All I’ve ever known about myself is that I’m better at writing words than speaking them. That picking up a pen, or finding a keyboard is easier for me than tripping over the words that fall out of my discombobulated mouth. When I was a kid, I wrote about the pain I felt of feeling alone, considering the fact that I had zero friends. I wrote about the boy that I had a crush on in fifth grade. I wrote about loneliness and anxiety, not knowing that what I felt in those darkened days would get better.
In middle school, I wrote about a true crime case that happened too close to home, which lead my teacher to see how mature I was, and how thought provoking I was. That really sticks out to me, just because I was so young and the topic was so serious. I aced the paper and held the high review for it with me, still to this day. It was a terrible case, it was an unfortunate case, and now that I think about it, it subconsciously put a post-it note in my head that I would be a true crime writer later on in life.
High school is where I began to write constantly. Freshman year, I began to write fanfiction for a number of things, writing multiple chapters a day for multiple topics. All the while, my creative writing teacher was failing me over a miscommunication. The irony still makes me laugh to this day. During sophomore year, I found a friend who pointed me to read a lot more and to write a lot more. That’s also when I came across a certain band, and their lead singer inspired me to really dive into the realm of writing honestly and writing words that provoke thoughts and earnest feelings. (Thank you, Alex Gaskarth). I also started to write thanks to the wonderful and perfect show aka One Tree Hill, which I had been watching for a few years. That show… Is everything. It has a lot to do with my writing and I. That show… It pushed me to be even more honest and vulnerable, which was terrifying and freeing at the same time. Later, junior and senior year held more of the same. I was writing fanfiction for my eyes only, long-handed and in word documents. I dabbled with multiple topics, scenarios, and character portrayals. Hey, don’t sleep on your fanfiction writers, okay?
After graduation, I continued to write. I wrote long statuses on Facebook and long captions on Instagram to get people thinking about specific topics. I blogged here and there, but nothing worth talking about. Until the most difficult loss I had ever experienced came along. My Grandma had passed when I was nineteen. She was my best friend. She was my confidant. She was my biggest fan. And the very last thing she told me to do was to write a true crime novel. Which, struck a chord with me because here I was, a person who loved to write, but I didn’t tell anyone that. I was still writing fiction pieces, but literally, no one knew because I didn’t want to receive criticism for it. I kept writing to myself. It was my safe place. It was my escape from reality. And here she was, telling me to do the one thing I’ve always wanted to do, but no one knew, Not even her. Or so I thought.
So, I carried that with me every day after she passed away. Thinking about something that I could write, completely unique, to fulfill her last request for me. It took me years to figure it out. YEARS. But I am so proud to say that I am writing a novel called Autumn & The Moon for her. For my grandma. It’s a true crime novel, through and through. It highlights our daily conversations about the crime shows we used to watch. It highlights her within the names of my characters. It highlights her within the walls of one of the character’s kitchens. Her fingerprints are all throughout my novel, and I can’t wait to get it published and dedicate it to her memory.
Which brings me to why I write. Why I spend so much time making writing playlists on Spotify and novel aesthetic boards. Why I go through the trouble of listening to true crime podcasts and doing extensive research, even when people judge me for my interests. I’ve figured out over the years that I write for myself. To clear my own head. To help myself align my thoughts. To release anxiety. To provoke thoughts and start conversations. To allow whomever to read my earnest words and carry something with them from my transparent heart. Every single time I pick up a pen or move my fingers to type, you can very well believe that my words are not hearsay. They’re from the deepest depths of my bones and soul. That my honesty is my heart pouring out where it is needed and due. My grandma was an earnest lady, and I like to think that I get it from her. I’m writing this novel and I aspire to make a living pouring my heart out in books for years to come. But this first novel is for her, and I’d like to think that in some weird way, it’s brought me closer to her.
I write for a multitude of reasons, but at the end of the day: you write for your own reasons as well. I like to ask questions when I write. It’s more thought-provoking. It sticks with people when you make them examine themselves. Like the question surrounding my novel is “Do You Really Know The People That You Love?” To close, my question for you in this piece is are you writing authentically, or are you still holding back the words within yourself that you think the world isn’t ready to hear yet?
Guess what? The world is ready for your words. The most authentic, paralyzing, provoking, elaborate words. The world is yearning to quench its thirst on your earnest heart. Don’t be afraid to say what you want. Don’t think that your words aren’t good enough. Your readers are already waiting on you. Just do the thing. Write the thing. Whatever it may be. You never know where it might take you.
~ Taylor Young