Writing Journey

Skate or Die

1000 points if that title gives you Nintendo flashbacks. ^_^
(Ah, yes…the 90s…or whenever that thing came out.)

Side Note: This is my 100th Blog Post!!!! throws confetti

Someone posted a thread on the writing forums one day asking: Who or What Made You a Writer? And they had this nice flowery story about the moment they decided they wanted to write. Seriously, folks, it was beautiful and poetic and perfect. And I thought to myself…I never had that moment. I never decided that I wanted to write a story. I just wrote one. Well, I tried. And after that, I tried again. It wasn’t an option. It wasn’t a choice. I just did it. It’s really like I woke up one day and just realized it.

As I was reading over some of the responses, I remembered this moment I had in college. I had just switched my major from Creative Writing to English Education at the insistence of my family that I major in something I can get a job with (because I can always write on the side, they said). I immediately started going through the worst depression of my life. I never wanted to be a teacher. I just wanted a job that would pay my bills until I could be a full time writer. Any job I didn’t hate with a fiery all-consuming passion would do. Really.

So my writing teacher found out. I had already taken one class with him (after which I hated him for forcing me to realize that I could be so much better) and was taking another. And as I was leaving his office one day he looked me right in the eye and said, “Please, don’t ever stop writing.”

And I wanted to cry. Because I had already stopped writing. The education classes were keeping me so busy that in my free time, all I wanted to do was sleep. I dreaded graduating. I grilled every single high school & middle school teacher I crossed paths with. “What do you do for fun? Do you write? Do you have time to write between grading papers and crap?” And they were all tired and worn out. And they all said no. And people told me that it was their own fault. If they wanted to write they would make time. But no one was making time. They were all too tired. And I felt desperate and horrible and all I could think about was writing and how being an education major was killing my soul.

I realized that I had to start writing again. Because if I didn’t, I would die.

People think I’m being dramatic when I say this, but a storyteller is just who I am. I’ve always told stories. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It was just a natural extension of who I am. I look at people who love writing, but also love other stuff and can do other stuff and have a balance, and I’m in awe. I like to do other things, of course. But I wonder if I’m just weird because I put writing before everything else I like to do. Often before stuff I actually really need to do. I’ve been told to take a break from it. I’ve been told I think about it too much. But I only take breaks when I have to, and I wish I could think about it more. Writing saved my life. And it never mattered what else I was doing. I only wanted to make sure I had time to write. And if I couldn’t, because I was at a football game, I read a book. That’s right. At a football game, with all the shouting and the noise and the band. That’s how much I love reading. I can shut everything out. And it’s the same when I write. It’s everything to to me.

I know I’m probably never getting published unless I do it myself. I accept that. One the peeves I have though is when people try to convince me that I wasn’t born this way, that it’s just something I do, that it’s just a hobby. Well, it’s not. And it never was. Sewing is a hobby for me. I’ve made entire outfits and costumes, complete with head pieces and accessories and embellishments. That doesn’t make me a fashion designer. I love to sing, and I’ve written music and lyrics. But I’m not a songstress or a song writer. Those are hobbies. I don’t live and breathe them. I do them sporadically. There’s a difference, you know. Everyone is different.

And there is room for everyone. But for me, it’s Write or Die (and not the software program). If I could aspire to something else, believe me, I would. And I’ve tried. But I always come back to writing because I have to. I literally can’t be happy without it. But truth is, writing is hard. And lonely. And often very much unappreciated. Finding a writing community has been like, the best thing ever for me. Even just one person to talk to can make all the difference in my day when I’m bogged down with a story that won’t act right or hopelessness or rejection.

So I want to thank all of the writers out there who are like me. Thank you for being my kind of weird. ^_^


  • Clara

    Even though I have no expectation of being published (beyond self-publishing) I work in a low paid job so I have the energy to pursue writing as a hobby because I’m really sad when I can’t do it. I agree that it’s a dream and that it’s everything that makes you you … and whilst I’m not naive enough to say that you should drop all career aspirations ever to pursue writing, I do believe we should give ourselves the time we need to express ourselves in this way.

