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My Scriptory Autobiography

writing: within this journal
I've always loved to write, yet, as with most things, I've had my quirks at it. I knew how to read and write before I started kindergarten, which led to much boredom on my part the first year of school. I held (and still hold) my pencil differently than my classmates held theirs. My kindergarten teacher and Granddaddy, among others, tried to correct my grip, but to no avail.

By the time we were writing stories in elementary school, I was known for writing the longest story in the class. When one page was required, I wrote five. My lack of skills as an artist aside, I couldn't be bothered to illustrate my stories most of the time; after all, the mind's eye is the best camera. When illustrations were required, I did the minimum number of illustrations so I could concentrate on the story, while most of my classmates did the opposite. My long-windedness continued, as it had not yet turned to the passion that it is today. Then I entered fifth grade, when I began to reconsider my future plans.

At the time, I had planned on becoming a teacher, but I read Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh that year. While reading the book, a wonderful thought ran through my mind. I love to write. Wouldn't it be fun to do that all the time? Wouldn't it be fun to write down everything, just like Harriet? Yes, I decided, so I began what I viewed as the writer's lifestyle. I started carrying a notebook wherever I went and writing down my observations about the world. While this could hardly count as serious writing, the notebook didn't last long. It soon found a place under my bed.

It didn't rest there forever, though. On 7 September 1998, less than a year after I decided to become a writer, I had just started middle school. I was searching for something under my bed when I found the abandoned notebook. I decided to give myself a second chance, so I tore out the pages that represented my fifth-grade attempt at writing and began anew with Nbook #1, This is Private Property.

After about a year of writing, I remembered that the real reason I began to keep a journal in the first place was to improve my writing skills. With an idea of a girl who wants only to stay in one school for an entire year, I began to write. Unfortunately, "only writing" didn't work too well, for I abandoned this novel after two chapters and returned to Nbook.

Upon the return to Nbook, I started to write in class as a cure for boredom. Curiosity began to grow about the notebook I carried around all the time and how I got away with writing while others couldn't get away with, say, reading. Since they clearly didn't understand my love of writing, I decided to find people who did. With my fairly new weapon, the Internet, I stumbled upon a journaling forum while looking up American Civil War factoids--don't ask me how this happened. This, I thought, was a group of like-minded souls. I was right, too. We became a community as we discussed journaling methods, and during this time online journaling came up.

Then the idea came to me. If I had an online journal and gave my friends the address, this would end the questions about Nbook (or Dr. Nbook, as he soon became for his skills as a psychiatrist). So I began my online diary at Diaryland, the main site one of my forum friends recommended. In the beginning Sushi's Tail, as I dubbed it, really was an online version of Dr. Nbook in the sense that I wrote about my everyday life with the occasional deep thought. People from "real life" were reading and enjoying the access to Tail--and to my thoughts.

After about a year of online journaling, I realized that I wasn't writing any original fiction. In fact, I was taking my journaling (both online and paper) more seriously and my original fiction less so. This changed one October night in 2002. I was bloghopping at random when I read about this thing called National Novel Writing Month. I saw the word "writing", was immediately intrigued, and clicked. From there I found out exactly what Nanowrimo was: a challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in November.

I signed up immediately, eager to write the novel that I had failed to write before eighth grade. Three weeks before November first, I was scrambling for a plot and a separate writing notebook. After some major scavenging, I found both, even though I abandoned the notebook after around three chapters. As I fell behind in my word count due to real life affairs, what little plot I had also slipped away. Next thing I knew, Thanksgiving break had arrived, and I had five days and 25,000 words to write.

Quitting wasn't an option at this point, as I had already told everyone I knew about Nanowrimo. My characters and I got to work. My characters bonded over tragedy. They fell in love. My main character Gina made friends--a first for her. One of these new friends was a gothic-looking writer named Nat. When I saw her hunched over her laptop and drinking her extra-large java, I knew she would rescue me from my literary tragedy...whenever she finished her own writing. I found my muse that year. Five days and 25,000 words later, I was writing "The End" an d reintroducing myself to the non-noveling world. Mission accomplished...for November, anyway.

Soon after that, a group of us from Nanowrimo thought of how much fun it would be to do a variant of Nanowrimo all year long. From this Nanowriye began. Although I never finished any of the sessions except for those overlapping with Nanowrimo, it was still a good time.

Almost a year after completing my second Nanowrimo novel, I nearly abandoned writing altogether, but it wasn't a conscious choice of mine. I was running out of time to write. My workload began to increase to the point where I had little time to write after completing all my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. During this time both Tail and Dr. Nbook suffered, and this suffering continued for the next two years.

Then senior year arrived, which meant college applications and essays. As I searched for the perfect topic, the thought of writing about Nanowrimo danced along the edge of my mind. Yes, I would be taking a risk. A huge risk, at that. After all, by the time someone actually read the essay, I would have completed three Nanowrimo novels. How on earth was long-winded me going to cram all that in five hundred words? I couldn't, I decided. So I decided to write about my first year of Nanowrimo, in which we learn that not all forms of procrastination are doomed to hell.

At the same time, I was taking calculus at a local college. One day during class a wonderful image popped in my head: the derivative and the integral fighting to the death, the derivative looking like the stereotypical nerd and the integral in a leather catsuit (complete with a bondage fetish). I was about to start writing such a story when I realized that I didn't know enough math to develop either character completely, and there were so many other areas of math that I could explore and incorporate in this work. This drove me to choose Calculus II over statistics the following semester, a decision that would change my life forever, and not just because of the writing.

After converting to the mathematical side, I realized that so much of me had changed since I started my first online journal that it was time for a new journal. This desire for a new beginning drove me to LiveJournal. I resisted this change at first; in fact, I didn't write much at all during the first semester at Agnes in any of my journals. Finally, this summer I did it. I bade farewell to the journals of the past, and I'm here to wreak scriptory havoc wherever I may.