Here’s a quote from a 2005 writing class student autobiography:
I’m both proud and ashamed to say that I only read fiction. I can’t remember the last non-fiction book I finished but I love novels. It’s not surprising that most of my writing projects take on the form of novels. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve learned that my scope has significantly exceeded my skill and discipline. I have three half-finished novels that take up space on my hard drive. Two of them get picked up every two months and revised or mutated, but rarely added to. They’re both very alive in my head, just not so much on paper.
And so I wrote. I wrote and I wrote. By 2008, I finished the first full draft of a novel and even sent it around. I dreamed of movie deals, and agent interest, and any interest…
Well, I revised. And I did a NaNoWriMo for a new novel. And I kept taking classes. In the spring of 2010, at a college reunion, I said aloud: I want to be a science-fiction writer.
It was a weird thing to say. I read a lot of literary fiction. I’m not a cosplayer, don’t own a lightsaber. Yet, most of my preoccupations were highly speculative (a word I wouldn’t learn for a while to come).
2010 sticks in my mind because, despite lack of publication, or writing routine, or anything that might possibly justify the title “writer,” I was bombastic enough to proclaim: “I shall be writer.” It was a moment of naive candor and I’d said it to other people. I was on the record with myself. I was accountable.
Time has snuck past me. I’ve be cranking away for somewhere between five and twelve years and it feels like I’ve both come a long way, and that I’ve barely begun.