Sometimes success feels a lot like failure.
That was the whole idea behind Lonesome Skye, a young adult book I’m currently working on. In the story, Skye gets her dream spot on the volleyball team, only to earn the torment of one of her peers. She has to decide whether standing up for herself is worth the fight.
This story has been a hard one for me to write. At first, I think I just wrote it to work through some of my own high school experiences, but then it became so much more. It became a story about the multiple forms bullying can take, about the danger of losing yourself in the eyes of others, and how high school relationships can be so, so helpful or so, so hurtful.
Each time I read through it to make revisions, I find myself getting sucked back into the story emotionally, and that hasn’t always been easy since Skye’s experiences aren’t always easy. I’m finally to a point where I can say the story is close to done, and I’m having trouble letting it go.
As a writer—and as a person, if I’m being honest—I tend toward perfectionism. I think if I can make myself and my work perfect at least something in the world is right. But I know it’s not like that, especially in this story with all its messy parts. Maybe the reason I’m having trouble letting it go is because I can’t make it perfect. Period.
But part of my goal as a writer is to write real fiction, and that means sometimes things aren’t going to be perfect. And like life, just because it’s not perfect doesn’t mean it’s worth less. Sometimes it’s all our dents and scratches that make us someone with an actual story to tell.