Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When did you know you were a writer?

Today I'm musing about when I knew I was meant to be a writer. My first inkling was in 5th or 6th grade- I recall a teacher having us write a small play for the class. I don't recall much, but it had cats and I had to use that old blue copy paper.

I was so excited, creating something out of nothing!

But then...nothing.

Until I was about 13. I'd just fallen in love with Star Wars and wanted to tell my own story! It wasn't even about space, the movie, or anything SFish. All I recall is that I took a number of the names...and that the main character had a best friend who had a brother who looked ALARMING like Mark Hamill. Story never got finished, but again I remember being excited about creating the images on paper (I think boys kept distracting me during this time).

Then late teens- started a new REAL story. My first book! I loved it and I loved writing it...but only got 175 pages in. I think my obsession with boys brought me down again. The story was finished (I had an ending) but it never got completed.

Forward a few years later- started ANOTHER real book. Finished this one, and wrote the next in the series (yeah yeah- first time author starts with a trilogy, but at the time I thought that was a good idea ;)).

Graduate school got in the way this time. Set aside the completed books (and the third which was 50 % done.

Then a few years ago I got back into writing. This time something was different, the thrill of creating new worlds, and meeting new people grew! Nothing and NO ONE in my life has dimmed that draw this time. Now I KNOW I am a writer.

Some folks start writing young and keep it up their entire lives. So of us take a longer route to get there- needing the write combination of life experiences and dreams to finally push us over the edge.

What about you- when did you know? What has you path been?


  1. I didn't know until late in life. I'd never grown up wanting to be a writer. I was quite surprised when a story popped into my head and I started writing it, to tell you the truth. Then, I had a novel on my hands and never knew what I would do next. I'd never even heard of critique groups, blogs, etc.

    Eventually I found my way into a crit group and started learning the ropes. So, I'd say I knew I wanted to be a writer a couple of years ago, and it's been a fun journey ever since! :)

    Write on, my friend.

  2. Hi Marie -

    I wrote my first story about a giant at the beginning of first greade. In high school I wrote angsty poetry, and dabbled until I got married.

    After a few years away from writing, I started writing in a role playing writer's group where our characters interacted in joint plots. I was hooked and started writing every night for a few years before a palm reader planted the seed that I would be a famous writer someday... LOL

    I'd never even considered writing an entire novel! :)

    Since then I've completed 4 novels and have 3 others underway...

    Great blog Marie!!!

    Lisa :)

  3. I knew as soon as I could read stories. At age 13 I wrote three chapters of a novel. Then came school and my first marriage. Made the mistake of letting husband read a story I wrote. He said, "Why don't you write like Charles Dickens?" My present husband (many years now) was supportive from the first, but I didn't write seriously until 1975 when I sold a story to TRUE CONFESSIONS. I never stopped, even though I didn't sell a novel until 1984. I've sold ten, plus a mainstream novel, some short stories and a lot of non-fiction. The thrill never goes away.

  4. Love this question. I knew I wanted to be a writer in grade school. I loved anything to do with telling stories - reading, writing, plays, anything. I started writing seriously in junior high. Back then I was lucky enough to be in a writing class with SF author Greg Bear, who gave me some real encouragement. I remember selectively answering my vocational test in junior high to make the answer come out as "technical writer", the closest possible career to fiction writer the test allowed. But I had no real interest in being a technical writer.

    I put writing on the back burner after college and only got back into it recently, pursuing other careers instead. The careers everyone told me I was "supposed" to do instead of the one I loved. Turns out I didn't enjoy IT management or marketing nearly as much as writing.

    I am so glad I am writing now, and have finished one novel and am almost done with my second. I've published a handful of essays and short stories as well. I can't imagine doing anything else.

  5. I knew I was a writer at age four, when the only kind of writing job I knew about that required words, with no need to draw pictures, was to be a "newspaper girl".

    I asked for a "newspaper girl" desk for Christmas that year. The Christmas I turned eight, I asked for my own dictionary. It was inevitable. Being a practical sort, I studied to be an English teacher in college, but I always knew, deep down that I needed to write to be happy. That's never wavered for me.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking question, Marie!


  6. Great question and I love your answer :) Mine was in third grade when an after school writing/picture-book making program started and I was so excited about it. I loved it so much. And haven't stopped loving it since!

  7. Thanks for coming by Lynn, Lisa, Phyllis, Janet, Melissa and Miho Li! It's funny, with just the seven of us you can see the range of "knew it from day one as a child" to just figuring it out :).

    I love reading how other folks knew the had the writer bug!

  8. I can't really pinpoint a moment. I was a voracious reader growing up, but fiction writers seemed like magical people. They had to be to produce all those wonderful stories or so I thought. I considered going into journalism for a while, but somehow my life went in a different direction. But I always kept a hand in writing somewhere. I began to seriously pursue fiction writing when I was pregnant with my first son and I haven't looked back. ( :

    Great post!

  9. Good blog, Marie.

    I was encouraged in seventh grade and have daydreamed about being a writer ever since. I was one of those kids who was always looking out the window daydreaming, it's a wonder I ever got through school, but I did.
    Then after teaching elementary school, raising my family and then counseling in high school, I have time to pursue my dream. I love it.

  10. Thanks for the great comments Gabriella and Mary G :).

    And ya know what? I think fiction writers are magical people too :).