As I mentioned in my last post, I am participating in the diyMFA book club, and this is my first official post for the book club. 🙂 If you want to join the book club, all the details are here. The first prompt Gabriela gave us was to write out your origin story – the story that led you to become a writer.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by books and stories. My parents are both teachers, so they understood the importance of exposing children to books at an early age. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that I decided to become a writer, but there are several personal experiences which led me here.
Some of my earliest memories include the stories my grandpa told me, my siblings, and my cousins. They starred a heroic coon dog named Cady. She defeated bears, took down mountain lions, and conquered evil humans, and I loved her. Soon I was making up stories of my own and telling them to my siblings. This was my first step into the world of storytelling.
Not much later, in about second grade, I discovered the book Little Women (the great illustrated classic version, which I still have). I carried that book everywhere with me and read it too many times to count. I even fended off a boy a grade above me who claimed I was too little to read such a big book.
Jo March was my favorite character, and I wanted to be just like her, including becoming a writer when I grew up. And Jo March was only the first of a long line of characters (including Anne Shirley, Rory Gilmore, and Jessica Fletcher) who continued to inspire me to become a writer.
As I got a little older, I still continued to tell stories, often incorporating them into play. My sisters and I just didn’t play house with our Barbies. Our Barbies were on the run from an evil stepmother, solving murders, or trying to survive on their own.
(Scroll over the pictures to see the captions. 🙂 These are my actual Barbies from when I was a kid.)
But it wasn’t until middle school, when I took a creative writing class, that I began writing my stories down. I also started keeping a journal then.
My senior year of high school, I was editor of the school newsletter. I went to a small private high school, so it was actually pretty cool that I had this opportunity. I began contemplating a career in journalism, but really liked writing fictional stories best. However, I knew it would be difficult to make a living solely on writing novels.
Once I got to college, they had already prepped a course schedule for me (based on the elementary ed major I had initially written on my application) and rather than go through the hassle of changing it, I decided to accept the schedule they had already set up. Lazy, I know, but I still had those doubts about not being able to make a living by writing.
I did add an English minor, and that proved beneficial as I learned so much in those classes, and there were several inspiring English professors who encouraged me to follow my writing dreams. I began writing my first novel while in college, but ended up shelving it because it was not good.
After graduating, I continued to write on and off. I had times when I was productive and other times where I didn’t write much. It was several years before I decided to take my writing seriously and start treating it like a job. I started this blog, created social media accounts, and began building my brand. Now I have four manuscripts with complete first drafts, but in various stages of the editing process. I am putting the final touches of one of those manuscripts and it will be published later this year!
What was you journey to becoming a writer like? Let me know in the comments. 🙂