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How I Became a Writer

My career in writing got off to a rocky start. It began, or should I say, it did not begin in eighth grade.

We were given an assignment to write a story in English. I do not remember the exact details of the story I wrote, except that it was about a girl who went to another planet on a rocket. But I remember loving the writing of it.  I worked hard on it, turned it in, sure I would get an A.

I got a C.

“Cliched story, not very original, you can do better” That was the only critique I got for it. Oh. I guess I wasn’t a writer. It wasn’t an earth shattering experience for me, because I had never planned to be a writer.

If you had asked me in first grade what I wanted to be, it was a scientist. Being a doctor briefly crossed my mind, but those guys just poked things at people and then made you get shots. No. I wanted to discover new things every single day, like scientists did. This never really changed. Just ask my parents. The only thing that varied was what kind of scientist I was going to be.

So I wasn’t devestated. Disappointed. Hurt enough to remember the grade on that assignment to this day. (And no, it wasn’t the only C I ever got.) But nothing was shattered in my world.

Still, even though I enjoyed writing and thought it would be cool to be a writer, I didn’t write another story until I got to college. There, I took a creative writing course. I loved it. But I still didn’t really think about being a writer after the last class when a classmate approached me just as I was getting to my car.

“I loved your stuff. You should be a writer.”

“Really?” I was surprised.

She affirmed it to me, briefly describing exactly what she’d liked about my final story in particular and the writing she’d seen from me in general. I was stunned.

I drove home, thinking about it. A writer. I got home and told my months old husband about it. Really, truly, a writer. I was totally sparked, but could I hope to be one?

And then I got pregnant. Young motherhood ensued, with its years of toddler chasing, diaper changing madness. We did not, in those early days, have a computer, so I did not have an output for many years. But the idea had been branded in to me. Successful fiction writing, even that attempt in 8th grade, always gave me such a high. And people who read my writing enjoyed it, even when I felt like the words were crap. 

So thus began my journey. I think I worry too much about the words I put down on the screen. I fear it makes me comment less than I would, because I haven’t much more to say than: “I loved that, thank you for sharing” or “Dang, that’s awful that this thing happened to you” or what have you. I blame, in part, my eighth grade teacher for ‘clichephobia”. Oh well.

But I also feel confident enough that I think my stuff might appeal to an audience. To that I can thank my peer in that creative writing class.

There are other influences, some even more important than the disappointed teacher and excited colleage I talk about here. But those were my roots.

Those experiences allow me to say, “I’m a writer.”

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2 comments

  1. Good for you to have had a friend that made you write. I personally think writing is bit like giving birth, the process is pretty painful, but the end product is unbeatable 🙂
    Thanks for your comment in “Should a housewife Blog?” Have replied to it.

  2. Write on!!! (Hmm, I can just hear mom laughing at that one and being proud to call me her daughter, lol). I think you always should have an outlet for writing that you can just feel confident enough to just sit and type whatever comes into your head…I am sure it is quite obvious from my comments that I do this. But a reply to a blog is not graded, nor is a blog for that matter…well, so to speak. I guess I just don’t care who reads my blog but I am still very much in that early motherhood stage and not very serious about it yet. But again I say: write on, write on!

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