As I start the week, and start a new project (that is really an old project), I wanted to try writing something different here on my blog.
Last week, I saw a fabulous post from Bette Lee Crosby (a fellow author and wonderfully lovely lady; you can link by clicking on her name) that I really liked -- and that really had me thinking. In the post, Bette wrote a letter to her younger self, giving encouragement, and looking back at all that has happened in her writing journey. I liked the post so much, I decided to try the same.
It's a bit telling, really. I definitely believe that writing has stages, and that every writer goes through many of them (I read somewhere once that if you can survive the first 15 years of writing without giving up, then you're golden and will be able to write easily. Here's to six more years). I've gone through quite a few writing stages since I started writing, and have even transformed one of them into a book to help other writers (see: Writing With Inspiration). Now, I'm embarking upon a new stage, and I'm not quite sure where it is going to take me. This stage has been brewing for a while now, and I've had some major ups and downs already, but I'm still striving to appreciate it, and what it can teach me.
Yesterday, I started on a new project (which I will probably be writing about later on), from years ago. This is a story that I love immensely, and that is helping me to re-connect with my younger writing self, who had such a passion for both writing and oddity.
So now, I look back at my younger self, and I want to say a few words to her. This younger self of mine is sixteen, still in her creative writing class in college, and doesn't know what is right around the bend...
Dear Younger Me ~
Hello, I see you there in that writing class, cringing at your fellow student's work, which you've been asked to edit for the class project. I see you smiling at both of your friends and subtly making slit throat gestures because this editing is killing you. I can tell what you are thinking -- and I can tell you that, sorry love, your future isn't going to be what you think.
You aren't going to keep both of those friends; one will move away, but one will end up being one of the best friends you've ever had. You aren't going to move to Orlando and work full-time at Disney, and you aren't going to get that Psychology degree you are contemplating. In fact, your life is going to change in a large way, and very soon -- for the better, but mostly, it's going to be hell, though you'll get through it, and you'll come out better for it in the end.
I wish I could tell you to write more, to get your thoughts down before they leave you, to finish the Fire while there is fire in it. I wish I could tell you to not be so afraid, especially when you start publishing. I wish I could tell you to not take everything so seriously, and to stop looking for the things that won't appear for years -- that still haven't appeared even now; I wish I could tell you not to cry over them, and to steel your heart with hope before it breaks. I wish I could tell you to be happier, to listen to your brother more. And also, I wish I could tell you to let go of things sooner, and to move on, to be stronger willed.
Less than two months from your creative writing class, your brother is going to be in a terrible accident, and you're going to be afraid though you won't be able to show it; but don't worry, because it's not his time, and God is going to give him back to you, and soon you'll have the most amazing sister-in-law you could ever ask for -- and you're going to write a story about your experience. You're going to write a few stories, in fact, one which you will pour over for years, until it is one of the first books you publish. Your grandmother will break her hip and join your home only shortly after your brother has recovered, and you will have to deal with both her physical and mental sicknesses; but don't worry, there's a story there, too.
You will fight through college, fight with your future, and fight with your family, but you will form some amazing bonds. You will learn that the people you care about are more important than anything else, and that the worlds your stories live in are beautiful. And don't worry, eventually you will listen to Honore and Indigo and Jack and Zarrod and Dais and Juliet and Jason, even if it will take some time. On that note, I wish I could tell you to listen to Victor sooner than you have, and I wish I could tell you how much you're going to love him, but perhaps you might tell me it's timing; I would thank you for that.
The road to your dream isn't going to be easy, younger me. You're going to make mistakes, which is alright because you're young -- at least, that's what people will tell you, and will keep telling you even when you're me; you won't believe them for a long while, and you'll strive for perfection, but then you'll realize that mistakes are okay, no matter what age you are, and you will come to be contented. And don't worry, you'll learn from these mistakes. You will miss the publishing bandwagon, and will begin self-publishing on your own later than you should have, but you will enjoy it, and gain some wonderful fans. You will overwork yourself, and nearly lose sight of everything, but you will come back stronger than before, and you will eventually find your place.
I wish I could tell you, younger me, to take one step at a time, and to never give into doubt, to never let go of God's hand, to keep in mind that your destiny is brilliant. I also wish that I could tell you it will be easy. I wish that I could tell you that you won't have to wait very long for either of your life-long dreams to come true, but then I would be lying. But I can tell you that it will be a very big adventure like you've always wanted, and that eventually, you will get where you want to be -- eventually, we both will, because you still have a long way to go, and so do I.
But I can tell you this, just as I can tell it to myself: