When is a good time to write a novel? 16 years old, when you’re unafraid and full of ambition? 20 years old, when you’ve had a small taste of “real life” to make sure your writing has depth? 30 years old, when you’ve been through all the stages of life but not yet too defeated? Or is it after retirement, when you have plenty to talk about because life is anything but easy?
When I said I used to be a writer, and certainly dreamed of being one, it wasn’t really an exaggeration. My earliest attempt at a novel was when I was thirteen, but I’ll take my first draft to the grave with me because I don’t think I can live down the embarrassment I’d feel otherwise. It’s not an uncommon dream of a thirteen-year-old, after all, not all published novels are great novels. You would be lying if you disagreed with me. I cannot count the times I’ve come across the sloppiest of novels (though I can’t say I can do better) when I’ve read amateur fiction on the internet that were miles better. So what is it about the idea of a young teen writing a novel that will have the world laughing? My youth? The immaturity associated with my young age? My not-yet-SAT-enriched vocabulary?
I made another attempt when I was sixteen. I made further progress this time, due to my participation in NaNoWriMo. Of course, I didn’t finish the story, not unlike the fate of many of my other passions. Thinking back, I’m no longer sure about the reason for giving up. My commitment issues already accounted for, but what’s the rest? Is it because I wasn’t old enough, and I felt it in my writing?
It makes sense when I think about it. Even now, when I think back to when I was sixteen, there was nothing remarkable. What could the sixteen-year-old me have said that was worthy to be printed in mass and sold for money? Not much, really.
So when is a good time for me to really try writing a novel? Or am I supposed to just go for it and finish the work without a second thought? How do I stay encouraged to continue when I feel as though my words are all child’s play, and no depth?
I’ve always dreamed of being an author of published works, but I know some dreams don’t come true. Or is that only my skewed way of thinking?