When I was a young warthog, I used to watch those Disney channel inspirational commercials with dismay. They showed all those kids who excelled at awesome things: snowboarding, gymnastics, and so on. And then just thinking about the fact that every kid on the Disney channel was already a famous actor was pretty disheartening too. You see, all those kids had been practicing their craft, sport, etc, since they were like four years old. I was already ten-twelve-fourteen, and I hadn’t done any of those things! If I wanted to be a snowboarder, there was no way I would ever be a really good one. Definitely not as good as those Disney channel kids. I hadn’t even seen a real drift of snow at that time. I still haven’t! Those kids on Disney channel, and all those other people in life who were “really” good at what they did, they were passionate about what they were doing. They wanted to do it all the time. I felt bad that I wasn’t like that. I would never be really good at anything, because there was nothing that I had been doing consistently since I was four.
I had forgotten about my young dismay and self-devaluing until I saw this video for the fourth time, So You Want to Write a Novel. You can watch it here:
Script: © 2010 David Kazzie. All rights reserved.
Animation: Provided by Xtranormal.com
It’s a script someone composed of many of the assumptions people have about writing and publishing a novel. One thing the “sensible” character says goes along the lines of,
“You realize that most good writers have spent years honing their craft, and before that spent at least twenty years reading hundred of other people’s works?”
Now, I’ve seen this video many times, but this time around, that particular sentence really struck me. I realized that yes, I have spent many years honing my craft. I’ve written and rewritten and balled up sheets of paper and started from scratch all over again. I’ve been reading voraciously for twenty years. I’ve read the classics, the pop culture novels, across many different genres and types of novels, and I’ve developed my own style and learned to appreciate others’ styles. And I realized,
I’m just like those kids on the Disney channel.
It may not look as shnazzy as plowing through a gleaming white mountain of snow, but I’ve been working on something I love since I was four years old. I didn’t just wake up one day when I was a teenager and think, “Hey, I’m going to be an author!” I didn’t see some kid on TV being a writer and think it looked glamorous and want to emulate him. It was what I knew I wanted since before I can remember anything else. Me, all by myself, came up with this idea. And it suits me just fine.
My name is Jessie Sanders, and I am an author. Boo-yah!