Writing has always been a comfort for me, ever since I was a child when I would spend hours drawing little fairy comics in my notebooks with my sister, forcing my parents to read it as if it was a master piece.
The comics would always end up with some fairy that was sort of different or outcast-ed, being hurt or shunned in some way, and then later accepted as friends to all of the other fairies all, because one other fairy stood up against the ones being ‘mean’.
For years I would make these comics, creating the princess or the fairies or the fairy princesses.
Stories would always lurk inside my head and I would even be cast out at school for being strange, as I sat with some of the students playing ‘Pretend’, telling people to act out the stories in my head and role-playing as it were, even from an early age. We would play pretend for hours, and these stories that the other kids acted out would just be a game for the others, and yet they would be magical for me. Seeing what was in my head being acted out in front of me was something of wonder, especially when I was the main character. I am sure that if our playing ‘Pretend’ was allowed to last hours, and not cut off by the school bell or someone’s parents coming to collect them at the end of the day, then the game would last for hours until someone called it quits.
I was the daydreamer.
The one who would write for pages and pages whenever we had a creative writing task at school, even if it was only meant to be a short story. But how could you write a story, in less than a page. I’d read books after books, and those stories had been hundreds and hundreds of pages long. I wanted to match those and write for pages and pages, only later getting told off by the teachers for writing too much.
When’s too much for a story?
Young me didn’t know, and wanted to write and write letting the words in my head unfold into a book just like I’d seen on the shelves of WHSmith and Waterstones.
Soon, playing ‘Pretend’ wasn’t cool anymore, and no one wanted to act out the stories in my head. I was bullied for making up the stories, and telling people over and over about the characters in my head; about the princesses, fairies, children and adults, all completing magical adventures. I was kicked and thrown around, called weird and a freak for having a strong imagination. I was called a nerd for writing stories that were too long, and writing stories that took up most of the exercise book.
No one wanted to play my games, and soon I was playing solo, and acting out my stories on my own, but that only encouraged the bullies more.
That was when I acquired a notebook of my own.
I had had notebooks before, but they were always for me and my sister to play around in and draw our little comics.
This times, this notebook was mine and I could create whatever I wanted.
Of course I drew myself, but myself as a magical character that I saw in my head. I was a princess, and instead of everyone bullying me, I was loved for my stories, and loved for my games. Everyone wanted to be friends with me in my world. I drew my dream house. I drew my friends and wrote stories about them and what they liked and disliked.
Myself as a Princess lived with me then, and I acted as the Princess every day.
My friends were always with me, and I would talk to them constantly. Even though no one else could see them, I could, down to the last detail. They were mine, and they were just invisible to the world as they were from another land, and didn’t want to identify themselves to anyone but me, because they could trust me.
I acquired more and more notebooks, and in these I wrote stories after stories about the adventures my friends had been on, such as being transported through books to other lands; being captured by evil beings only to escape with power; defeating monsters and riding dragons.
They did things that no one else could have dreamed of doing, and I wrote down all of their adventures as they told them too me, down to the names and words that people had said to them along the way.
I must have gotten through fifty or so notebooks writing these stories, that my parents’ bank accounts must have been burning with the amount of times we went to WHSmith to buy more, and more pencils and sharpeners too.
And then they ran out of stories.
I had written all of the stories that my friends had told me.
And yet there were more inside my head; people I had never met before, invisible or not, I could think of more characters that had gone on more and more adventures.
And then year seven hit.
I had moved away from the bullies and ready to start fresh with new people, in a smaller school that would hopefully treat me better.
But this school was further away from me, and I had quite a trip to get there, so that could only mean one thing.
I would spend my travelling talking to my invisible friends, telling them stories on the way to the trains station, on the train and then walking to school. If no one wanted to hang out with me at break or lunch I would circle the small playground and tell these stories to myself, only to be stared at by others as if I was mad.
I realise now that I probably was a little bit mad, talking to my ‘invisible’ friends, and talking to myself all the time. I’m sure people on the train looked at me weirdly too, and didn’t know what to think of an eleven year old girl in a school uniform, talking to herself and ‘invisible’ friends. It was probably something out of a horror film for them.
And yet none the less, all through year seven I did this, and then would go home to my notebooks, and write and write all of the stories I had thought of that day and told to myself and my ‘invisible’ friends.
And then I came up with the Pheonix Series, and actually thought for the first time that I could turn these Characters into something.
So, I turned to my family computer and started writing.
I ditched the notebooks, using them to take notes on my newly thought out Phoenix Series, and instead wrote on the computer.
