Yesterday, I attended a local writer’s social and had an awesome opportunity to meet other writers and talk about the craft of writing. I kept my introduction to the group brief by sticking to a description of what I write, what I’ve produced so far, and what I’m currently working on, but a lot of writers delved into the roots of their relationship with writing, which got me thinking about my own. And because I’m currently trying to take over everyone’s social media feeds with constant new content like an invasive species of weed, I figured I’d blog about it.
So how did I start writing and/or discover my love of writing?
I have been making shit up my entire life.
Not in the sense that I’ve lied or deceived, but in the sense that when I was born, my brain was 90% imagination and 10% indignant rage at being inconvenienced by reality. My favorite pastime as a kid was making up stories about my toys or television show characters or a random pattern I noticed in the wallpaper and pacing around the house loudly verbalizing the story to myself while I developed it in a fugue state.
Somehow, none of the adults in my life ever thought to get my neuro-spiciness levels checked.
I eventually learned to internalize my monologuing (and it hasn’t shut up ever since), and I also learned to read, which opened up a whole new world of creative expression to me.
I wrote/drew my first book on pieces of poster board for an assignment my kindergarten teacher called the “Big Book Project.”
I don’t know what it was about my choppy sentences, simplistic narrative, glitter glue, and crayon scrawlings (that were apparently allergic to the pencil outlines I drew), but Mrs. Smith told my mom after our big presentation that she expected to see my books in a book store someday.
Great. Thanks, lady. Just like that, I was 5 years old and already burdened with a calling.
For the most part, I still only wrote for school assignments as I was growing up and kept my stories in my head. Then, when I was in sixth grade, my teacher dragged my scowling emo self, along with my creative writing assignment, up to the principle’s office so he could tell me to “never give up on my talent” or some other such Responsible Adult Platitude. I guess it worked, because in seventh grade I wrote my first novel and terrorized my friends with it.
By the eight grade, I had discovered fanfiction. While kids these days have the luxury of options when it comes to fanfic hosting, some of them even pretty good, back in my day we had a website that we not-so-affectionately referred to as the Pit of Voles, which was exactly as terrifying and innocence-stealing as it sounds, and that’s how I descended into the Seventh Circle of Writing Hell–fanfiction writing.
No, I’m not telling you what fandom. All my angsty, horny teenage embarrassment is still festering somewhere in that Pit and no one deserves to stumble on that even accidentally.
All that having been said, I stumbled into fanfic writing at a time when severe depression had driven me out of school and I was having a hard time peeling myself out of bed in the morning. Writing and posting my stories gave me a reason to keep going, and all the positive feedback I got encouraged me to keep writing, even when I left fanfiction behind for original work again. Eventually, I even graduated with a BA in English/Creative Writing and even snagged a few school awards/publications along the way.
(Then I stopped writing again for a few years because nothing kills your creative flow like 20-page research essays about 16th century old dudes ~poetically~ describing fucking women as vegetables.)*
In the years since, I’ve found that writing is a great tool for self-reflection and catharsis, even when you’re writing out your issues through blood-thirsty monsters and gun-toting heroines. I’ve also come to realize that self-expression and creating ~art~ are my big motivators in life.
So that’s it. My history with story-telling is as long as my life. I am utterly possessed with imaginative fabrications and these stories are going to punch their way out of my skull one way or another, so it might as well be through writing since I’ve long had an affinity for it.
…All of that would have been a lot to say during a group introduction.
*Literature sure is weird.
**I stole parts of this post from myself, specifically an old 2017 post that was meant to be the introduction to a series on my self-publishing journey, now defunct because I probably shouldn’t be giving people publishing advice until I get at least one more book under my belt.