Lately I’ve been feeling hopeless.

What’s the point, I thought, of writing all these short stories and novel drafts and fanfictions? It isn’t like I would ever get published. Earn money from royalties. Have devoted readers. Make people cry and laugh and smile with the fiction I weave. Getting published is hard. And even after, what’s stopping the crowd from tearing me apart? They would read my book, then they would give it one star on Goodreads, write a review with adjectives that would kill me a bit inside. Probably would also accompany the review with reaction GIFs, not the good kind.

What is the bloody point of going through NaNoWriMo if all these would happen anyway? Or worse, nothing happens, and my unfinished draft just sits there in my hard drive pretending it doesn’t exist. Waste of freaking time.

What’s the point of continuing to fool myself that someday, with practice, I could be a good enough writer? I certainly would never be a good enough student. Academically.

I came home feeling terrible. I canceled my night out with friends, because I didn’t want to be in a conversation and risk suddenly bursting into tears, ruining everyone’s night. I wanted to go to a club alone, but I didn’t have the guts for it. Pity. I really could use music so loud and room so dark I couldn’t feel eyes on me or hear my own thoughts. I’m not much of a party girl, but there are nights, such as this one, when I just want to be merely another silhouette writhing through the beats, just me and the pulsating music and the slight buzz of alcohol crawling under my skin.

But that option was out, so I stayed home. I sat and watched as my mom sorted through old magazines, and I remembered something I should never have forgotten.

I am–was? am?–a published author.

Not in the grand sense. I still have never written a heartbreaking novel, or an epic saga or adventure. But I did write a fairy tale (with, surprise surprise, fairies) and sent it to a children magazine. They published it. They sent me a sum of money through postal money order, as honorarium. I was actually paid for my writing, and that was before I turned twelve.

I can no longer remember when, or how much I got paid, or even what the fairy tale was about (other than the faint memory of a very beautiful fairy).

For a moment I was very, very scared that it was my mind playing tricks on me, but I asked my mother and she did confirm it. It happened. There was once a postal money order from a magazine with my name on it.

So damn it. If I could get published before I even went through puberty, I better could get published now. I just have to fucking figure out how.