Historical Fiction, Writing

Why I Choose to (and Needed to) Become a Writer

Ever since I was little, I have been writing stories. It started with short stories, often with accompanying illustrations. These first forays into writing were the result of a child with an overactive imagination, and probably some boredom with reality as well. Then, at the age of twelve I wrote my first full length story. This story was about the Salem Witch Trials, a topic I had been interested in since I was around eight. After reading The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble and watching the film version of The Crucible on repeat, I was inspired to write my own story. I decided to write about the Parker family of Andover and their experiences during 1692. I shared the story with a few people, but didn’t even think of publishing it, as at that young age I only saw writing as a hobby.

When in college, I again took to writing. This time I wrote a historical fiction novel with supernatural and thriller elements. The beach is one of my favorite places to go and I love lighthouses, so this story was set on the Maine coast with a lighthouse keeper and his family as protagonists. I was truly proud of the work I had done on this novel so I wrote a sequel two years later. Again, I shared this series with a few people, but did nothing beyond that.

After I graduated from college, I eventually got a full time job, which made me absolutely miserable. It took this self-esteem destroying experience for me to realize that perhaps the universe was sending me a sign; that maybe regular 9 to 5 office work wasn’t for me. I had three full length stories just sitting on my computer and finally thought, “Well, I think it’s about time I get them published.”

After being laid off from my job after the business closed, I had a lot of time on my hands and decided to look at my Salem Witch Trials story again. This story needed a lot of work so I decided that now was the best time to revise it. I went deep into the research this time and made the story more historically accurate. I worked my experiences with mental illness into the story too, because if there was ever a story where someone would suffer from depression, it would be this one. And I knew that someone out there who eventually reads this book would be able to relate and realize they are not alone in their struggle. I was much happier with this version of the story than what twelve-year-old me wrote.

Finally, I gathered up the courage to publish the novel. Now it is just a matter of submitting my manuscript and waiting for publisher responses. Of course if no publisher will accept it, it’s off to self-publishing. One way or another, this story is getting published. I have put too much time and heart into it to let it sit buried in my computer files any longer.

I am becoming a writer because some stories need to be told. I am becoming a writer because readers want new and intriguing stories and to come across profound ideas. I am becoming a writer because some people need their experiences validated by the characters they come to know in the pages of a book. I am becoming a writer because I owe it to myself. I have had one too many disappointments in recent years. I cannot let that continue and allow the fire in my soul to extinguish.  When the world keeps telling you “No,” stand up and tell it “YES!”

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