I wrote the first words of my first novel on November 7, 2012. But there was a journey getting to that point.
As I noted in a previous blog post, I wouldn’t be a writer without Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I honed my skills writing fan fiction and in online role play. The instant feedback was invaluable.
The years after were dark times creatively. And my years of greatest writing regret.
College was a time of expanding my mind, learning new things, navigating more nuanced ideas. But those years were a creative black hole for me. I stopped writing for huge periods of time. Though I had aspirations to make movies (I entered school wanting to study video production), and ideas swam through my head nonstop, I rarely plunked myself down to write. I think the most I got out of those four years was 40 pages of an unfinished screenplay. And those pages were garbage.
A lot of great things happened during that time, but I am disappointed that I didn’t pursue my passion. The biggest lesson I learned was that if I neglect my writing, my creativity withers and dies. Creativity is a fire that needs to be stoked and fed. Every day. The hardest thing is to come to the blank page after missing a few days, let alone a few years.
But the story doesn’t end there. Upon graduation, I got a job I hated and spent my time doing something else I neglected during those college years—reading novels. Oldies. Classics. New authors. New genres. I always liked reading, but I fell in love with stories again.
During this time, my creative energy bubbled. An idea I had since high school kept reoccurring. The idea was a dystopian world where a single corporation was the government. I struggled with which medium this story would be, but I knew I wanted to get the story out.
In 2011, I met Christopher Stollar. He was writing a novel. This was the first time I’d met someone doing that. I picked his brain. I asked him about his process. Without meeting Christopher, I’m not sure I would be writing now. It was a seminal moment, and his friendship and encouragement is still invaluable. (He published that book. Click here to check it out)
I was dying to write again, and I loved reading novels. So, in October I outlined the book that would become my first novel, Antitrust. It would be my first and only time outlining (more on that later). I had a few people read the outline and let me know if I was on the right track. Then I sat down on November 7, 2012 and wrote the first words:
“The alarm clock rung through her head like a distant cacophony.”
Don’t hold that line against me.
I was rusty.
What I’m reading now:
Reddit: College Football (I spend way too much time here)