I went poking around on my computer today, mostly trying to clean old and outdated files off of my hard drive. I stumbled quite randomly over a few old stories I had written eons ago. I found the folder I saved them all in and began sorting through them, and what a crazy trip down memory lane it was.
Most of these short stories were laughably awful and woefully unfinished. One or two were actually quite long, and one was an unfinished poem that I deleted for lack of promise. Some were fan fictions, others were my own inventions, all of them were at least 5 years old and more realistically 7 to 10 years old.
It was quite nostalgic, really, reading these things that I was so passionate about as a younger person. Reading them again so many years later brings back the memories of writing them, long hidden away in some cobwebby corner of my brain. I remember the old computer we had at my parents’ house when I was a kid. Boxy and grey and slow as molasses in winter. I used to spend hours on that thing writing stuff. Any kind of stuff. Fan fictions, horror stories, poems, silly parodies. You name it, I probably wrote it at one point.
There was the massive Harry Potter fan fic I crafted one year in junior high, a fad among my friends who were all fans of the books. This thing was probably 70+ pages long in its original format, not counting the “sequel” I wrote and abandoned or the “spin off” I started and never finished. It involved all of my friends as Hogwarts students alongside the original characters from the book. I don’t even remember the plot, but it was awful. Hilarious, cringe-worthy, poorly written, smutty, and yet so very wonderful. It reminded me of when we were kids and Harry Potter was our life and every single one of us wrote some sort of awful fan fiction immortalizing ourselves forever in the halls of Hogwarts.
There was a three-part horror series I wrote which got rave reviews on a website I used to post my work to many years ago. It got the attention of a horror website who asked to feature it and I was honored to let them do so. My favorite genre is and always will be dark, creepy, fantasy-horror.
I also wrote countless little stories about horses. And centaurs. And weird little things like robots and vampires and prehistoric people. I was eclectic in my tastes and ravenous in my desire to write. If your child has any obsession, I’d be willing to bet an obsession with writing is one of the best ones to have.
One of my favorite stories that I rediscovered was a short story I wrote about ten years ago. I know this because I remember sitting at our old house writing it, and we moved out of that house 9 years ago (almost ten). So it’s an oldie, which, compared to some of my other work from that same time period, should mean it’s hilariously bad. It isn’t. As I reread it, I realized that I was good back then. I was probably 14 years old. I’m 24 now. If I was on form back then, time can only have improved my abilities. It was the kind of reassurance I needed to take the next step in the writing process: publishing my work.
The next step isn’t simple and it isn’t easy. I have an idea for a series in mind, and a lot of the greater details have been hammered out. Writing it is the hard part. Actually forcing myself to sit down and begin the process of putting thought to paper is harder than any other step, but it’s the most important one.
I hope I can make myself do it. Writing has always been my passion and publishing a book has always been my dream. I would be very unhappy if, upon laying down to sleep one night at 90 years old, I realized I never published a book. Meaning to do something or wanting to do something is not the same as actually doing it.
Now is as good a time as any, I think. I hope some day I can make a post titled “A Work in Progress: Finished.”