I’ve always been a writer, a story finder. I was writing short stories ever since I learned to string two sentences together. I even made use of writing during the hard teenage years, when everything seems bleak and you’re looking for your way. It was my refuge when there were no friends to be found, when there was no one who seemed to understand.
I lost it, though, as I went into college because short stories weren’t what I wanted, what I needed to write. I had the drive to write a novel, an epic journey as those Tolkien wrote about, but I just couldn’t do it. By the time I finished the first two paragraphs, my story idea seemed foolish and uninteresting.
Discouraged, I gave up on the idea of being a writer, focusing on what I thought I could be successful at: science. There was no more time for writing in between the classes, labs, new friends and experiences, and all that. When I started my PhD, there was even less time for writing.
Then, it was time to sit down and write my thesis. I was afraid but wanting to finish that chapter in my life. I sat down, legs shaking, fingers sweating and opened the new document.
The blank page stared at me accusingly but as any good scientist, I filled it with facts that I needed to add to my literary review and methods I had used in the lab. Without noticing I crafted a story of what I had done and what I had discovered over the years of hard work.
Somehow, there was a sudden click and I could write longer pieces of work, even if it was science and not a fictional story. That experience got me thinking that maybe I did have what it takes to write a novel. I just had to try and give it my best.
I’m working on it now. I’m editing my first novel now and I have several new writing projects on their way. I took a 10 year detour, but I’m getting there.
Am I good at writing novels? I don’t know. Will I be successful? I don’t know that either. But I do know that I’m doing my best to improve each day, one way or another.
Sometimes all it takes is a click to get back on the horse after you’ve fallen. It takes deviating from the path you thought you wanted to learn something that will bring you back a full circle. It happened to me. It could happen to you. Just be open to new experiences that can lead you back where you belong.