I realized I wasn’t breathing when my vision started to go grey and I felt myself tipping off the back of my old stool that sat in front of my first ever new laptop. I had had the stool for ten years. Before it sat in front of my vary old Casio where I made music. The laptop was a Mac, new and purple. The thing on the screen that had caused such dizziness and shock was an email from school. Well, two emails from school. The first said something like “Congratulations, you are invited to the Symposium of Scholarship and Creativity” and then went on to tell me the program. That meant honors in English.
For years, my dad has reminded how expensive my orthodoction was. He told me about my Spec Ops brother who had his school and house bought for him by the US Air Force. He told me about my other brothers and how they both got many offers from private colleges for full-ride scholarships. They all went on to do great things. Then there was me. Not even out of high school and had a record amount of dental bills and medical issues with joints, breathing, and brain activity. That’s why I remembered to breath when I saw the email: don’t disappoint dad now! He said that if I was going to graduate, I had to do it with honors. Or not at all. Everyone else before had.
The second email was about graduation. I have no idea what it said now. All I know was that it was about graduation and it was talking to me. I’ve lived in 3 states and gone to for colleges in the last 3 years and have been in college for six. I never thought graduation would come. But it has. And this has been a fantastic year. Last semester was better. I wrote a novel, a novelette, 3 short stories, and plotted an entire series.
This semester, I struggled to get twenty-five pages out. Fortunately, I told myself, “It’s only twenty-five. Last time, you could do that in three days without editing. A week with.” I kept remember my first class in Cap Stone. “I reall really want to be a writer,” I had said like a high school freshman.
I had to remind myself of that kid to get any writing this semester. My parents think that science and math are the be-all end-all of the universe. I had to take statistics this semester. I wish I could just blame the four hours a day I spent studying on that for my lack of writing this semester. I say lack, but I did get two short stories and twenty-seven pages of some kind of supernatural novelette written. The point was that it wasn’t the amount of last semester and that’s what I wanted. But I had to get a B+ in stats. That is not happening.
I had to remind myself of my much younger-last-semester-self because I wasn’t writing. I was working hours on a class that doesn’t matter. I was crying at night over formulas I will never see again. I don’t know how many there are, but I have learned thirty new ones just this semester. I can tell you the probability that someone will kick a field goal this year. But that will not help Glenn, my paladin-knight from a long novel, claim the dragon-throne for his own and show the world how the lines between power and corruption are thin. No, instead that formula stopped Glenn from even existing in my head for some time.
Like all bipolar, depressed kids, I went for an escape but didn’t have the brainpower to write it away. I couldn’t even read. So I played online games. But there, in the battlenet chatrooms I was guilt tripped again. Some user had the audacity to call themselves Claredy-catgirl99. Clare is another character of mine. It was as though writing was calling me beyond the isolation room I had sent it off to.
I was distracted by gaming nonsense and mathematical nonsense. More than learning cool writing techniques (and that when I write non-fiction I apparently demean men) I learned to prioritize. Again. I learned that back in grade school, but I had to relearn. Rather than stay up to all hours screaming at my calculator as I typed in wrong integers again, or instead of logging on to League of Legends, I started to write again. It was very, very hard.
I had a run-in with someone from my parents church who told me about how great religion was so I wrote about them. Religion then become an automaton in a steampunk story where God was represented by the a grandfather clock. The Man ran away in the end and it was all very sad, but it may be my favorite story. It was very literary and I tried a lot of techniques in it. Trying to write like a writer really got me back into writing.
That was all it took though. I know writing and I are destined to be together now. A little nudge and I was hammering away till 2am rather than crying until 2am. I wrote more on my Golmasiah series in which Hypria discovers new islands and tries to combat hunger with magic. I found myself tying that post-colonialism and poverty in the world today. It is a rather odd commentary, I admit, but one I was very interested in tackling. It also helped me tackle the age-old question of “why don’t wizards just make magic food?” Because it goes really wrong. Like eating food that’s been touched by large amounts of radiation.
I also had to learn to not hold onto everything I wrote. I’ve been learning that for years but this strange, supernatural thriller I have going on may be the cherry. When I started writing it, it wasn’t supernatural. I didn’t know what it was. A travel narrative maybe. But then it got weird when the main character ended up at a crossroads. I think I was writing the story as an analogy of itself. It may still be. I don’t know. But that is the twenty-seven pages I got out this semester. I doubt I’ll keep it. But it was practice. I used to say that I only when inspiration strikes. That can’t be true for me any more. If I want to be a writer, I need to write—anything!—every day. Practice. How will I know if I am saying something the wrong way if I haven’t tried it? I say, write all the time and makes mistakes all the time so I know, all the time, what not to do. And what to practice.
If I write everyday, there is a chance that I will write a description or scene twenty times in a month. Maybe in different stories but similar scenes. One will be better than the other nineteen. That means there is a .052 chance that I write something good once a month if I write every day. Oh, look there, Statistics! Maybe it’s not worthless after all?
That chance isn’t that big, but it’s bigger than the next person who only writes when inspired. That means that they write far less and have far less of a chance of getting it right. This semester was a struggle, but I learned what it takes to keep writing. And if I want to be a writer, I must keep writing. Every day.