Why Are You Writing?
The blank paper stared up from the notebook. Each moment passed felt like an eternity gone by. Every tick of the clock seemed to echo throughout the room. The shadow Wocky chewed the end of his pencil, quickly putting teeth marks in it. He had tried everything; pacing, reading, eating, meditating, yet the paper remained blank, seemingly watching him, waiting for his move.
“Why is this so impossible!?” Nico shouted to no one in particular. He threw the pencil at the wall where it broke in half upon impact. Apparently the noise he made attracted the attention of his sister, Lilith.
“What’s impossible? Doing any studying while you’re in the house?” the white Usul asked as she entered his room, avoiding the pile of shattered pencils by the door.
“Hey look, I’m opening up my box of care. Oh wait, it’s empty.” he replied with a snarky tone as he took another pencil out of his drawer.
Lilith quickly took the paper off his desk before Nico could react. She appeared as though she would break out in laughter at any moment.
“Wow! A true literary masterpiece! It’s a surprise something this good hasn’t been made into an official book yet! Although I can only give you a 7.8 out of 10. Too much whitespace.” she burst out laughing, barely able to catch her breath.
“You’ve alway hated writing, why start now? Trying to do a love poem?” Lilith asked her seemingly bored brother.
“You’re right, I do hate writing. But I don’t like waiting, and I do like collecting avatars.” he said as he gestured to his avatar collection, each badge proudly displayed on a large cork-board. “Issue 700 of the Neopian Times is coming soon, and everyone who gets published in it gets a rare and difficult to obtain avatar. It’s only available about once a year.”
Nico’s eyes started beaming as he talked about the avatar. He was an avid hunter, spending countless hours at the chocolate factory and the arcade to get the hard ones. To him, they were a status symbol, something to say that he chose the impossible. Nico was a bit of a show off.
“So you’re just trying to write to get the avatar?” Lilith asked as she picked up some of the broken pencils.
“Yes, but I have no idea what to write.” Nico replied exhaustedly.
“Well, they say to write what you know.” snickered Lilith as she looked at the blank paper. “Looks like you’ve done a good job of that so far.”
“Get. Out. Now.” the wocky said, fury in his eyes and rage in his voice.
“Here, since I’m such a nice sister, I’ll give you some help.” she said as she wrote something on the blank paper before handing it back to him. “I’ve written for the NT for some projects at Brightvale University. This is the address for a group of writers I spoke with. Who knows, maybe they’ll help you.”
Nico took the paper from her. ‘If there is any way for these people to help me learn to write, then I suppose it’s a better option than just sitting here staring at my paper.’ he thought to himself. With the address in hand, he packed up his notebook and went on his way.
The location of the writer’s group was near the heart of Neopia Central. He passed by the Neopian Times building. There were a few Neopians walking in, each holding some kind of comic or story. ‘I’ll be one of them soon. That avatar will be mine.’ Nico thought to himself. He continued on to the location of the group, hoping one of them could help him.
“JCW. This must be the place.” Nico said as he walked into the small building. In the main hall, a few pictures of white Weewoos, as well as autographed pictures of both the former and current editors of the Neopian Times. Tthere were also numerous copies of the newest Neopian Times, as well as a small stack of papers labeled “NT Takeovers.” No one was around, so he quickly thumbed through them.
“Time travel, Brightvale University… interesting topics to make an entire issue about them.”
Nico heard a few voices nearby. He could only barely make out the conversation, but two words made his face light up; ‘submission’ and ‘700.’ He quickly made his way towards the direction of the voices and found a large room with multiple red leather couches and hard wood desks, likely for writing. There were a few other Neopians in there.
“Excuse me” Nico said to get someone’s attention. The writers in the room looked up and a Kougra walked over.
“Hi! Welcome to the JCW. My name’s Carolyn. You?” The cheery kougra introduced herself.
“Um, hi. Name’s Nico. This is a writer’s club, right?” Nico asked.
“Yup! We’re all writers or artists for the NT. Come on in and join us!”
Nico walked over to the luxurious couches and started listening in on the conversation. The two others there seemed to be intently discussing something.
“I’m pretty sure Fyora always knows when she’s being talked about.” The Cybunny sitting there said.
“How can you be sure? Neopia is too large a world for her to keep track of everyone.” The Kyrii replied skeptically.
“She may have a spell on her name, so she knows whenever someone mentions her. She’s bursted in on me randomly before when talking about her.” the Cybunny said, quickly looking around to see if she warped in.
‘I didn’t come here to listen to gossip.’ Nico thought to himself. He got up and started walking around the room, particularly near the writing desks. There was an Aisha sitting at one, staring at a screen. Thinking he was typing something up, Nico went over to him. Rather than text on the screen, there was some kind of game.
“What are you doing?” Nico asked, unable to make heads or tails of what was going on.
“Stealing red.” the Aisha replied, which explained nothing.
“What does that mean?” He asked hoping for more information, but the Aisha was transfixed. Nico backed away, knowing he wasn’t going to get any help from him.
“There anything we can help you with?” Nico jumped as Carolyn asked him out of nowhere.
“Um, yeah. I’m trying to write something for the Neopian Times, but I don’t really know what to write.” Nico said sheepishly.
“We’re always happy to help new writers! Quick question though, is it for Issue 700?” she asked, seemingly very enthusiastic to help.
Nico looked around and saw a lot of dedicated writers and artists. They had done countless articles, stories, and comics for the paper, and here he was just trying to get in for the avatar. He couldn’t reply to her without feeling like he was taking the time from someone who deserved it more.
Carolyn saw his sunken face and spoke up to break the silence.
“Yeah, a lot of people have been coming by for help with pieces for it. It’s fine, great actually though!” She spoke with her usual pep.
“So, you don’t think it’s disrespectful for someone like me to come here and just ask for help for something so selfish?”
“Not at all! Even if you are writing to get the avatar, at least you’re writing. And by coming here, you’re writing will only be improved! We’re always looking for new voices in the NT.”
“That’s the thing though, I’m not good at writing. I want to get something done for the issue, but I don’t know what to write.” Nico spoke up. He really felt like a jerk, asking for help for something like this.
“Well, the best advice I can give to someone suffering from a lack of ideas would be this: Write what you know, and write sincerely. Let it come from the bottom of your heart. If you start writing about what you’re familiar with, the words will usually fall into place on the paper.”
“OK, I think I understand.” Nico nodded. “May I use one of the desks to start writing?”
“Of course!” Carolyn said. “If you need any other help or want someone to edit or review your piece before submitting it, just let us know. We’ll be happy to help.”
“Thank you. You’ve all been very kind and I appreciate the help.”
“Good luck with your piece!” Carolyn said as she walked back over to the couches.
‘Write what I know… what I know…’ Nico thought to himself as he sat at the desk. ‘What do I know?’
‘I know a few games, a few stamps, but those don’t feel like good story material… Wait, there is something I do know.’ He began tapping his pencil on the paper, thinking about how he wanted to start his story.
‘I know what I struggled with.’
“The blank paper stared up from the notebook. Each moment passed felt like an eternity gone by. Every tick of the clock seemed to echo throughout the room.” He finally wrote, continuing to write his story.
This story is a shoutout to the JCW. I don’t think I would’ve written anything for the NT without you guys and our discussions. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, and hope to continue writing with you and everyone else in the NT.