I have been writing on and off since my noisy teenage years and the discovery of a magical realm called fan fiction. Most cloudy days meant one, two, five more pages – different ships, OTPs and unlikely couples have been stored in my computer and on various websites.
The transition between “She inhaled deeply; there was no way she would get out of this” to slightly better prose made me want to start writing original fiction. My readers encouraged it and offered to beta for me.
Sure, why the hell not. If countless others did it, why couldn’t I?
Well, as it turned out, I wasn’t the next Neil Gaiman, no matter how much my dedicated betas tried to convince me otherwise. After the first ‘novel’ was finished, I immediately started editing it – that’s what professional writers do, right? Right? Big mistake. I wasted close to one year trying to make something worthwhile of it; problem was, even I didn’t want to read it. Yes, it was that bad.
So, after few months of not writing a single page, I tried again. And again. And again. Let me tell you, so many Red Bulls were consumed during those long nights, I wonder how the hell my heart’s not sounding like a race horse.
I didn’t show any of my later work to anyone. I thought writing for my own personal pleasure was enough.
Fast forward to more than 12 months ago. I had been gnashing my teeth trying to decide whether I should nix a character or not (I shouldn’t have created him in the first place, but that’s a conversation for another time). As I was cursing every deity binge-reading Wikipedia had made me aware of, the power went off; that tends to happen way more often than is legal where I’m from.
Okay, fine. No problem. I already had the flashlight ready and was craving some leftover pancakes anyway.
When I came back to my computer, which had restarted by itself, my pancake-filled mouth dropped. Guess what? My document – my 100-plus pages with two of my best characters so far – were gone, only leaving a temp file behind.
After the initial crisis, more swearing, so many tissues I thought I was single-handedly responsible for at least a quarter of deforestation in my area, I calmed down.
It wasn’t such a waste, now was it? The half-finished piece didn’t have a deadline or anything; nobody was waiting for it. No agent, no editor, no publisher shaking his/her head at me.
Huh…that….that disappointed me more than it should have. And yet, there I was, trying to recover a useless file that had no future.
Not exactly the stuff of legend here.
Basically, a power outage, my desperation, and a devious file (that I still can’t find) finally made me realize I was missing something – recognition. I wanted my hobby to become a career.
It’s not exactly the stuff of legends, but it’s true. Would I have made the same decision without the incident? Probably. Would it have taken me a few more years? Definitely.
So thank you, inebriated power plant workers; thank you, my desperately-in-need-of-an-upgrade computer; thank you all.
Here I am today, trying to bring a story to life.
I’m coming for you, readers.