Friday, May 10, 2013

Five Reasons Why I Will Never Be Able To Stop Writing...Except To Be A Missionary

1. Writing Saved Me

When I was twelve or thirteen, I went through what I call my "dark age". I struggled with pretty much everything - bad family relationships, my supposed lack of friends, how ugly I thought I looked, and wondering what my purpose even was.

One late night, it all came to a head as I had a long (we're talking hours here) inner battle with my demons, and finally fell to my knees and prayed desperately for help.

Two days later, I found a website that was bookmarked on the computer. It was one a friend had introduced me to several years earlier, but that I hadn't even thought about since. I threw myself into this new site, first reading fanfictions like crazy, and then turning to writing them. With the discovery of this site, all my struggles disappeared as my focus was completely absorbed into this new site.

I've since graduated from writing fanfiction to writing my own, original stuff, and I rarely work on any of my half finished fanfictions anymore, but I can't find it in me to stop working on them permanently, because they were my real start to writing.

I do consider it a miracle from God that I discovered writing when I did. Writing probably saved my life and definitely helped me work through all my struggles in a timely manner.

2. Writing Fits My Imperfections

I'm kind of a perfectionist. But I'm also incredibly impatient. It's not a good combination. I always start to do something, and have a brilliant idea for it, then rush too much, because I'm impatient to be done, mess it up so it isn't perfect, and then give up on it. Then next time I come back to it, I regret that I ever rushed and try to do it again, only to, rather than fix the problem, have it happen again, making a bigger mess. That's why I don't do crafts very often.

The thing about writing, is that it won't be perfect the first time you do it. The first draft is meant to be a mess.     My impatience causes me to just write and get it done with as fast as possible. My perfectionism causes me to return to that mess time and time again to fix it, and it's the one thing that actually is improved by each new revision.

And yes, I've never had a story that I thought was perfect, but at one point, it reaches a point where I think it's good enough, for the moment, and I post it up for people to read. Even those stories are constantly being rewritten and reposted, however.

I don't know if I'll ever publish anything professionally, just for this reason. I'd never be satisfied with the finished result. You can't exactly keep rewriting a book once it's already published, without ending up with a dozen different editions, anyway.

Even so, you can't deny that writing is one thing that fits okay with my perfectionism and impatience.

3. Writing Fulfills My Unrealistic Dreams

I've dreamed of traveling the world since I was a kid. It will probably never, realistically, happen. But one of my characters went to Venice.

Yes, I've fantasized about getting a tattoo. It'll never happen. But one of my characters got one.

Living on a moon colony? Time-traveling? Marrying prince charming? Probably won't happen to me, but it did happen to my characters.

I live through the experiences of my characters. It helps me explore the world as I sit in my bedroom, living a normal life, surrounded by normal people.

4. Writing Is a Cheap Substitute For Therapy

I can now say it's a fact that writing is therapeutic for me. I've been through a lot lately, and writing always made me feel a whole lot better. Even if I was writing about something that had nothing to do with what I was going through. Maybe it's just me allowing my mind a break from turning the situation around and around as I think about it constantly that makes me feel better. Or maybe it's the reminder that my issue is no worse than some of the things my characters have to go through, and they all survive, don't they? (Well...most of them survive...) Whatever it is, it works.

5. Writing Brings Back My Childhood Happiness

When I was little, I used my imagination a lot. I roleplayed as quite a few different things with my imaginary friend, I played with horse figurines with Lydia, and I explored and read like my life depended on it. That all stopped the moment I discovered technology (which is why I've decided I'm keeping my children away from technology as long as is humanly possible). My imagination slowly started to fade away.

And then I found writing and suddenly, that imagination that had been used constantly as a child was reignited. There are whole worlds in my head again. Granted, I'm usually not the main character anymore, but I'm still there, walking with my characters through enchanted forests, ducking the fairies that love to dive-bomb people. Or I'm following a character across the surface of the moon, hiding from the cameras and lenses that the aliens of Earth like to stalk the people on the moon with. Or I'm exploring a cave which will bring my characters into another dimension.

My writing brings back my childhood. The innocence and wonder and excitement that playing brought to me as a child is returned as I create whole new worlds to put my characters in. As I create exotic places for scenes to happen or create new creatures and people for my characters to interact with, it changes my life. The dullness of attending college classes or other necessary adult activities is partially wiped away as suddenly I'm transported to a place I can call all my own, that is designed just to my liking. It's kind of amazing, if you think about it.

Serving As A Missionary Means No Writing For Eighteen Months

And now you see why I would never be able to give up writing permanently. It means far too much to me. I don't know what I'm going to do without it for eighteen months, but I know God introduced me to writing, so he'll provide a way for me in the eighteen months I have to live without it in order to serve him.