When I was fourteen and heavily influenced by the world of Nicholas Sparks, I decided to write a romance novel. After making my hasty decision to contribute to the romantic era with horribly written fourteen-year-old ideas of love, I felt compelled to share my work. My young, hopeless brain thought it best to share my works on an internet platform in hopes that they would skyrocket and make me a world-famous writer.
Although I did not become a world-famous writer, the novel did garner quite a bit of attention for something produced by a fourteen, soon to be fifteen-year-old. Relatively quickly, all my social media platforms began to blow up with people questioning how long they were going to be forced to agonizingly wait for the next chapter. I, truly, was shocked. Of course I’d dreamed of people saying such things to me, but I hadn’t ever imagined it would truly happen. Within months, my novel went from nothing to something. Before it’s completion, the online site on which it was posted had calculated over 30,000 clicks and reads.
I had convinced myself it was still nothing at the time. 30,000 was so much less than most other stories on the same site. But one day it clicked. I was discussing the story with a friend who expressed desires to read it, and when I grudgingly shared the link with her, she could not contain her disbelief. She told me to imagine 30,000 people in one room, to visualize just what that numerical value constituted. On top of this, so many young writers started to contact me. People told me they were amazed by my age and inspired by my creativity. Someone once asked me if they could write a book report on this novel. Another told me I was their favorite author, and when asked, they told my online username. Another asked me if they could translate it into their native language so they could share it with their non-English speaking friends. Someone even asked me if they could make a “trailer” for it using actors they pictured my main characters as. It was then that I realized my story meant something, even if it was just another love story written by a young teenage girl. It was a complete and total learning experience.
When I finished the book, it came out to a whopping 203 pages. I was so unbelievably proud of myself when I finally finished it. It had taken me over a year and it was the first time in my life I had ever felt so proud. I’ve written a multitude of short little pieces throughout my life, but nothing has ever felt as fulfilling as that last word on that 203rd page — and I doubt anything ever will. That was my first ever book. Completed. And I was only fifteen. Although I look back now in total shame and cannot believe I ever thought the concepts I put down on those pages were romantic, I’ve learned so much about myself throughout that agonizing year I spent slaving over a computer screen. I discovered that, if I really put my mind to it, I could write a freaking book. I became hyperaware of what I was capable of.
My first novel, which was followed by a second shortly after, is something I will forever keep with me. Even if I am mortified by the fact that it is forever imprinted onto the Internet, I do take pride in the fact that I completed such a meticulous task at such a young age. Now, the story has a total of almost 140,000 reads. It was completely finished on November 6, 2013. Its fifth birthday isn’t too far away, and I can now (after years of regret) safely say that my fourteen-year-old self taught me just how powerful my words actually are.