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.Â But I remember loving the writing of it.Â Â 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”Â 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 inÂ 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.Â 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.Â Young motherhoodÂ 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.Â
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.”