For the people that know me or that follow me on my writing adventures on twitter, I can never stress too much that being a college student and being a writer is a balancing act. Not only am I a sophomore English student at NDSU, I am also working on rewriting my novel, Saving Grace, in my free time in the hopes that I will be ready to edit it and query it by next year. Essentially, my workload is possibly double that of the average student because I am actively working toward my dream now, rather than waiting until I have my degree.
At this point, a normal day in my life includes not only going to class, completing homework and staying on top of my grades, but also connecting with other writers, talking to authors, interacting with possible readers and of course, and thinking about my novel, even when I’m not actively working on it. Writing is a full time job and as a novelist I won’t see any pay-off (money-wise) until I begin the publishing process. To a non-writer, this probably sounds ridiculous and I would most-likely agree if it were only about the money.
The truth is, I believe everyone has had a time in their life where a story has impacted them in some way. For me, it was while I was still in Elementary school, during fourth grade when I first picked up Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. I can remember that at that time I was struggling with self-doubt and my body image among other things and Rowling’s books acted as an escape for me. Now, when I think about my childhood I cannot help but think of the imaginary adventures I embarked on together with Harry, Ron, Hermione and friends through the halls of Hogwarts and beyond in the magical wizarding world. I still remember being sad that I wouldn’t receive a letter (even a very late one apologizing for forgetting about me) that would whisk me away from my troubles. I grew up in the Potter generation, and it impacted my life significantly–I would go so far as to argue that it was one of the factors that shaped who I am today.
As a result of that impact, I remember aspiring to be like J.K. Rowling. As a child, it was my dream to write the next “Harry Potter,” and essentially give back to the world. Naturally, in elementary school (at least where I went to school) there are no classes about how to write the next best-selling novel. In fact, there are no creative writing classes at all. So I taught myself. Fast forward to the future and you have where I am now: a college student actively rewriting a story that was inspired by her teenage years where she felt unimportant and unwanted. I can tell you that, in talking to others, I’m not the only one that felt this way at least once in their life and that is why Saving Grace is important.
My dream as a writer is to someday give back to the world and help impact others in the same way literature has impacted me by being a big part of my life. My dream for Saving Grace is to see it in the hands of teenagers, on the shelves of school libraries and especially in the TBR (to-be-read) piles of those that need to read it the most. If my story can impact just one person, I have done my job as a writer.
And that, my friends, is the real reward.
I want to hear what books have impacted your life. Feel free to comment below!