When I was younger, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I had a childhood dream and a vision of my life when I was older – I didn’t want to be an astronaut, I didn’t want to be famous, I just wanted to write books. I wanted to create stories and characters that I would’ve loved to read, and plots that made me feel like I was walking alongside them.
A lot of my time when I was younger was spent reading. My dad bought me the ‘classics’ (Wuthering Heights, Jayne Eyre and Pride & Prejudice) when I was 11 to spur me on. I still haven’t read them. Reading aloud to myself was a favourite hobby of mine, which is kinda weird I will admit. It was always Alice in Wonderland, which I never thought of as my favourite book until now. It’s also the only audio-book I’ve ever listened to. I was also extremely fond of The Secret Garden and The Little Princess; I read those books countless amounts of times and still have the original ones I was given when I was 8. I have such a clear vision of these stories in my head that I forget whether or not they were actually made into films, or whether it’s my own perception of the places and people described that I’m envisioning.
My all-time favourite author and the woman who inspired me most as I was growing up was Jacqueline Wilson. Her writing and stories always inspired me, as they did with every single younger person out there. She had a way of writing that appealed perfectly to my age group and I don’t trust anyone that hasn’t read at least one of her books. I would say it was her that started my dream of wanting to be a writer. They always say you shouldn’t meet your heroes for fear of disappointment, but she absolutely did not disappoint. I can barely remember it as it was such a blur and so long ago, but she did a talk at a book festival that I attended. I still have the ticket, tucked away in a little scrapbook somewhere, and a vague memory of her sitting in front of me. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what she spoke about, which book release it was, but I’m still thankful to have that memory.
I won a fair few competitions for my writing when I was younger (which my mother kindly likes to remind me of), some for poetry and some for short stories. My parents keep the printed out versions of every story, and a copy of every magazine my stories or poems have been featured in. They pulled them out to show Max one time, and I remember being absolutely mortified at the thought of him reading my ‘Santa Snores’ story, the plot to which I’ve blocked out after it winning first prize in a Christmas story writing competition. Only 3 people entered but still. My mum still sends me links to writing competitions all the time, mostly to win a holiday that I can take her on, but to encourage my writing as well.
It makes me sad that I lost my passion for story writing after it being such an important part of my childhood.
I’m quick to blame high school for this loss of passion, which I think is a fair conclusion. I thrived in primary school, where English lessons were all about writing stories that we could then act out in drama. I always have and always will struggle to keep diaries or journals, but I still think back to my Primary 6 World War 2 diary project with fondness and jealousy that I’m not still writing it. I could write an 8 page story in one lesson, about an hour and a half, with ease. They even pinned it up on the wall even though it took up most of the space – it was about a girl called Maia who experienced an earthquake. It wasn’t exactly a mind-bending piece of work, there was no real plot to it at all but I got into the ‘zone’ and just kept on writing. High school took away that love and crazy imagination and drilled the ‘perfect’ essay writing technique into you instead. Writing about real life was boring.
I still haven’t recovered my love for writing. The last story I wrote was for my English portfolio in my second last year of high school. It was based around Jack the Ripper, from the perspective of one of his last victims. I was ridiculously excited about this idea and was planning near enough an entire novel before being hit with the word limit and my teacher started picking apart the plot. By the time it was sent off for marking, I was left with a shadow of the original idea and it no longer felt like my story. Since then, I’ve had no drive to create any stories at all. I feel like my 10 year old self is looking at me like, really?! This is the same girl who could write 8 pages about nothing?
The actual process of becoming an author seemed so simple when I was younger; you write a story and it gets published. Job done. Now I’m definitely a lot more aware of how difficult it really is to be a published author, and I’m wishing I could just pull the wool back down over my eyes and live in blissful ignorance of the real world. Ideas are rare, for me especially, and time to write is even rarer. I’m constantly reminding myself of the fact that all the plot ideas I could come up with have likely already been created, and although each author has their own take on a story, it’s still very disheartening.
I’m trying to be a lot more positive thinking towards it now, because I’m at a point where I need to think about what I want to do and accomplish in my life. It’s like blogging – every single blog post topic has probably now been covered. There’s a million and one bloggers producing regular content – any idea you have will have been done in some shape or form before. It wouldn’t be difficult to slip into that same mindset of ‘what is the point in trying’, but we don’t. Because every blogger is unique, and therefore every post is different, so it rarely feels like you’re reading the same thing. Unless it’s been copied and pasted. But that’s another issue.
Writing was my dream for so long. Although I now have a creative outlet where I can write, in the form of my blog, it’s not in the style that I fell in love with when I was younger. My imagination and thinking of all the possibilities of what I could do are too vast for me to just be one thing. I could never just be a blogger or just be a digital marketer.
I want to write again, and the only thing stopping me is myself.
What was your childhood dream?