when my writers doubt set in. During the negotiations of the mystery, I had begun work on a supernatural thriller. Though I finished it, I could not get into writing anymore. I lost all of my motivation to write and the doubt sinked into my mind.
I kept a journal where I wrote poems, but these were all nothing compared to the writings I had been planning. I sailed along in my doubt. I do not mean to sound melodramatic, but I was a teenager and I think my age combined with this rejection impacted my creativity even more. I did not write a single story outline or idea down for four years.
While I was going to school in Northern California, I studied Creative Arts and my teacher, whom I later interned for, saw my talent for writing when I helped write a short play for the drama team. She encouraged me and told me to pursue my writing once again for my creative project. I decided to take what she said to heart and I began a second draft of my supernatural thriller.
I will be honest, I had to force myself to do this. Four years of doubt really challenges your creative juices, but remembering my teacher’s encouragement, I powered through.
As I was writing and editing this draft, I could feel my creativity come out. I went through the whole manuscript from beginning to end. I edited it down and then built it back up.
I literally finished it the day before it was due. I had to borrow my roommate’s printer and pay him back for the paper and ink. As I presented it as my creative arts project, I felt this release. This was something I had accomplished. I had overcome four years of writers doubt and had done this. My creativity felt restored.
Though I have yet to be published, I am confident and proud that I am a writer. If you are suffering from writers doubt, find someone to encourage you. Take it, no matter how small and use it to power through so you can accomplish it.