I would write for hours with music in the my ears. School had gotten hard, and new bullies had turned up, but I kept going with my stories and made sure to never lose my imagination. My Phoenix Series was my escape. I no longer turned to my ‘invisible’ friends, and instead turned to Joanna.
I turned to Joanna Dollbrook, a girl was magical powers and the main source to find out who she is and why her parents had been murdered. I was in my element with my favourite girl, telling her story and hogging the computer.
I would throw fits if I had an idea for my writing, and yet my sister was on the computer doing her work.
I needed to write, and my notebooks were no longer an option. I needed the computer.
And then that Christmas.
I got a laptop.
My parents had got me a laptop.
This was something I was so excited for and treasured with my life.
I would do my travelling and day at school telling myself about this girl Joanna, and would then come home to my Laptop! My baby! My life! I would escape the world of bullies and nagging sisters, and go into the magical world, being a student at Foxswift School of Magic.
The corner of the living room, everything plugged in, my Ipod on charge, and my ears plugged into music, I would sit for hours with a blanket over my knees just writing and getting sucked into the world.
When I had finished my book I had given it to my Dad to write, someone I admired heavily and wanted to impress.
He said it was very dark.
It was dark. It was a very dark novel, and I remember then I had thought that it wasn’t dark, and that it was normal like all of the other books I had read. But it wasn’t. Because I was going through such a dark time in my life, being bullied and my depression starting to hit me harder than it had hit me before, my writing had been reflected off that and my writing had gotten dark.
No matter what I did to try and change my writing, my dad would always say that it was dark.
I would sulk, wanting my writing to be light and easy to read, instead of heavy and full of depression like it was.
I instead stopped editing and going over my first book, and instead turned to book two and started writing that.
This time, it wasn’t going to be dark.
I did the same as I always did, and travelled to school, this time not talking to myself and keeping myself quiet, ignoring my ‘invisible’ friends, and focusing on my book, and the second tale of Joanna Dollbrook. I wanted my dad to love the book, and say that it was light and easy, and yet brilliant.
I would get back from school, sit in my little corner with my ears pounding with music, and wrote and wrote.
I wrote so much, that I know now, it had turned into an addiction.
Writing was an addiction.
I guess, it’s one of the better addictions you can have. After all, you could be addicted to smoking or drugs, alas, I was addicted to creating my stories.
But this affected my work, and soon my writing turned into my everything. Instead of doing my work at school I would daydream about the Phoenix Series and come up with stories when I should have been writing. When I was doing exams, no matter how hard I tried, my stories would cloud my brain and my ‘invisible’ friends would come out wanting to play. I would get told off for telling nothing to ‘Go Away, I’m working.’ and get concerning looks every time I covered my ears and closed my eyes tight trying to focus on my school work, instead of telling my stories.
Whenever I got a creative writing piece however, I would write and write and write, just like I had done when I was younger, and yet this time be praised.
I’m sure it wasn’t fair, giving the teacher so much to read. And I’m sure that teacher only decided to read a page of it, instead of reading it all, and I find that quite funny. I was just a small kid with a story in my brain. Which adult would take that seriously that wasn’t a psychologist?
And yet I would come home and still write.
I would give in to my stories and continue to write them down, sometimes before I had even done my homework.
It got to the point where my parents told me that I had to do homework before writing, and tell it to me strictly so that I would take them seriously and do as I was told.
Writing was my everything, and I would never get away from it, doing it every day.
It had gotten to the end of book three when I was fourteen going fifteen, and then met my first proper boyfriend.
He loved my stories, and my nerdy reading self, but saw my imagination as more of a threat than something to praise.
Here was a human who wanted to hang out with me, and yet I would rather be writing. And soon I realised, I want to hang out with him too. Writing days would soon get taken over by spending time with him, and soon I was coming away from writing.
My stories were still fluent in my brain, and I was having fun.
My eyes were open, suddenly open and I started seeing the world more clearly. My stories were a blur, and the real world was in front of me. I still read all the time, mainly Harry Potter, but also other things, but as I started making new friends in yet again another new school, I wrote and wrote less often.
I started wearing makeup and wore tight skirts.
I started thinking about my boyfriend and wanting to impress people.
People thought I was still an innocent daydreamer, but they also thought I was funny and that I had a good brain on me. And everything seemed okay.
As I escaped the land of my stories and my ‘invisible’ friends, the world around me was less foggy and actually seemed quite bright, and that reflected in my books.
It took me longer to write my fourth book, going into my first relationship and having a tight nit friendship group for the first time in my life.
Everything was good.
And then the abuse happened.
I guess in some cases you don’t know you’re being abused until after it happens. And I know now that I was being abused. I was being punished for being a daydreamer, and teased by my friends and boyfriend for being innocent and a ‘prude’. I was pushed around, slapped, punched, kicked, thrown around. I was being told that I would only be pretty skinny. I was told a lot of things that I now know are bullshit, but then I took seriously.
