How Writing is Affecting my Life
Okay, so I’ve hardly written 10,000 words, but I can already see the tendrils from my imaginary world extending into the real world. Before I describe the changes that writing a novel has wrought in my daily life, I’d like to explain my relationship with writing. I was never much of a diary-writer. I tried countless times (I’ve got at least five different diaries lying around my bedroom as proof of that) but I’ve always found that writing my “feelings” in a diary was an inadequate means of delineating my emotions or experiences. I would get impatient and frustrated that the words on the page were a shallow and unsubstantial representation of the depth and color of my experiences, insights, and revelations. Nonetheless, I always took pleasure in writing essays for my high school English class or writing papers for International Relations courses in college. Every semester, I have to take a course that allows me to write.
Writing a novel is on the list of things to accomplish over the course of my life. It never occurred to me before this summer that I didn’t have to wait until I was 35 or 40–I could start right now. The first thing I did, of course, was research the average length of a young adult fiction novel, which turned out to be around 75,000 words. Digesting that piece of information was difficult; the longest paper I’d ever written was the International Baccalaureate Program Extended Essay my senior year of high school. However, daunting as the task seemed, I decided to think about it as a personal challenge and give it a shot. Writing a novel feels completely different from writing an essay or a diary entry. There are no expectations, no rubric to follow, nothing that needs to be said: it’s liberating.
Thus, I think it’s worth enumerating the ways that writing a novel has changed–and, hopefully, will continue to change–my life:
- Things that I’ve noticed in television shows, books, the people around me, and events and experiences have transformed from idle observations to relevant conclusions that I incorporate into my work.
- I am constantly thinking about the novel, the plot, the characters, etc., causing me to become absent-minded in other matters. Lately, I have begun stuttering and struggling for words and find it difficult to follow a conversation, because I’m constantly drifting off. The fact that this new phenomenon is not reflected in my writing is a clear indication of where my mind is.
- Now, I don’t just read because I love to read: I look at the way authors structure their paragraphs and dialogues, how they describe their settings, the way they characterize, etc. When I read a scene from a novel and absentmindedly think of a better way of writing it, I’m actually inspired and this influences the way I write. I amalgamate and infuse the practices of my favorite authors into my own work.
Those are the very basic ways in which writing is changing the way I view and interact with the world. I’m sure that even more changes will occur as I continue to write and I’m looking forward to experiencing them and sharing them with all of you.
How has writing affected the way you see the world?