Writing Saved My Life
By Stephanie Campbell
I published my first book, five hundred pages, when I was sixteen. I have heard the question, “How did you have the stamina to do it?” time and time again. Over the years, I have developed a knee-jerk reaction. I tell everyone, “It’s what I love to do!” I twitch when people tell me that it was a huge undertaking.
The real reason I am an author is because writing saved my life. This is not an exaggeration like many writers, particularly me, are know for. When I was fifteen, I was undergoing one of the hardest struggles of my life that still goes on today. I was not a wear all-black-and-dog-chains-while-cutting- myself person. Nobody even knew that I was in trouble. I smiled at everyone. I had bright red hair and wore trendy, nice colored clothes. I was friends with many people. It goes to show you how little you can tell about somebody by the surface. On the outside, I was a happy person. On the inside, I contemplated killing myself every single day.
I’m sure everybody has had those moments where they see a fast approaching car and think, It would be so easy to walk right in the way and let it hit me. BAM. It’s over. You don’t think about that problem anymore. Now imagine what a person is like when they replay that moment every second of your life. You see a high window and have to grit your teeth to stop yourself from hurtling out of it. Every car is a chance. That was me. While I won’t bring up what brought me to this point, I can say this—my self-esteem was shot.
I used to doodle. I was and am a terrible artist. I always wrote stories for the characters, and one day I was told that I should turn all of those ridiculous fantasies into a book. I shrugged my shoulders. It would just be another thing that I would fail at. (Which is ironic, now that I think about it. I was a straight-A student. I hid my good grades in my backpack.) I poured my heart out. I had a reason to get up every morning. My life didn’t get easier, but there was a reason for me to get home. I looked at the cars and wanted to jump, but I couldn’t yet because I had another chapter to finish. It flowed from me. When my book was done, I knew that I wanted to be a writer, even after all of the rejection letters I got from publishers.
Writing literally saved my life, and it still does. I am now a career novelist and am still a person with extremely low self-esteem. I’m sure I annoy my editors with my neurotic behavior at times. But there in one thing that I have learned from my travels—you can never tell who needs help on the surface.
About the Author
Stephanie Campbell is the published author of Dragon Night, P.S. I Killed My Mother, and Poachers. Now, at twenty, she is still wacking away at her computer, one day at a time. When she isn’t reading or writing, she likes to dance, take karate lessons, and run. After all, you never know when you’re about to be sucked into another world.
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