And my writing turned dark.
When I came home crying in my room, not letting my parents see my tears I would go back to my writing and write and write my heart out into the early hours of the night.
If I slept I got nightmares, so soon I chose not to sleep and instead write.
Writing was my friend and my comfort.
Joanna Dollbrook was the one friend who didn’t tease me or treat me horribly. I had her and no one could take her away from me.
I grew thin. I grew angry. I grew severely depressed and soon the only thing keeping me alive was my writing.
I would only live for my writing and nothing else.
If I died, what would happen to my Phoenix Series, left alone and untold to the world. I wanted to see my stories out there and told. That’s what kept me alive. I needed my writing, and at the time it felt like my writing needed me to keep it alive.
When the abusive relationship was over my writing was my only escape.
I submerged myself in these letters on a screen and turned to them for support.
After the bad relationship I was left with no friends, and I was alone.
My writing kept me sane enough to not go through with a lot of suicide attempts.
I ended up in hospital.
Now I won’t talk about the next couple years, but let’s just say they weren’t pretty.
My mental health had taken a turn for the worse, and I was in a very low, unstable place. My addiction grew for my writing, but so did buying things and harming myself. It was not a pretty couple years.
My Mental Health stayed bad, and I ended up getting Insomnia after my many nights forcing myself awake for my writing, and because of my nightmares. And yet, I was able to get through all of that and stay alive.
But then I grew.
As I grew older though, my writing lessened. I was more focused on adult things, such as work, friends and socialising. I would open my eyes a little bit more, and try not to get so clouded in mental health and my writing.
But then I got taught that maybe writing didn’t have to be a dark place, and I got taught through editing my first book, that maybe something that was dark and dismal, can be rebuilt into a bright and happier place.
With my eyes wider and a smile on my face a little bigger, I edited my first book with a teacher of mine, spending our English lessons working on my book instead of doing actual English work (But it was a special school so I could do that without harm to any work).
My dark dark book turned brighter and happier.
This newly bright book, with of course some dark bits in it, was brought to life and I saw my book as a work of art instead of an escape.
So I published it.
I then joined a college and started doing musical theatre, something else I treasure and love with all of my heart, and I may even tell my musical theatre story too later on in the year if its okay with you.
Writing soon turned a little distant as musical theatre cluttered my brain, and the thought of maybe being an author one day was pushed to the back of my brain, as being a successful west end performer took over.
I wrote every so often, but dancing, acting and singing was usually more on my brain.
And then I met Ollie, and he encouraged my writing.
I wrote, and he loved it.
Yes, he knew back then that I was a full on daydreamer, but he loved it and didn’t punish it like the last boyfriend did.
I started writing when I could, able to focus my mind on my homework and my writing at the same time, something that I had never been able to do before.
My eyes got brighter and so did my writing as I edited the second book in the Phoenix Series, and also wrote the fifth book.
Writing and Writing, I found my love for it again, but this time knew that too much and I would grow addicted so I knew when to stop.
I think I wrote a little too much, now that my second book is over 800 pages, but what can you do? I can’t get my heart to lower the pages and take away anything from the story. My writing is my writing, and my heart won’t allow to take anything my brain came up with, away.
Then the shit all happened at college and I was dismissed from my course for having Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, and again, I turned to my writing, and of course, Ollie.
Then work happened, and writing was cancelled out as I never had time with the amount of times I worked during the week.
But I missed writing, so I applied to university to do Creative Writing.
So, writing is the reason I’m here at university now.
Thanks to being kicked from my college course I have to do a Foundation course before going into my degree, which led my down the path of journalism.
I still do my writing as all of you know, having started a blog and all, and am in the current time of writing The Supernova and the Phoenix Series at the same time. I’m finding things that remind me of my characters every day, but I’m not as submerged as I used to be as a child. My ‘invisible’ friends pop up to me now and again to try and distract me, and get me to pay attention to them and their games, but usually now only remain in my head and talk to me there.
My writing now is usually my work, but when I get down to it I write my books, and who knows, maybe I will have something published in actual pages and hardcover one day. I will never know.
So yeah, that was the story of my writing and what it’s been over my life.
Quite a roller coaster? You’re telling me, but writing is my life, and something I love doing no matter what it’s for. My stories play in my head every day and are my loves. Part of me still lives for my books, but its not the only thing anymore.
I’ve grown, and so has my writing.
But for now, I will leave you to work on The Supernova, and probably get some tea.
Feature Picture credit: anon. Found on Tumblr.