Song of the Day: Mr. Writer by Stereophonics
Hello all! Who is excited about the weekend? *Raises hand* I'm hoping for another productive one. I have to work on issue #2 for Black Fox, do some more research for my NanoWriMo novel and I really want to get some reading in. I'm crossing my fingers that I get all of that done. Do you have any plans?
I know I'm really late, but last week everyone was participating in the "Why I write" campaign. I was really busy and didn't get a chance to say why I write, so I thought I'd do a post on that. It's just that important to me.
Why I write...
I have been writing since I could hold a pen and form words on a page. When I was in the first grade, I often stayed at my uncle's house when my parents were working. I would sit at his dining room table and write stories on construction paper, complete with illustrations. When I finished the story, I would tie the pieces of construction paper together with yarn. At this point in my life I didn't really know that I wanted to be a writer.
When I got to the fifth grade, I was still writing stories. Writing had become second nature for me. English became my favorite subject and I enjoyed our weekly vocabulary words. My teacher told my mother that I "had a way with words." After hearing that, I told myself that I should be a writer. When the scholastic book fair came to our school, I got my mother to buy me the book, How I Came to be a Writer by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I still have the copy as you can see in my picture above. I read it, and I knew right away that I wanted to be a writer.
Throughout the remainder of my academic career I continued to do well in English and my teachers continued to praise my work, until I got to the eleventh grade. I began taking AP classes and my teacher was one of the toughest teachers at my school. She would return my papers with red ink bleeding over every single page. She pretty much broke me. By the end of that class, I believed that I couldn't make it as a writer after all.
Then I got to college. I wore glasses and my mother had a friend who was studying pre-optometry and she suggested that I do the same. She said it was a really straightforward major. I thought that studying the human eye was something that might be interesting and I would be able to help people. When I had my first meeting with an advisor, I declared pre-optometry as my major. The problem was that it wasn't so straightforward. I had to take all theses prerequisite classes including chemistry, pre-calculus and algebra. I was struggling in those classes but excelling in my English classes.
Then in English class one day my professor began to hand back the essays that were assigned. She didn't give me mine back and asked that I stay after class. I was terrified. I thought she was going to tell me that I needed to start off in a lower level of college English. What she said instead, was that she thought my paper was the best in the class. She told me that she was really impressed and that she had never seen such a well written college paper from a freshman. She then asked me what my major was and I told her pre-optometry. She asked "why?" with a look of disgust on her face. I explained to her why I chose the major, but as I was talking, suddenly none of my explanation made sense. It all sounded absurd. She told me that she didn't want to confuse me, but she thought that I should consider changing my major. She said that I have a gift and I belonged in the writing field. I changed my major the next semester.
What was interesting was that in order to write that essay, I used a formula from that same tough teacher in the eleventh grade. This whole time Ms. Nichols was only being hard on me because she wanted me to be the best. After that "aha!" moment as Oprah would call it, I never looked back. I was tired of fighting with myself. I was a writer and that was it. I still am. And it's still the ONLY thing that I really want to do. It is the one thing that makes me happy. It's the one thing that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. And it's the one thing that if I couldn't do, I may as well fall off the face of the earth. It takes work, but a lot of the time it's not really work for me. I love it and if I never make a dime off of it, I'd still do it.
This is a long post, but if you took the time to read it, please know that I appreciate you. Why do you write?