Guest Blog: Cuyler, turning the dream of being a writer into a reality
Every writer starts as a dreamer. Cuyler dreamt of being a writer. And now his first book is being published. This is his story of how he is turning his dream into a reality.
My Journey as a Writer
By Cuyler Seth Creech
My name is Cuyler Seth Creech. I am currently eighteen years of age and I reside in a small town called Whitt. I’m your average bookworm, one whose bookshelf is currently overflowing with an ocean of pages of adventure and mystery.
Each book is like another world to me. Some have dangerous worlds, others have spectacular worlds. They take me to all kinds of places, like a dozen mini vacations in a weeks time. And even though each world is different, they all receive the same reaction for me: Wow. I wish I could do that.I’ve always been a little off with how I speak. I tend to stutter and mumble and end up just sticking with being quiet. My words get jumbled up inside my head as they make the journey out of my mouth. It was like a glitch in the system.
I was very jealous of the vast number of authors out there. How they could take something so small and turn it into a jaw-dropping masterpiece just by using their head. They flow of all the countless and mesmerizing ideas taunted me, asking me to give them flight into stories of my own.
So finally I did.
But it wasn’t easy. For years I tried and tried and tried, but I could never come up with a good story. The blessing of a good flow hadn’t come upon me just yet. Sure I’d written countless short stories, ranging from dragons to time travel, but they just weren’t good enough. But the fact that I could not resist was that I loved to write. It didn’t matter if they were good enough on paper.
Well my father spoke to me. He hadn’t read the first chapter of the great disaster, but he’d told me not to give up just yet. That maybe I just had to be patient. Like the flow would come to me when it decides.
The flow is a raw power. Like fire. Uncontrollable and unpredictable. It can diminish itself into something as thin and useless as smoke, or it can return with a vengeance like a raging forest fire. The flow is not controlled by the author. The author is controlled by the flow. So I waited for my forest fire. I waited and waited and waited, and still nothing. I read instead of wrote, again being taunted by the abilities of the authors I craved.
And one day I sat down in front of the computer, its screen a mindless hum of nothingness as it stared back at me. Waiting patiently as well for my fingers to sprawl across its unused keys and relieve the itch to be pressed.
And still, nothing came.
The next day I was driving in my truck, on my way home for another flow-less night of staring at the ghosts of potential.
And then it hit me. Like a speeding train with no breaks. Names. Places. Events. Storyline. Bam! Bam! Bam!
I raced to get home, the accelerator pressed to the max. I flung open my bedroom door and sat down in front of the computer. Its sad, luminous face looking up at me with surprise and hope. I unfurled my fingers, placed them in their designated seats, and watched as my forest fire set ablaze.
I researched and found the perfect area for the setting of my book. A small, dilapidated village in Alaska. A place called Anaktuvuk Pass. A home for my homeless characters. After I found them a home, I started to write. The untamable fire coursed through my fingers as they sped across the keys, greedy like sharks in a feeding frenzy in the sea of letters.
My forest fire was raging.
Soon the first chapter of Skin-walker was completed. I hit “Ctrl+P” and watched as the words made their home onto the paper. I grabbed the sheets, still warm from the printer, and gave them to my family to read. And this time I didn’t get a bad review. On the contrary. I got a great review. They could see everything so clearly, as if they themselves were there in the icy, cold mountains of Alaska. The flurries from the blizzard biting at their face and ankles. From then on I knew I had a good thing going.
My family continued to read my story. Chapter by chapter like a soap opera. Skin-walker was the new kid on the block. And boy was he popular.
Throughout the process, I’d been satisfied with everything but the title. So soon, Skin-walker became reborn as my greatest accomplishment. A little story I like to call Shifter. A year and a half and over 90,000 words later, I’d completed my first ever novel. Shifter was ready for the next step.
For only half the battle was over. The editing…oh the editing. That was a major pain, but extremely worth it in the end. Each time I went over it, it got better and better. Like a stone being polished into a gem. Over and over until I held a glistening diamond in my hands.
My dad and I researched countless publishing houses, each one with their own prices, but all of which were out of my price range. So we figured for me, a guy who wasn’t making thousands of dollars, we decided that self publishing was the way to go. But even self publishing was no cheap ride either. They offered various services from cover design to manuscript formatting, both of which were extremely expensive. That being said, I knew I had to do this on my own. So I did.
From the cover to the spine and all the other painstakingly furious formatting, I did it all myself. I guess secretly I didn’t trust anyone else with manifesting my precious creation through cover art and format but me. But finally it all came together. I got everything I needed to do done.
As soon as the files were fine tuned to the publisher’s guidelines, they were emailed, ready to be put together. After some more fine tuning here and there, all there was to do was wait.
On May 31st, Shifter, my greatest creation, was published into the vast world of literacy. My greatest accomplishment. Biggest dream coming true.
When I received the first printed copy of Shifter it was like a dream. To hold the story in my hands as something solid, something real, that meant a lot. It meant that I did it. I’d done what all those other writers I’d been so jealous of had done. I’d written a novel. I could call myself a published author. It felt amazing.
So here I had my novel published, printed into a glossy-covered masterpiece. So what was next? Well, my journey as a writer has not ended here with only one book published. Far from it. I have big plans for Shifter. I plan to have it become a series of three books, a trilogy. Currently, my newest book Unspeakable, which is a separate novel and not part of the Shifter series, is in the works. And many others in the future. And maybe one day I’ll go to my computer, sit down and boot up its welcoming screen. Perhaps I’ll go to that place where my first story resides. Where Dinosauria awaits to grow wings and fly into its life of public literacy. One day, it will join its brothers and sisters, to entertain children and adults alike.
Because I have found my calling. My voice to speak to this world that craves touching, adventurous, and enthralling stories.
This is my life. So open it up and watch my forest fire burn.
Want more info? Visit Cuyler’s page.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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