Writing myself as the main character in my life

A student created a bookcharacter that inspired her to become the person she is today.


I was 13 when my best friend and I decided to make a bet: we gave each other two months to come up with a successful story and publish it on Wattpad, an app where people can read and write stories. In the end, the person with fewer readers would have to give a bouquet of flowers to the other.

I started my book in 2015, and although I didn’t publish it in two months, the process gave me a strong sense of self and largely influenced who I am today.

I spent four years writing “In spite of everything,” devoting at least three hours every day to working on it, and I still go back to edit it. The story is about Maddison, a 17-year-old high school student learning to navigate complex relationships with friends and family while she tries to accomplish her dream of becoming a writer.

Working on writing a book every day for four years gave me a safe place where I felt comfortable enough to create a main character that reflected everything I wanted. 

After almost one year of writing, I developed a special connection with Maddison. She brought me comfort and I wanted to be like her. She’s sarcastic, caring, smart and really stubborn. Maddison says what she thinks and is willing to do anything to get what she wants.

I felt like we were growing up together because I started to match my personality to hers and her habits to mine. If I discovered a new interest, like my fascination with old libraries, I’d add it to the book and Maddison would be intrigued too. After a couple of years of writing, I started to admire Maddison and think like her. 

The main character of my book became the person I want to be — Madison is stronger and wiser than me. She always finds a way to push through her problems because I wrote her as an idealized version of myself who does what I don’t have the courage to do.

When I need to face my problems, I open the draft to find encouragement and ask myself what Maddison would do. I was motivated to follow my dreams by writing a story where Maddison achieves all her goals, and seeing her embody everything I wanted for myself inspired me to become who I wanted to be. 

I wanted to get into a good college and become a great writer, so I made that Maddison’s dream and wrote that she accomplished it. I wanted to be the kind of person that wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself and share her thoughts, so I wrote Maddison as brave until I was finally ready to be like her. 

Creating her allowed me to explore my personality and helped me visualize my goals. I have a clear idea of who I am and what I want because I created Maddison. 

When my friends and I shared where we saw each other in 10 years, they said I would be drinking coffee in a café editing my draft for the millionth time. I promised that I’ll edit the book for a final time and then I’ll publish it in the next three years, but I haven’t been able to because I don’t feel like it’s ready. 

I keep editing the story because when I read it, I can look back and compare who I am today to who I used to be. I change storylines, rewrite dialogs and add small details all the time because I want my growth to be reflected through Maddison’s character. 

I’ll keep editing the book because I’m not ready to let go of something that helps me to process what happens in my life. Eventually, I hope to publish ”In spite of everything,” maybe in the next few years.

I was able to develop a character that was everything I wanted to be, and doing that inspired me to become who I am today, thanks to that bet from my childhood. Even if I was the one that created Maddison, I can say with certainty that without her, I wouldn’t be me.

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