Once upon a time, I wasn’t just a writer: I was a romance-writer.
And I wasn’t particularly interested in romance, or anything remotely like that. I suppose I still am not. It seems pointless, especially when you can be having the times of your life alone (says the antisocial wild-haired girl behind the computer).
It wasn’t a matter of personal preference but more what I felt compelled to write. I’ve never been much of a fantasy person, because I always prefer to live in reality and deal with what’s happening. So in order to write realistic fiction, I had to write romance, right? I never have read a realistic fiction without romance of some variety, and I doubt I ever will.
At the age of twelve, I started. It might seem young, but that’s when I first started writing. None of it was mature –none of it still is– and is equivalent to the romance found in Disney cartoons (no joke there).
They were stories. They were tales of insomniac girls, murderous characters, aspiring artists, dreamers, broken people. They were tales of finding yourself, of love, of family, realisations and, the one thing separated all of it, were twined around the concept of romance.
I built up a reputation online. I had 2,800+ fans on Wattpad, all for my books. I had Wattpad people interviewing me, got Featured with a story of mine (on Wattpad), had interviews with fans, had fans made covers for me, banners, had people read and comment on my stories, left the most amazing messages that made me feel so uplifted, so inspired.
Within a year or so, I had so many interactions, so many people saying hello to me (online) and made the most amazing friends. This, of course, inspired me to write. I had finished 9 novels in this account of mine, each of them above 50,000 words. All this in two years.
But then I deleted that account. Just like that.
That has to be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. And probably, to some people, extremely selfish. But I suppose I never got a chance to explain myself to my fans, and that’s what this blog-post is for. I feel as if I owe you, my dear readers, an explanation of some sort.
During the stages of writing, I realised it wasn’t the romance I fell in love with, but the actual idea of the characters. My first book had a lot of romance and many side-themes as well. Afterwards, however, the genre faltered. I didn’t care about the main character’s love-interest but their own problems.
My main characters had so many obstacles, so many problems, so many thoughts, feelings and emotions. I wanted to write about that. I didn’t want to involve another love-interest because, through my eyes, it cheapened the story somehow. These were stories of healing, getting over pain, and having a random romantic interest wouldn’t make them go away.
The main characters, all female, needed to stand up for themselves. They needed to pick themselves off the ground. Someway. Somehow.
And it was so fascinating. It was magical. Mystical.
Suddenly, I realised I didn’t want to write romance anymore. All those fans I’d received –they weren’t for me, but for my books. My romantic books of love-interests. Nobody cared about the main characters, their journey.
So I closed that account. I loved my time as a romance-writer, because I learned so much about myself. In my case, I’m not romantic. At all.
Before closing my account, I notified my fans and placed a link to my new account as MidnightAria. It was astounding, because 72 people fanned me. 72/2800+ fans were my fans, not fans of stories I used to write but will never write again. Although it may seem like a small number to you, it made my heart swell up. These people. I love these people.
There are side-effects, of course. When I used to write romance, I used to get at least one comment everyday (granted, that was because I used to promote my works like crazy in order to get noticed). But I’m sure that, even with advertising, I wouldn’t get anywhere as many reads. It’s a teenage site. Books without romance are disregarded.
In the last three months, I’ve only received two comments. But I love both these readers, because they’re my readers. They are my fans. They are people who accepted me just the way I am.
It’s difficult to write books without romance, I’ll give you that. I’ve never seen a good demonstration of what that looks like, because, like I said, I’ve never read a book without romance. Or seen a movie. Or anything, really. But I’m trying. I’m trying so hard.
And I love writing now. More than ever.
So I suppose, the positives outweighed the negatives by a mile. Thank you to everybody who supported me on my old account. And an even bigger thank-you to those who continue to support me, now, while I fight procrastination and mountain-high loads of academic paperwork.
You are what keeps me writing.