I was digging through my closet the other night, trying to find a file that I need for an upcoming project. To my delight, I came across some files that I hadn't looked at in years (though I never did find the one I actually need). One file was full of my early writing projects, and I quite literally had forgotten all about them.
I have been writing stories for a very long time. That's practically all I did in junior high and high school, and I loved being able to use the stories I wrote for school assignments. When I pulled out the following story, though, I started laughing:
I submitted this short story, Forever Yours, to my freshman English teacher. I got an A+. Do you recognize the picture? It 's from a television show called Paradise that used to be on CBS in the late 1980s. The main character was a gunfighter-turned-father who had to take care of his sister's orphaned children. His love interest was the local banker, a woman as feisty as she was smart. It was one of my favorite shows probably more for the rocky romance between these two than the gunslingers that used to wander through town.
My story was, naturally, a romance, and the hero was - you guessed it - a former gunslinger on the run, which is why this picture worked so perfectly. In my story, he rescues the damsel in distress, a woman taking a trip on her own to Nebraska to find her father, and the two fall in love.
Corny, yes. But oh, how I loved writing it.
God had a plan for me to find this the other night. Why? Because recently, the Self-Doubt Demon has been sticking its horns into me. I didn't think I could write fiction any more. I've been so focused on my non-fiction projects that downshifting to fiction is a challenge these days and I've been wondering ridiculous things. Do I still have what it takes? Why aren't the words flowing so well anymore? Should I stop?
Yet fiction remains my passion. When I think about writing my stories, when I dream of my characters and their struggles and conflicts, my spirit lightens and I can't wait to dive back into that world again.
So when I found this treasure trove of memories - finished short stories, snippets of ideas for novels, research, etc. - I realized how I could never walk away from this writing gig. It's been a part of me for so long that I honestly do not know what I'd do or how I'd function without it.
Sure, it's hard sometimes. Sure, the Self-Doubt Demon needs slaying every once in awhile. But it's all worth it.
I actually think it's pretty darn awesome that I am still so in love with something I discovered in the sixth grade.
That's staying power.
And that's why I'll never give it up.