I’ve always had an active imagination, maybe due exactly to the fact I was read to and read a lot.
Ever since we started doing writing excersises in school, freeform, I’ve written fictional stories. As far as I recall, I never had quite enough time to finish these little stories (4-5 pages in a kid’s handwriting), but I think there was one or two I did finish.
Habitually, these were among the stories the teacher wanted to read aloud for the class, which was an awful experience. I liked to write the stories but I hated the attention. (And read aloud it all sounded like a steaming pile of crap.)
It might have been seventh grade when I started writing my (then) magnum opus, and when we finally had the chance to write a freeform essay later that year I wrote a 12-page short story related to that universe. I liked it and counted it among the finest pieces I’d written so far. The teacher we had then hated it and made some rather rude remarks in front of the whole class.
Needless to say, after that I made sure none of my works got read in public again, and it worked quite well. Then, we had this class where the teacher wanted us to write articles for the local paper (read by 3-4000 people or so) and she suggested I take part.
Luckily, it was nothing like writing short stories and so a friend of mine and me did a large two-page spread about fantasy. I’ve no longer the paper, which is probably for the best as from what I recall it was teensy and humiliating to read, though at the time we were rather proud of ourselves. We got a pretty diploma for that and that friend went on to study journalism.
All the while my head kept producing all these great (or not-so-great) ideas I just had to put to paper. My magnum opus reached at it’s peak 180 or so pages, all still stashed on my hard-drive and printed out in all its crappy glory. It is really not a prime piece of literature, but it really is what I spent my youth on… and maybe some day I’ll pick it up, edit it (a lot) and see if I could finish it. It has some pretty sound ideas deep under all the preposterous crap, even if it was written by a teenager.
During the years I noticed it’s really easy to start writing a story, but really very very hard to finish one, even when I know exactly how I’d want it to end. I still know how I’d like to finish my magnum opus, and some instinct tells me I could really finish it if I could wade through all that teenage angst put on paper and cut out the unnecessities. And really flesh out my silly characters.
When I finally graduated all them schools one has to go to these days to get employed my writing time dimished. I’ve never after high school written as much as I did during those few years.
It was years ago when my friend showed me a site for fanfiction writers. She was really into it and read a lot (even some stories so shitty I couldn’t get past the first chapter – some are just written bad and some writers have never heard of spell-check or grammar). I read some too, ideas springing to my mind, and couple years ago decided it was finally a time to actually finish something I start.
If only life was ever so easy. I wrote that story for about year and a half, updating pretty regularly. Then, last spring, I got severe pains to my right hand from my work. Turns out heavy manual labor wasn’t really my thing no matter how much I liked it.
The doctors told me the bones in my wrist and palm were in danger of pulverizing; that I had chronic tendonitis; that the tendon that goes from wrist to elbow is split permanently in the middle. The hand surgeon that consulted my case told me she’d ever only seen cases as bad on professional gymnasts. During the six first months after my diagnosis I could write nothing by hand and only a sentence or two with a computer.
Last month I finally got a clear bill of health as far as my bones are concerned. The tendonitis has left me with some trouble moving my hand and fingers – it gives me pain if I try to do certain things or do something for too long. I can no longer carry anything heavy with my right hand without fearing I’ll drop it any moment.
Luckily, the readers of my fic have been very patient with me. (Try and write a story while only being able to do it two sentences at a time and having to erase 500-1000 words every now and then when you realise it’s complete bullshit). Still gonna get there – there’s nothing I hate more than stories I like going forever unfinished. I’m not going to be that person.
When I’m done with my fic I think I’ll start sketching this story I’ve mentioned here previously. My own little space odyssey. It may take me a very long while, but not writing has never been an option. I’m sure you know the feeling.