How Did You Know You Wanted to be a Writer?

Sorry to pass over the almighty “destiny” speech but the truth is, I didn’t really know that I wanted to be a writer until I was 26.

However, reading and writing has always been an important part of my life. I was reading books by myself by age 3. I will never forget the story my mom has always told me about how, as a wee little one, I would have my grandmother read books to me and I would let her know whenever she missed ONE word from paraphrasing. Needless to say, she soon refused to read to me and, instead, insisted I do the narrating. Soon after, I started my own stories.

Now, I will be the first to say that I stole shamelessly from the pop culture around me and they were terrible interpretations. My first stories revolved around lion cubs (The Lion King) and then there were poor dancing sisters who caught the eyes of a handsome prince (a reversed Aladdin) and as I grew into my adolescent body, they shifted more towards high school dramas, usually involving the new quiet girl attracting the most popular guy in the school, complete with jealous head cheerleader and her posse.

Original, they were not. Good, they were not. But I knew that I liked it. And at the time I was writing them, they seemed good to me. However, college came around and, like many people, I was told you couldn’t do much with an English degree except teach (which I didn’t want to do) and definitely NOTHING with a creative writing degree. So I pursued a Visual Communications Technology degree (where you learn the basics of photography, video, graphic design, and web building to hopefully become a lead marketing person for a small business) and I got a Marketing Minor. Sounds very sophisticated and responsible of me, right?

I took one creative writing/reading class while in college and, stupid me, didn’t really grasp that is was the one class I didn’t have to really try in – I wanted to read the books, I wanted to write stories, I wanted to analyze poetry and short stories and beyond. Needless to say, those thoughts were probably drowned out on Saturday nights by beer and loud music and just getting to know who I really was with those first few years of freedom. I guess I still didn’t get to know me as well as I hoped.

I graduated with honors and at the top of my class and immediately took a job in my hometown. Now, as one of the lead project managers, I did have to do a lot of writing. Just not the writing I loved. This was “work writing” – proposals, blog posts for other clients (sometimes fun), and How To documents. Blah. But I finally had a life with a set schedule and I basked in it. 9-5 PM work and then after that – NOTHING! No study groups or homework or exam to study for – just time to do what I wanted. Did I start writing?? Not really.

I met back up with my high school sweetheart, bought a house and got married, and then adopted 3 cats…because, even with a husband, I am still a cat lady at heart. That kept my life busy for awhile and I was very happy. But then I was not. Something was pulling on my heart strings. I felt too normal. I felt too settled. I have always been one to exceed in the classroom because I believed in pushing myself towards the goal to being the best, to not just doing the minimum, to achieving a bigger purpose. And I didn’t feel like what I did for a job was really achieving in the way that I wanted to touch the world and leave my mark. It was a good job and I loved the people I worked with and – could I work there for my whole career and be okay? Most likely, yes. We could have made it work that route, it wasn’t a hell job that I complained about to anyone who would listen. But it wasn’t completing me. I felt no real passion for what I did.

And so, I pulled out my old uncompleted manuscripts (the ones from high school and beyond – you know, the semi-savable ones) and something surprised me. After all these years, I still thought parts of them were really good. If I thought I was a semi-decent writer in high school, what could I be now with my new experiences, my new writing skills, my new view on the world??

So I began to write again, creating a folder for ideas and fleshing out the ones that really caught my attention. It took me awhile to really figure out my direction though. A lot of people like one specific type of fiction whereas, I can read anything as long as it’s good writing – mystery, thrillers, young adult, historical, romance, paranormal, fantasy – you name it. However, over the past year or two I have been gravitating towards young adult and usually those that are paranormal or fantasy types. I have always been intrigued by stories that were “out of this world” – stories that didn’t take all the regular rules of life to heart. What it comes down to is I just love the “magic” of something extraordinary. And young adults are usually the most receptive to those kinds of tales so …that is how I picked my genre. I also have a few good ideas that would probably be more of an general adult fiction or maybe chick lit but for now I’m sticking to young adult as I try to break into the publishing world.

Now that I have labeled WRITER and what I want for myself, I know that it is what I have always wanted. To tell my stories, to share them with others, and to learn about myself through the process. I feel like it has always been there, it was just waiting for the right moment in my life for me to recognize it and feed the delicate dream that is to be a published writer.

When did you have the breakthrough realization that writing was your fate?

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