Publishing my novels has always been number one on my bucket list. It was my biggest dream, and the one I never dared to hope for too much in fear of being disappointed. I started writing when I was seven. My first story was short and my best friend at the time came up with the drawings while I wrote. We put it together and sold it for two euros to our families (we were already ambitious).
After that, I filled notebook after notebook, and then started typing my stories into a computer. My mom would always take the time to sit down and correct every spelling mistake for me, and I’d draw the cover before binding everything together. She would then take me to drop my book off at the nearest publishing house. She also helped me submit it online, even though she knew a 12 year-old was not going to get a book deal anytime soon. She still showed me her undeniable support and I could not thank her enough for it.
At eighteen, I started posting my stories on Wattpad, in hopes of sharing my craft, finding others with the same passion and maybe get reviews on what I had written. And it became my safe place. I felt understood and received so much support. It motivated me to write more, to keep pushing and to encourage my brain to find inspiration. I wanted to give new content to my new readers, some of whom became my friends. I still talk to some of them now and traveled to the US to meet one (hi Christina).
And then I received a message from one of them, saying there was a contest on Inkitt, an independent publishing house, and the winner would get a publishing deal. I figured, what have I got to lose. So I submitted my most recent book – I was a bitch – written at the back of my boring classes. I didn’t get my hopes up and actually forgot about it.
Until I won. I got the publishing deal. And you know what’s even crazier? I learned about it when I was with Christina, the first person I’d met on Wattpad. We were in London together when I opened the email. I think all the stars somehow aligned that day.
So my book got published and I cried when I held the paperback in my hands for the first time and it was everything I ever wanted. We published the second one – The Bucket List – soon after and I couldn’t believe it was real. I’d started writing it at fifteen and here it was – now at twenty-one – in my hands with the most gorgeous cover. I was ecstatic.
However, I didn’t expect that I’d care so much about other people’s opinion. Reading the positive comments made my heart swell, but somehow, I couldn’t overlook the negative ones. Not the constructive ones – well, no, that’s a lie – even them, I couldn’t forget about them. So when I tried to write again, they were always at the back of my mind and I would overanalyze every word. Because I wasn’t writing just to write anymore, I was writing with the thought that maybe someday these words would be read and analysed and critized and why did I use this word instead of that one and maybe this character is too annoying and ugh, I was going crazy.
Writing didn’t just flow anymore. And the most beautiful, exciting thing I had always dreamed about turned into the saddest thing – me not being able to write anymore.
From the age of sixteen, my stories had always been private, I never let anyone close to me read them because I felt like they were inside my head. They were fiction but they still all held a part of me. And suddenly, they were at my family and friends’ houses, and everyone knew this secret part of me. Writing wasn’t my private safe haven anymore.
I’m extremely grateful and proud that my books are published but…
I miss writing just to write. I miss writing without caring if anyone will ever read my book again, and without caring if it will ever turn into something and be the subject of criticism. I miss writing just for me.
So this year, in 2023, I want to find that again. I want to be able to reconnect with my first passion that I miss so much it makes me want to cry. I want to find random inspiration and I want to stop caring. Writing is not my job, it’s my passion, it’s who I am and it’s always been a part of my life.
I want to find it again.
Thanks for reading this post, I don’t know what message I was hoping to get across but let me know if anyone relates.
You can check out my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Emily-Ruben/author/B01M3P5OL4?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true
And I was a Bitch is also available on the new Galatea app in eight different languages!