I am sure there are people out there who wonder what it’s like to be a teenage writer. Some people already know. Some wrote for kicks or for escape like I did. From being a published author I have learned there are a few other people who began writing as teenagers, but those first works never will leave the computer or desk drawers. But, hey, at least they started!
For me I was a hard core writer at 16. I wanted to write a saga for my own enjoyment. My debut novel Neiko’s Five Land Adventure was the one that started all of it. It was perfected over the years and polished after I got talked into publishing. I wasn’t going to publish it. A lot of people talked me into that, but that’s a tale for another time.
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I began writing the books so I could escape and still go on my imaginary adventures. I was just doing it in a different way. Also we were living in a subdivision at the time in the suburbs. Being from the backwoods, I felt like I was in a cage. I needed to do something quick. I could only play video games only so much; I was used to being outside.
What did my life look like?
I had a lot of free time on my hands sometimes since I wasn’t going off with friends all the time. I had friends, but the town I lived in was kind of quirky. I was one of the ones who had a lot of friends, but I didn’t fit in anywhere. They didn’t like me enough to include me into the clique. Not being in the clique means I don’t enjoy going to hangouts or to people’s houses. I went to someone’s house maybe four times the entire four years of high school.
My parents felt I needed to concentrate on my school work so they didn’t force me to hold a job during school since I wasn’t busy joyriding. I didn’t date either. I didn’t feel like anyone was genuinely interested in me as a person. They only wanted something FROM me; they didn’t care about me as a person. I was anyone’s last resort. If I had gone out someone on an outdoorsy excursion, I may not be invited back if I outfished my date. I could outfish my childhood playmate from another time, another place. Also, I don’t think too many guys knew how to date a tomboy even if I did go out or found someone worthwhile.
I was with my family most of the time. I had lunch alone most of the time during school. When I began my first book I began to brainstorm as I munched in silence. It would stay in my head and then I would dump it on the computer. I taught myself how to write books. I didn’t have teachers. The teachers didn’t teach us how to do this in class. They barely taught anything about dialogue. As I mentioned in my last post, I had plenty of practice at it playing. Mostly I just learned the form of how it was done on paper. I was now doing a three dimensional thing on a two dimensional plane. Maybe this is where the challenge of writing exists. I don’t know. I prayed for band practice to end early and/or I wouldn’t have homework, so I could write.
Sometimes band practice and homework would get in the way. I was ticked off when I had to lug every book home from every subject. I felt the same way when teachers did this to me when I couldn’t go or had to go on a short backwood excursion. The. Exact. Same.
Summer vacation is when I did the most writing. I would stay up in the wee hours writing. Since the computer was in my parents’ room I would keep them awake and they would try to make me go to bed. They had a hard time pulling me away from the computer to eat dinner. Chore day sucked the most. I would hurry up and do them so I could get back to the computer. On vacation the writing notebook and the drawing paper came too. If I wasn’t swimming, walking, or resting, I was writing!
I wanted to get to that adventure and to that escape. It was as necessary to me as chocolate and oxygen as time went on. I didn’t care if I was left out of anything–I had something better at home anyway! Writing and drawing was better than gossiping about people any day!
I never told anyone about it during school. It was my little secret. People already didn’t understand me so why was it worth sharing? No one understood anything I did anyway–they still don’t. I didn’t write about anybody in school in case anyone ever wondered. I did that in a journal, not in my books. My characters already existed from years earlier or I made new ones. People were mean in school, but not mean enough for my worlds…they would have been butchered, scalped, eaten by velociraptors, or worse! They would last very long in Hawote, the Five Lands, or in ancient Egypt. I’d give them two seconds. Even a teacher I didn’t like didn’t end up in the books.
Now, years later, people from school who friend me on Facebook are now finding out about what I was doing in school during all the alone time. They never guessed. I turned my isolation into something constructive. No one from school is on Twitter that I know of. Maybe a couple, but I never see them. Maybe because they don’t @ me or use hashtags.
There are very few teen writers in Georgia where I live. There are few authors in general. I’ve been able to find a few on social media and networking. It is great to connect. I have found my belonging. The group I never had in school.
If anyone is wondering, I am not a teen now. I am just a young adult just breaking into her 30’s at the time of this writing.