Family legend has it that my first efforts at writing came as soon as I learned to read and write. Those early pieces were love poems -- for my mother. (She has them somewhere...)
By the time I was 8 years old and in the 3rd grade, I recorded in my Dr. Seuss's My Book About Me on the "When I Grow Up I Want to Be" page "writer." I also circled "veterinarian," "farmer," "mother," and "musician."
My early works were all about my Number One Obsession in childhood: horses. I was very good at starting stories, and I loved creating bound, illustrated versions.
The bad news is that the book pictured here only has about 4 completed pages! I got burned out or my enthusiasm waned or I got distracted by a brand new idea... and never finished the story! (My tendency to abandon a story without finishing is a huge obstacle I've had to overcome!)
Hey, it's short!
All this to say: I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't identify myself as a writer. I wrote, so I was a writer! It's as essential to my sense of self as where I was born (Georgia) and the fact of being born the (smack dab in the) middle child in a chaotic family of seven.
The part I didn't know for a very long time was that I needed readers -- but my journey from furtive, private writer to a public, published one is a whole other obstacle-filled story. :)