I’m not really good at talking about myself, mostly because I haven’t done anything special. You’re never going to open a newspaper and be like OMG I KNOW WHO DAT IS. And that’s fine by me. I don’t want to be super well known or anything. I just want to write books and have people hopefully like those books. And maybe rule the world.
So here’s a narrative about me, if you’re interested.
I started writing when I was very young. Somebody bought a Donkey Kong Country book (think it was my brother) and I read it and I was like, “Wait . . . Donkey Kong doesn’t talk!” My parents were like, “Maybe you should write a book report.” I said no thank you and started writing my own story. Without dialogue. I based it off the second SNES game, where Diddy and Dixie have to rescue Donkey Kong. I don’t think I ever finished it, but if I ever find it, I might post it. Just because, I guess. Anyway, I remember loving the feeling of getting caught in my own imagination. I just got swept away trying to find obstacles for them to fight and places for them to go.
I didn’t know I wanted to be an author until some time later, when somebody handed me the story of JK Rowling and how she overcame poverty to be successful doing what I loved doing. I didn’t exactly grow up in complete poverty or anything. I always had something to eat. But my family wasn’t exactly comfortable, if you catch my drift. Back then I thought, if I could do something like this, maybe I could help my family. Maybe we won’t be in such a crappy state all the time. Anyway, I told myself I was going to be an author and my first book was going to be a Legend of Zelda novelization. Cute, I know. I worked on that thing every day. I even told my fifth grade teacher about it. She humored me — all right, that’s not fair. I should say she encouraged me. A lot.
Cut to years later, when I’m in high school. Not a cool kid. Average kid. I wrote poems. That’s what I was known for, and that was pretty cool to me. I remember going to some assembly where the faculty is all like, “You have to plan for your future.” I thought I already knew. They asked about college. College? I thought. I’m not smart enough for that. I put I was going to technical school at best. And I thought that was that.
Then my English teacher got involved. Mr. S. He asked me, “Why aren’t you in honors class, young lady?” I said because I didn’t think I could handle it. “You’re not going to college?” I lied and said I didn’t know. He actually went and found out what track I was signed up for and said, “You know, you can always change it.” He handed me a brochure for Young Writer’s Workshop at UNCW. I said nothing, but in my mind I felt I would disappoint him. You see, nobody in my family had ever gone to college. I always thought it was for people who were, like, pure genius. I met those types of kids in high school. I didn’t think I was ever going to be like them.
Still, I thought it would be a cool thing to do that summer. So with some Financial Aid help, I was able to go to the workshop. It was the best decision I’d ever made. I learned so much about crafting and editing and peer review. I knew that was what I wanted. So I went back to my high school counselor and told her I wanted to be on university track. I was going to UNCW.
She gave me this look like I was mental or something. She said, “Are you sure you can handle that?” I wish I could tell you I said yes. But I hesitated. I wasn’t really used to doing the hard thing, to be honest. And I still doubted myself. But I went ahead anyway. Long story short: I got in. I graduated. And here I am now, with my first book getting ready to go out into the world.
I just summed up, like, a decade within a few paragraphs. I probably made it look easy, but it wasn’t. I struggled a lot with myself, with getting diagnosed with depression, with trying to figure stuff out. And I still am. BUT . . . I feel like I’m getting a better handle on things as I’m getting older. I’m handling my depression with writing and counseling. I’m still playing video games and writing and trying to be the best I can. I can honestly say I’m happy.
I didn’t type up all this stuff because I want you to be like, GOOD LORD CALL THE WAH-MBULANCE. I just want you to know that you can do it, too. You can be happy. You can do what you love, even if it terrifies you. I want you to do it. Right now. I’m serious. Then when you’re done, tell me about it. I promise I’ll be proud of you, even if you fail.