The first real English-language "novel" I read was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Then followed by The Last Day of Pompeii. When I was in high school, I hated reading English-language novels because my command of English wasn't good enough (or at least I thought) to understand everything and I hated having to consult the dictionary all the time. I still remember I had a copy of Doctor Zhivago on my shelf and I had tried reading it many times and I never got past the first chapter. Eventually, I gave up reading fiction altogether.
Throughout college, I learned to read and write more fluently through reading nonfiction, magazines and newspapers. I never thought I could become a writer (in English). An almost-accidental encounter with a novel made me realize how much I'd loved stories: fictional or nonfictional. I also realized how much better my English comprehension had become. By leaps and bounds through the years. Now, I'm able to read Doctor Zhivago with no problems at all.
More amazingly, I'm writing fiction, in English. And I'm published. Who would have thought? It's been a long journey, from the first English word I learned in kindergarten to becoming a published author.
If I could do it, anyone can. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. But it does require hard work, patience and diligence. Success never happens overnight.
300 words, 33500 words total
258 days and 152000 words to go