I would like to share with you all both as a human being and one who is high-functioning autistic an extraordinary passion that I have acquired. It is my hobby of writing fiction, specifically novels. I’ve already showed myself as a writer in sharing my poem A Foreign Autistic World in an earlier post (I’ve also written three more poems, which I’ll share in future posts), but my main writing goals are novels. I actually started seriously writing 6 years ago at the age of 16, although I contemplated writing a novel since I was 12. Could I actually write a book? As to why at the time I guess you could say there was a “because it’s there” appeal to it and that I would’ve just loved seeing my name in print crediting the work of a book to me. Today, while those are certainly contributing factors to why I still write fiction, they aren’t the most important motivations to why I do it. I will elaborate on this in my next post.
When I finally sat down to actually begin writing 6 years ago, I had picked out one potential plot idea to write upon and I had also decided to specialize my genre of fiction writing to mystery and thrillers. I picked this genre for two reasons. One is that a mystery is like a puzzle. You’re trying to see how much you can solve or at least guess at before all the parts are laid out for you before the book is finished. Another reason is the high-level of suspense and tension that’s involved throughout the story. A lot is in the balance in such a story and a lot of characters have a lot to lose including their own lives. It’s this drama that attracts me to wanting to write fiction with this high-level of suspense.
As to how often I write, it’s always been a challenge to actually find the time to write. In high school, it wasn’t so bad and I managed to turn out two novels in my final two years in high school, working 1-2 hours per day on average. It became more tougher in university. If you’ve read my last post, you know I was an academic perfectionist who put in 75-80 hours per week of study in his first year. The amount of time spent on writing dropped by about half so I was only spending 5-7 hours a week. The next couple of years I wrote on and off. And just when I thought I was almost finished my third novel, the harddrive crashed with no backup! I lost the revisions I had made to my third novel, leaving only a first draft of it. Then just before I entered my fourth year, my passion for writing increased. And in my fourth year I probably spent about 10 hours per week writing, revising my first two novels that I wanted to try to improve (I’ve completely redone the first one at this point and am working on the second one). And I managed to do this, while keeping my academic perfectionism at bay, writing an honours thesis in mathematics, being part of three clubs, working as a teacher’s assistant for the winter term and a tutor for both terms, applying to go to graduate school, volunteering at a cat shelter in the winter term, and working at improving my social life. It’s a lot to juggle and I don’t expect things to get any easier when I go to graduate school in the fall and I know some of you are probably wondering how on earth I found the time to do all these things.
But I love doing these things. Quite honestly, I’m about as far away as a “party animal” you’re going to get. And I love to focus on challenging activities I love to do. While my passion for fiction writing takes away some potential time that could be used to form closer bonds to acquaintances, my great focusing and time-management abilities, which my autism probably influenced, have allowed me to keep both writing and a social life.
In my next post, I’ll share what my writing is about and how being high-functioning autistic has influenced it.