Telling a story seems so simple.
You have a thought, an idea, a memory that you want to share and you just say it or write it, right?
That's what I used to think...
As a child, before I could comprehensively read, I would spend hours sitting in front of my bookshelf, staring at the rows of books in awe. It had 3 shelves, 3 rows and was short at about 3 feet tall but to a 4-year-old it was amazing!
One by one, I would take a book down from its place, open it gently, slowly turn each page as I became captivated by the neatly organized words in their rows and would imagine the story they were telling me.
Thus began my somewhat manageable obsession with books.
My connection with writing didn't come as easily. Throughout my life, I dallied in writing, trying to write a poem or a short story in one of my many fair weather journals but nothing really stuck, and I couldn't understand why I kept trying. Then while rummaging through old boxes of mine, I found some of my school projects from my high school and college English and Writing classes and realized that writing was something I had a bit of a knack for. The stories I had written weren't masterpieces, but I was proud of what I had put together and understood why I always went back to writing...
Writing is healing to me. Writing helped me express myself in ways that I couldn't do verbally and it supported me in making sense of things that I couldn't talk out.
When I was given my first diagnosis in 2005 I was also given a care package and within it included a cheap journal. In that journal, which I unfortunately don't have anymore, I started the writings of what has become my first book, 26 & Fu¢ked.
I formally started the writing adventure on my own in 2008, where I tried to turn my journal entries and experiences into a book. My self-teaching started me off decently but the writings were rough, dry, and my tone was very angry. I was disappointed in how untrue the writing was to the message I thought I was conveying. I decided to drop the project entirely until I was ready to tackle it from a more constructive place in life.
Then in 2014 the writing called out to me, like it knew I was ready to take it up again. This time though, the writing was vague and choppy. There were points I was trying to make that didn't fit or didn’t matter. Again, my focus of the story wasn't coming out the way that I wanted. 2 years later, in a bit of despair and a drive to truly make the book what it should be, I sought out a writing coach.
As a teacher, she provided lessons on the basics of writing, grammar and sentence structure, as a mentor she coached me through the more advanced science of crafting prose, character development, and management of the project itself. As a friend, she taught me to be open to writing’s fluidity and to allow myself to be vulnerable within the story.
She guided me, pushed me, and ultimately shaped me into a writer.
This journey of writing has taught me that a story is like life —
There is no perfect one, there will be tons of edits and major changes, and you can't predetermine the ending but when it's all said and done the one thing you can do is bask in its greatness.