Chapter 29: I tried writing a book

At the age of 12, my mind resembled a jolly playground of spinning fantasies and swinging creativity. I remember how I would travel into my fantasy world while chopping firewood in our garden on dreich autumn days, or how the picture of luscious hills from an enchanted land would trap me deep inside my head during family dinners. My uncapped creativity constantly surrounded me with a vivid place of mysterious creatures, magical ventures, and wicked powers.

As my fantasy world expanded every day, I also began to knit characters and stories around it. Eventually, it became impossible for me to keep all this yarn of tales locked away in my head, and that is how I came to my first attempt of writing a book. The book was all kinds of motley since I had a child’s fantasy to rely upon, however, my storytelling lacked skill. I never finished the draft – I did not even manage to scribble down half of my intended storyline.  

A few years later, I reattempted to bring my fictional universe alive, which, at that point, had already begun to fade from my memory. With more refined language skills, I wrote a fresh version of my childhood fantasy. But I still could not finish capturing a draft of the whole story.

After this, I was thrown off the idea of becoming a famous novelist. I completely ditched the book idea, seeking my luck in writing short narratives instead. For the first time, I managed to produce fully finished texts. Short prose had me seriously hooked. I even participated in competitions, crafting new, small pieces that fitted the various given pitches. But despite my dedicated investment, I never won anything, so, my commitment to short stories depleted.

I eventually dropped the genre of short stories and my creative spirit then fell in love with poetry. It were the many heartaches in my own life that flew me to the succulent clouds of kitsch-laden rhymes. One love poem after another dribbled onto paper. But as soon as the storm of romances calmed down in my life, the inspiration for new poems fled me too.

Months went by in which I did not engage in writing at all. My creative spirits retreated to the arts where they roamed freely among canvasses, brushes, and paint.

My passion for writing was only reignited when life circumstances changed, sending me onto a wild hunt for self-actualisation. The ambition to becoming an influential author was revived, convincing me into my third attempt of book writing.

People say that all good things come in threes. For my third attempt of writing a book, I distanced myself from the realm of fantasy novels because my previous endeavours had clearly revealed that fantasy fiction was not the suitable niche to nest my first book in. Abandoning fiction, I embraced non-fiction, specifically, self-help literature.

My enthusiasm to compose a self-help book launched an intense two weeks of brainstorming, typing, deleting, typing, revising, doubting, deleting, brainstorming again, and typing. After completing the draft of a few chapters, I asked for feedback from a good friend whose opinion I trusted.

She liked my ideas, nevertheless, she advised me to consider voicing them via a podcast rather than a book. Her suggestion signed the death sentence to book attempt number three. At the same time my very own podcast was born, and I became obsessed with scripting and recording podcast episodes. I uploaded episode after episode. In total, fifteen episodes were produced before university work claimed back my time all for itself, causing my podcast to run dry.

Do you think that there might be a pattern here?

Do you notice me jumping from one project to another like a tennis ball that is bouncing back and forth?

Do you have the impression that my artistic soul likes to flirt with a diverse range of creative hobbies?

You may be right, seeing that another new passion struck me just as the semester was about to finish. Tired off podcasting, I converted to the circle of bloggers. I invested every spare minute into the writing of new blogposts. Sometimes the unstoppable flush of ideas would not even let me take breaks to eat or sleep. What was particularly surprising is that, in contrast to previous projects, my inspiration and motivation did not shipwreck immediately. My blog endured much longer than any of my book, short-story, poem, or podcast phases.

Blogging raised my confidence in writing and awakened a fascination for language. Therefore, it also invited back my dream of composing a novel. This time I wanted to make it right – to get it really done, you know. In the past, I had always expected that my book would make its way onto paper as if the ideas in my head magically transcribed themselves into words while I thought of them. Unfortunately, the latter is not the case. Formulating your ideas into words, especially into coherent sentences, and, in the case of a book, into approximately 20.000 interesting words, is hard work, I realised that. Therefore, I decided to allow myself time until my 30th birthday to finish this long-overdue first novel of mine. To ease the pressure further, I also wanted to start with the write-up no earlier than summer 2021.

Guess what, I scraped this nicely laid-out plan because I could not retain my excitement. For the millionth time I sat down and wrote. You already know how the story ends – I did not make it passed the first chapters.

I tried writing a book, which I have been unsuccessful with until to date. But not all stories in life are stories of success. It is okay to fail, in fact, it is very human to do so. What matters is how we carry on.

Failure is the best teacher life provides us with. There is always a lesson taught from unsuccessful ventures. Even if we retry and fail again, we shall not be shamed as long as we can say that we have learnt something for the future.

My many attempts of creating a book might have missed my intended goal, however, they led to many other valuable discoveries along the way. I tasted the flavour of new hobbies, I got in touch with my creative sparks, and I uncovered where my natural talent truly lies. I realised that composing novels does not align well with my strengths. I am much better at conveying my thoughts and messages in the form of concise essays rather than comprehensive storylines.

I wanted to write a book. Perhaps I will never mark this wish as completed on my list of life goals. That is perfectly okay though. I do not consider my unfinished book drafts as a complete fall through. Quite the opposite, I am grateful for them as they are the reason I am now sitting here, in front of my laptop, typing these lines that you are reading right in this second.

The journey is the destination, and the journey will always be paved by both success and failure.

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