So could that be when I first decided I wanted to be a writer?
My first rejection letter came when I was in fifth grade. I wrote a poem that so impressed my mother that she sent it to a magazine. I don’t remember the sting of the rejection at all. I do remember my mother’s excitement when she read my poem--and the realization that she thought it worthy enough to share with the world.
Maybe that’s when I decided to be a writer.
There was only one teacher who provided classroom opportunity for creative writing—up until then ‘writing’ meant handwriting, spelling, English sentences, or reports. In seventh grade our teacher assigned a short story. Mine started out innocently enough…but then it led to, a-hem, a kissing scene. The night before it was due I decided I couldn’t possibly give this to my teacher (please note I went to a Catholic school). So I quickly wrote another story that included talking animals. I don’t remember the talking animal story…but I do remember a bunch of kids clustering around me on the playground to listen as I read the original story (oh, let’s be honest, they were just listening for the ‘sex’ part).
So maybe THAT’s the moment I decided I wanted to write.
Or maybe it was when I worked in a book store and caught myself wondering about all the people whose names were on the covers of those books I shelved. When that same curiosity compelled me to buy Gabrielle Lusser Rico’s book, WRITING THE NATURAL WAY.
Then again, it could’ve been when I realized my favorite part of being a teacher was sharing fun books with my students—and I started daydreaming about having my name on the cover a book.
Really though, I haven’t a clue when I first realized I wanted to be a writer. In fact, it wasn’t until long after I’d published a best-selling series that I was brave enough to say the word ‘writer’ out loud. Even now, I say it with a little tinge of embarrassment because, quite honestly, I’m not sure if I’m a real writer or if I’m just sort of faking it.
I guess for me the question is, why am I writer today? What about the plot, story, and character makes me sit down at my desk and work my way through struggles of self-doubt and fear? What makes me carry my journal from room to room? To fill it with notes and doodles and ideas? What feeds my writing passion today?
Is it the love of story? Is it a desire to make sense of the world? Is it an urge to share discoveries and insights? Is it the belief that my words might help others help themselves by making sense of things through story-telling?
How about the rest of you? What makes you a writer…today?