It’s hard to call myself a writer when I have nothing to show for it.
You see, I’ve been writing since I was young. I wrote my first “book” in first grade. It was about a worm that got hit by a car, and the elderly bird who saved his life and took him to the hospital instead of eating him (my mom helped with the illustrations.)
Since then, I became addicted to telling stories. I loved imagining new worlds and everything that filled them. I loved coming up with new characters and outlining their struggles, strengths, weaknesses, mistakes, and hopes. It was this particular aspect of writing that opened up a whole new world for me.
I don’t know how other writers do it, or if they go through the same process as me. Perhaps I’m different than your average “mainstream” writer, because the characters that I create are meant for roleplaying rather than novels.
My method of creating a new character always starts with me.
Sometimes, this new idea or new concept is only a passing irritation. More often, it’s a long standing issue that I’ve struggled with. I make that concept the core of the character, and then I start adding things, supporting characteristics, traits, flaws, strengths, and more that give the character life. But there’s always that soul of who they are, their individual muse that has come entirely from myself.
I have this one character who’s had many renditions and many versions over the years, and despite knowing that he came from a core part of me, I never understood why I felt such a close kinship with him.
Recently, through therapy, I was able to pinpoint all of the things that we have in common despite the fact that he’s a fictional character who grew up very differently than I did.
We’re both perfectionists who feel exposed by showing emotion. We both hate making mistakes. We’re both sensitive and have a rather rocky sense of self-identity.
This realization, despite our differences, made me realize a few things.
First, therapy is amazing and everyone should go at least once in their lives, even if it’s just for a “check up.”
Second, people (or even characters) can be vastly different and vastly similar at the same time.
Third, I am a writer.
That last one was hard for me, because I don’t publish any of my work, but I do have something to show for it. I have my own peace of mind, a deeper understanding of myself and others, and an amazing outlet to work through emotional upheaval that has kept me (at least mostly) sane for most of my life.
I’m still a dork. Just maybe a more sane dork.