Today, I am proud to share the words of writer Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone.
What would I burn? What would I vanquish from my life?
I think I’d burn my old writing to bits.
To let you understand why I’d do such a thing, I should first reveal the years of struggle that came after leaving writing school and before publishing my first book. But I won’t go into that. Because the point of burning those old printouts of novels that never got published, and that currently live in dusty stacks under my bed, is that I think I need to stop looking backward. To not dwell.
I want to write new things, not rehash the old. I want to grow as a writer, not fall back into bad habits and wonder why things didn’t go the way I’d originally planned.
I have a feeling that letting go of those drafts, their margins littered with comments from readers and comments from myself over a period of eight or nine years, would allow me to reinvent what came before in ways I can’t even imagine yet. To think of the eight or nine years ahead of me, not behind me.
Because what I remember of what I wrote back then may just be more important than the actual words I put down on the page. Because I don’t need the paper copies anymore, do I? The experience of having written them is enough.
If I could safely set a bonfire in my apartment without burning down the building, these pages are what I’d throw in.
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone. Visit her online or follow her on Twitter at @novaren.