When I was 7, I wrote a book (and it was awful)

I was seven years old when I set pen to paper and wrote my very first novel (spoiler: it wasn’t very good)

I could say that my passion for writing drove me to pick up a pen for the first time, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, it was boredom (and a vast imagination). In a flurry of excitement I set to work. I spent too much time contemplating the title (and wayyy too little time considering character development). Nevertheless, after hours of work, my four page masterpiece — Standing in the Night — was complete.The spelling is so bad you have to guess half of the words. 

It’s unoriginal (I copied the basic plot from a TV show my parents were watching)

It’s four (4) pages long – and took me hours to write.

The tenses change three (3) times throughout the story.

But I can assure you of one thing: it was the most exciting start to writing I could have chosen for myself.

Standing In The Night is a story about a seven year old named Ashly who wakes up one night and hears a mysterious voice calling to her from the nearby forest. Very typically Ashly decides to listen to this voice and follows it, but only after she has packed (and I quote from the book)“a map, two torches, compass, rucksack, wood, five bottles of water, a stick of meat, a frying pan and maches” — I assume that I meant matches, but you can never be too sure — Ashly then makes her way deep into the forest. At some point this voice gets a body and turnws out to be a fifteen year old boy who then transforms Ashly into a fifteen year old too. Quite abruptly the book then ends, when Ashly is told she is a magical being and that she should “fight evil, go home, enjoy your life and Be Safe. THE END.”

Is it strange for little girls to follow mysterious voices through the forest? Yes, it is. Is it even stranger that a seven year old has wood, frying pans and sticks of meat in their bedroom? Of course. But it’s these oddities that make my writing adventure exciting. 

It’s wonderful to think of a time where my writing wasn’t limited to anything but my own imagination. Even after I realised that Standing In The Night wasn’t the bestseller I assumed it would be I didn’t stop writing. Writing was always there, when I needed it and even when I didn’t. 

I went through an extensive and slightly obsessive writing period where I was writing so fast I thought my fingers would fall off (they didn’t) – about a boy who breathed fire, a girl who shape shifted into an owl, a set of twins who were on a top secret spy mission to kill the president and even a story about a rabbit and how it became best friends with the man who wanted to kill it. I was constantly writing, but it was only at age 11 that it hit me hard: (like 40 million cats diving at you from the top of a roof) I was a writer and it’s all I wanted to do.

With each book I wrote I learnt a lot about myself and about the art of writing. I went from writing for about an hour every day with characters who were only described by the colour of their eyes and hair, to writing every day for hours and being forced into bed by my parents, who insisted that 12 year old Kat Silver needed to sleep more than 4 hours a night (thanks mom and dad)

Now, years later, I still find myself sitting at a laptop and writing every day. I know I’ve only just turned 16 , but I know that this is where I belong, with a blank page in front of me to fill with words.

What’s your writing journey like? I’d love to know.

6 Responses

  1. I’M SO GLAD YOU REALTE (I thought I was all alone writing my childhood years away. Ha!).

    Oh my goodness, Cait. *literally laughing out loud* You STOLE your sisters hobby???
    That’s kind of wonderful (?) and oh-my-gosh THANK GOODNESS YOU DID. I can’t even imagine a world where you aren’t writing which is TOTALLY weird, isn’t it? Anyway…
    WHY ISN’T MIME WRITNG ANYMORE? (That IS who you’re talking about, right?)

    Thank you for sharing with me.
    Made my day knowing I’m not alone in this and also your writing story still has me laughing.
    Have a good morning/afternoon/evening.

  2. THAK YOU gives you a cupcake and begs you to stay*
    I love hearing about other humans who wrote when they were younger.

    CONGRATULATIONS on your first draft (!!!) that’s such an exciting feeling knowing that you DID do it and that it IS possible to come from cringey writing of the past (I know the feeling) and look at something you’re proud of. *applause*

    Good luck with the edits that are bound to come and I can’t wait to hear more about this first draft and see it on shelves soon!

    Thank you for the lovely comment (and I’m sorry it took me so long to reply!)
    Have a beautiful day!

  3. It’s SO exciting to hear of other people going through the same sort of experience.
    *throws confetti to celebrate young humans writing*

    Even posting this was cringey to me so I COMPLETELY understand how thinking about past writing is embarrassing.
    CONGRATULATIONS on finishing your first novel! *gives you a cupcake to celebrate* I can’t wait to see your epic fantasy on shelves soon.

    I know how editing, rewriting, editing and *shudders* even more editing can drive some writers crazy but I think it’s AMAZING that you’re getting ready to go through it all. Do you have any plans to publish?

    Also, I LOVE POETRY. I’ve never been any good at writing it so I admire anyone who does. *applauds*

    Thank you for the comment (and I’m sorry for the late reply).
    Have a wondrous day.

  4. I love this post!

    I actually started writing when I was 10 or so. My first thing I ever wrote was a Valentine’s poem for my grandma. She encouraged me to keep writing so I did. I wrote lots and lots of sad poems. Then horrible short stories and my first “book” was a wopping 40 pages filled with typos. It was horrible, but I felt great because I DID IT. Now I have just finished my first honest-to-goodness first draft and my beta’s are reading it and I’m so proud! Writing is an outlet for me, it always has been. 🙂

  5. Oh oh I love this. I DO. And that is really awesome how you just become a rabid fan of writing. :’) I adore how you said: “but I know that this is where I belong, with a blank page in front of me to fill with words.” YES YOU HAVE A WAY WITH WORDS OMG THAT LINE IS BEAUTIFUL AND RELATABLE. I actually definitely relate a lot to this post. I always thought it was weird when people DIDN’T spend their days reading/writing. Like…what better thing would you have to do, omg???? Ahem.

    Okay so my writing origin story is HORRIBLY SHALLOW. My little sister was 7 (magical age!) and started writing and everyone made such a fuss over how adorable and clever she was that…I….started writing too. Yes. I told you it was shallow. It’s funny though, because 10 years later she basically quit and doesn’t write anymore, and I, the shallowest thing of the universe, am the wild writer who will never eeeever stop. So thank you, sister, for letting me STEAL YOUR HOBBY MWHAHAHA. ahem. Okay I’ll shush now.

  6. Similar, I wrote poems since I was….. I don’t know 8 and before that I wrote ‘stage plays’ and they were about the most embarrassing thing ever…. I actually still have some of them somewhere though. And then I wrote longer and longer ‘short stories’ but I called them books of course and now I have actually finished one book…. okay the second draft of it but it has kinda got a bit left behind and now I am writing a epic fantasy… that I intend to write and edit and edit and re write and edit and edit and edit……

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