Writing has always been a passion of mine. In elementary school all my classmates got depressed when we had to write an essay, but I couldn’t be more thrilled. In high school we once had to write a short essay for philosophy. I can’t remember what it was all about, but I do remember I chose to write this in a diary style. My ‘short’ essay contained more than 15 pages. And because it was a diary, I hadn’t done it behind my computer. Instead I had written it by pen.
But I didn’t only write when my school teacher told me to. At home I wrote short stories with my dad, in which we took turns in writing paragraphs. When I was alone, I created poems and lyrics. One of these lyrics even made it to an actual song! A dream of mine always was to write a novel.
But I didn’t pursue this dream. I even stopped writing altogether. I still wonder why. I went to college, became a student, got a job. I became an adult. A boring, regular adult who had lost her creativity somewhere along the way. I had become the adult I swore I’d never be.
When I created my 101 in 1001 list, I wanted to stop being that boring adult who just lets life pass by. I wanted to become creative again and use my talents. I wanted to fulfill my dream of writing a novel. But I wanted it to be awesome. So I figured I should first practice my writing again. And what better way to practice there is than to write stories?
To give myself a bit of direction here, I created this goal:
No. 26 – Participate in 10 writing contests.
I figured writing contests would help me start my story, by making certain decisions for me already: the amount of words, the genre, sometimes even a subject to write about. I thought these restrictions would help me focus on the story itself.
To be honest, if it weren’t for my goal, I probably would have never dared sending in a story for a contest. I’m too much of a perfectionist. In the past I would only send in my story if I thought it would win first price. Most stories never win first price though. Even when they’re good. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of being written, read or shared with the world!
In the Netherlands, every year in March we have an event called Week of Books (‘Boekenweek’). This week is all about buying books, reading novels and writing stories. It always has a specific theme. This year’s theme was ‘Waanzin’ which means ‘Madness’. This year during Week of Books there was a writing contest which had the same theme as the Week of Books itself: Madness. This was perfect for me! A lot of crazy stuff has been going on in my life lately, so writing about madness shouldn’t be hard at all.
So I wrote a story: ‘Eindbestemming’ (which means ‘Final Destination’). It’s a story based on true stuff. A story from my own life, but from the point of view of someone else. I have sent it in and I have been notified that I didn’t end up in the top 50 stories. But that’s okay. I didn’t write this story to win the contest (although that would have been nice, considering the price was a trip to Iceland). This is a story I wrote to find back my passion to write again, to be creative again and to stop being such a perfectionist and just do. But most of all, I wrote this story to try and understand. Because what the mind is incapable of, words can sometimes grasp.