In normal circumstances, I’d say it sucks. And it does, but it’s more complex than that.
I used to be really anxious over this, but my concerns boiled down to this:
I keep getting older
Yeah, it’s kind of silly, but it’s true. Since I started writing, I’ve set deadlines for myself. I used to say, I need to have published this by the time I’m 18 (HAHA), I need to be successful by 20… and so on, and so on, putting some sort of expiration date on it.
And it was eating me alive. Because I got disappointed, and began thinking that I wasn’t good enough to be a writer. Since I’d already figured out what worked for me in terms of planning and coming up with ideas, all that was left to do was write.
And then I began to understand something, and it wasn’t until a few days that I saw a tweet and I finally realized what I’d begun to accept.
Those years that I thought were wasted? They are precious.
Because even I have to admit that my writing is very different from what it was when I was 13. And it should be, because it’s been almost eight years now. And I’ve learned so much. I’ve gone through four different novels, one finished but that was a disaster because it was the first one, one in progress, another that I love but I’m not sure if I should continue, and the current one, which I adore with the force of a thousand suns.
Those years were mistakes I learned from, books I read on the craft, YA books from which I learned too, and just lots and lots of practice.
I’ve come to appreciate those years.
And maybe it’s an excuse to make myself feel better, but that doesn’t make it less true. And if it does make me feel better, then why shouldn’t I use it?