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An Aspiring Writer’s Long and Winding Journey (Part Two)

person writing on white paper

Before we begin, I will give you a fair warning: I do mention depression and associated dark thoughts in this post. I won’t go into details, but I want to give you the information up front so that you can decide how best to protect yourself.

I would say I took writing seriously in middle school, but I have many notebooks dating back to my elementary school days. I realized I could write a lot of the crazy things my brain thought up while bored, like some crazy world with genetic experiments fighting each other (inspired by the show Dark Angel with Jessica Alba) or Gohan fighting against some crazy monster.

It wasn’t something I did consistently, but I did it often. I have many old notebooks full of notes and the beginnings of stories that I will forever go unfinished (because they’re awful), and thank goodness my mom let me use some of the blank school notebooks for this.

I continued doing this through high school, where I became more and more hopeful that I could somehow start a career with my writing. It wasn’t as easy back then (not that I consider it easy now, but indie publishing looked nothing at all like it does now), but it was something I hoped to do. It served as a neat distraction from what I had not realized was a lonely and unhappy life.

After high school, I finally had all the time in the world to reach my dreams of becoming a writer, and I wrote my first novel. It was about a girl discovering that her father was a powerful magic user, and she has to come to terms with her new life following a stranger around while they do away from the evildoers together.

It was absolutely awful, the only highlight being that I understood pacing well. The story took strange twists and turns, especially toward the end, but it was my first time I ever completed something. I could not help but feel proud of myself.

However, over the next few weeks, I spiraled into a depression. I hope you can forgive me for leaving out the details, but I regularly had to talk myself out of considering suicide.

I received no proper help for this, and my support system was rather lacking. That’s not to say I have no one who cares about me, but the people I should be able to turn to for help often show little empathy for people in my situation.

While I still struggle with depression, that first year was one of the worst in my life. I remember acutely being scared because I was in actual physical pain for a few days, and I did not understand why. There were plenty of distractions, at least, that helped me disguise the emotional wounds: anime, video games, YouTube, etc. It would be years before I found the strength to write again, and it would be even longer before I realize just what kind of unproductive habits I had picked up over the years.

Now, I am working hard every day, to get into better habits and to write more consistently. It’s been an annoying journey. I have my addictions to various media that I’m still struggling to overcome, and it’s been several months before I could get myself to finish anything longer than 2,000 words. This will probably plague me for many months (or years) yet, but I remain hopeful to keep doing better and better until I get to be the person I’ve longed to be for so long.

Stephanie Clark is an aspiring author from a small town in the Midwest of the U.S.A. She loves anime and video games, and she spends a little too much time on YouTube. Receive a free dark fantasy short story by signing up to her newsletter (here), and you can also stay up to date on all of her works (including upcoming urban fantasy, dark fantasy, and the occasional horror).

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