    • krystal jane

      I completely agree. It’s one of the reasons I’m reluctant to look for another job. I don’t really like the one I have, but it pays my bills and I have plenty of time to write. 🙂 It helps that I really can’t think of another job I rather be doing. Other than staying home and reading all day. ^_^

  • Ashley Dominique

    Hey, hey, hey. Don’t think like that. If you put your mind to it and you believe you can get through the hurdles of traditional publishing. I believe in you. It’s great that you are doing what you love no matter what. It’s so important.

    • krystal jane

      Thank you. ^_^ I think it’s super important, too. It’s one of the keys to happiness, after all. To do what we love.

      I’m going to keep trying the traditional way, at least until I can’t do it anymore. I think I get there every year, but every year I think of one reason to try one more time. 🙂

  • Ifeoma Dennis

    I agree with Clara and Ashley. Make time for writing, and believe you will get there. Of course, you have to have something to fall back on while you write.
    But you will get to that place where writing would be okay to pay your bills. Eventually. So don’t give up.
    And congrats on your 100th!

  • rhchatlien

    I’m like that to some extent. I can’t give up writing. But I’m not as intense as you about pursuing it all the time–maybe because I’m older or maybe because my job involves writing, just not the writing I love. But I totally get the “write or die” thing.

    • krystal jane

      I do get a little crazy about it. The best thing I’ve done for my writing lately is learning how to take breaks and give myself days off without feeling guilty, like I’m slacking off or something. That’s been really nice. 🙂

      • rhchatlien

        That’s good. You seemed pretty burned out there for a while. Remember, taking breaks allows the well to be refilled, so you’re actually helping your writing by taking a little time off. 🙂

  • Beverly (@Bevimus)

    I had a similar experience in college, but for me the change stuck. I am still in the career that I dropped my creative writing major to go into. For me, it’s working out, I think.

    I don’t think I’m a write or die kind-of person. Do I get depressed when I don’t do it for a while? Yes. But more than depressed, it’s guilty. I almost always feel like I SHOULD be writing. But it’s not my life. It’s one of a small list of things which are all equally important for my mental state.

    That being said, I really should be writing right now…

    I’m so glad you found a community that can sustain you when the writing life makes you crazy (as it often will). I know for me it’s been the single biggest thing that’s made me want to keep writing, even when the stories don’t work out. We all need each other, so much.

    Happy 100th!!!!

    • krystal jane

      Thank you! 🙂
      I never did go back into creative writing. It meant an extra literature class and by my senior year I was so over those things, so I went to English Literature. I do love my other hobbies, but yeah…they start to stress me out if they get in the way of my writing.

  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    I totally get this, Krystal. Somewhere along the way, I realized that writing is kind of the only thing I’m really, really good at. I mean, like, I think I’d be a pretty kick-ass actress, but I’m way too shy to actually do it. I suck at sports. I played violin as a kid, but I was never really good at it.

    Also–and I’ve realized this recently–writing keeps me sane. I always said that it keeps me sane, but I didn’t realize how connected my moods and my anxiety are to when I’m writing something.

    And happy 100 post!

    • krystal jane

      Grazie! ^_^ I’m so excited about having 100 posts!

      I’m too scared to act, too. And while I can play piano, I’m average at best. Great storyteller though. ^_^ Which, really, is probably why I’m good at acting…hmm…never thought of that before. Everything I’m good at is related to writing in some way. I’m only good at sewing because I’m good at visualizing stuff in my head and executing it. Like I do when I’m telling a story! Go figure.

      I would love to play the violin. I mean, I know I wouldn’t take the time, but I love the thought of it. I had a friend send me this link of a girl playing The Phantom of the Opera on violin a few weeks ago. It was so amazing.

  • Thea Landen

    Congrats on the 100th post!

    I actually stopped writing when I started teaching (which is a job I loved, but truth be told, I don’t miss it *that* much now that I’m out), but started up again when I got laid off and had more time on my hands. Silver linings, right?

    Re: publication – you’ll get there. Without getting overly schmaltzy, part of me does believe there’s a publisher out there for everyone. Whether you stay with them for life or just use them as your first credit to get your foot in the door, who knows, but it’s definitely an attainable goal!

    • krystal jane

      Thanks!! ^_^
      I hear that from teachers a lot. I do know some that love their jobs. They’re still fairly tired, but they don’t complain much about it.

      It’s always great to hear that I’m not crazy. I’m so used to hearing that writing is a pie-in-the-sky dream, I forget I see people with books coming out every month.

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