For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved writing. When I was younger, I always had a notebook that I would fill with stories. Once one was used up, I’d send it to a family member and move on to the next.
My stories were usually based off of a picture I saw, a book I’d read, or a thought I’d had. To make them come to life even more, I would embellish them with drawings or stickers. My tales, characters, and settings varied drastically by notebook, but no matter where a story had originated from, it was always imaginative. Think straight out of a dream. Here are two short examples.
Once, a family member gifted me a sheet of puffy panda stickers, so I wrote a story about a panda. It was in a Hello Kitty notebook. I think she may have been involved in the story as a result, but I can’t quite remember. However, I do vividly recall a page where I drew a panda playground and stuck panda stickers all over it.
Cat and Fish Bone
Another time, a family member gave me a blue notebook with a cat and fish skeleton on each page. Most people would think the cat ate the fish and make a story out of that, but I was maybe eight years old. That wasn’t even on my agenda. Instead, my brilliant mind decided the cat should get married to the fish skeleton (which I called Fish Bone), and they would have abnormal children. I think all their girl children were cats, and all the boys were fish skeletons.
Growing up, I was an avid collector of pencils and pens. Every Friday, I was allowed to choose a prize for finishing a week of school. Pencils were my go-to for a while. I used them for everything. Eventually, I discovered that I preferred pens, and the pencils became a decoration for my desk. I think most of my early writing years were spent using notebooks and pens.
When I was around twelve years old, I decided that I wanted to become an author when I was older. With that intention in mind, I created a writing binder. The binder was pink (not sure why—I don’t like pink) and filled with college-ruled papers. Every day, I would open up the binder, take out a few sheets, and either edit or add to a story. My writing started off as crazy figments of imagination, but over time, it evolved into more put-together, realistic plots. Most of the stories I’ve published have their beginnings in that binder.
Technology was a game changer. My family had a Kindle we shared and almost never used. When I was allowed to use a writing app on it, I discovered how much easier things could be. It was love at first use. I began transferring all my pre-existing books from my binder onto the Kindle, and from there, I edited. It was amazing how easily I could erase and add words without having to rewrite an entire page by hand. A new world of endless opportunities had just opened up for me. Writing had never been easier.
That’s when I seriously began thinking about publishing my books. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but my mom helped me set up an email, bank account, and KDP (Amazon self-publishing) account anyway. My dad found me a website host. From there, I designed my website and released six books. My parents graciously allowed me to figure out things on my own, and I am very thankful for that. I learn best through trial and error, and these years were so helpful for me. Even though I regret what came out of that time, God used it to teach me so much I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
My biggest mistake was probably releasing semi-edited stories with plots I now cringe to think about. My mom warned me to edit more first, but I didn’t listen, and sales dropped from a couple a week to nothing. I’ve seriously contemplated taking half of my books down. However, I don’t want to forget where I’ve come from and how much I’ve grown since becoming an author, and I think others should get to see that as well.