“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This is everybody’s favourite question to ask a child, and most children’s favourite question to answer.
I can’t think of a time when I didn’t say ‘writer’. As soon as I learned how to write I never wanted to stop. When I was six years old and I discovered that I could actually write down the stories I made up in my head, it was better than any of the magic I read about in my storybooks.
From the beginning, I was hooked.
Under my bed at home is a pile of journals, filled with awkward handwriting that moved from pencil to pen, writing that grew up with me. Diaries, stories, poems, and embarrassingly, a few songs I tried to write at around age nine. I would write about anything.
Once a year I usually take out these copies and I could sit on my bedroom floor for hours reading them. Most of it is terrible, consisting of unfinished stories, prepubescent ramblings and of course, the god-awful songs (I blame my parents, they bought me the Britney Spears costume) But all cringing aside, I love that today I can still read the thoughts I had when I was eight, ten, thirteen, fifteen years old. It brings back memories I would have otherwise forgotten. Not many people can do that.
I was a very secretive child, I kept so much to myself and the only way I could deal with things was through writing. For example, I hated secondary school, first year particularly. I was thirteen years old and everything in my life was changing. I wouldn’t talk about it, so I wrote. I didn’t really write about how I was feeling, that was still too confusing to put into words. This was the time when I wrote my first novel (though ‘novella’ may be a more appropriate word). I would spend hours in my room, lost in the fictional world I was slowly creating. In the end, the story filled two copybooks, which isn’t bad for a first attempt. I got through the year and had a relatively decent story too.
Writing helped me again when I was sixteen. Almost every night I would write. It never mattered what I wrote about, there was just something so soothing about writing itself. It made it easier to sleep. It took all of the loud thoughts out of my head and put them onto paper. Writing was my form of self-expression. You’ll learn more about me from reading my work than you ever will from a conversation with me.
No matter what I do in life, where I go, I will always have writing. I don’t care if I never write anything worth reading, I write for myself, not an audience. I write when I’m happy, sad, worried, confused. I capture my life in words.
And these are just some of the many perks of being a writer.