Archive for November 13th, 2008

Have you always known you’d be a writer?

No.  I never had any idea I would be a writer.  I thought writers were a special breed.  I didn’t know ordinary people like myself could be a writer.  

Like many young girls, I had a locking diary — that small book with two pages per week; I think it was.  The narrow-lined paper had at most three to five lines per daily entry.  I’d write entries as soon as I received the diary — usually at Christmas — writing as small as I could to get as many words as possible in the minute space.  But by the end of January, or before, the diary would be long forgotten and misplaced.

Then when I was in sixth grade, everyday after lunch, while we worked on writing our spelling words ten times each and copying the definitions from the dictionary, my teacher would read us a chapter from a Nancy Drew mystery.  That’s when I fell in love with books.  I simply couldn’t get enough of Nancy Drew and her adventures.  I found myself so engrossed in the stories that I’d forget to do my spelling assignment.  Thank you, Mr. Engler, for introducing me to the wonderful world of books!

That summer my Mom took us to the library nearly every week.  I remember checking out nearly a dozen books each time.  I spent that summer reading and reading and reading.  By the time seventh grade started, I had an inkling to write a novel, as did my friend Karyn Cross.  I remember writing the whole first chapter, by hand, of course, and in my best handwriting.  Sometime that same year that, too, fell to the wayside.

In ninth-grade English, the teacher assigned the class to write a report about an “important” invention.  I don’t know why, but for some reason I decided to write from the viewpoint of a safety pin.  After I read my report aloud, the boy sitting across the aisle from me smirked and commented that the topic was supposed to be an “important” invention.  I remember the teacher championing me, telling the boy that for a girl, the safety pin was an “important” invention.  That teacher was the first to comment on my writing.  I believe her name was Mrs. Chastain.

I never thought about writing again for at least five years, or reading.  Then one day I decided to go to the library and check out an armload of books and began reading voraciously.  But it was another fifteen years before I ever thought about writing again.

The inner urgings grew stronger and stronger until one day I decided to put words to paper.  But by then, I’d committed to my college education.  So I assuaged the writing bug by reading about writing until I finished my Master’s degree. 

During those last few months, I heard of a local writing group.   It took a while for me to summon enough courage to attend that very first meeting, but I did.  The month following college graduation, I began writing, and within a year attended my very first writers’ conference where I met more real writers.  I joined distant groups and networked with them in monthly meetings.  Then I gathered my courage again, stepped out of my comfort zone, and entered the Internet community.

Wow!  The writing life was not so lonely anymore.  There were lots of others just like me on the writing path.  We shared common hopes, common dreams, and common disappointments, but we were also there to support each other along the way.

So that’s how I came to the writing life and began walking the writing path.  It wasn’t because I’d always known I’d be a writer.  I was led here by a Higher Creative Power filling me with irresistible inner urgings to take action.  So if I can be a writer, you can be a writer, too.  Follow your heart.