When I was a child I wanted to grow up to be a mother, an actress, a teacher and a writer. Rather than choosing just one I decided to do all four.
The first story I ever wrote (made) was when I was three or four years old. I remember drawing four panels on an old “KidPix” program; a title, a beginning, middle and an end. The story was about getting the chicken pox.
From there things exploded. I have notebooks upon NOTEBOOKS of stories and ideas that I came up with as a child. I used to sit in the back of my class and write every day all day long, hardly ever paying attention to whatever was going on.
In 8th grade we had a contest of who could write the best “opening hook” in a single sentence. The teacher read the sentences anonymously so that we could vote on the best one. The class almost unanimously chose mine. I was so over-the-moon that I still remember that sentence to this day…
“As I lie in the desert awaiting a certain death, I reflect on the events that brought me here.”
Around the same time I had some very kind church leaders who allowed me to write, direct and act in a play called, “The Foot” (which was an absurdist title). I remember a few audience members acting very surprised to hear that I had written it all by myself. That made me feel really proud.
The next dozen years were filled with tons of writing projects (novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, play-plays, etc.), but it wasn’t until recently that I realized its importance in my life. The semester before I had my son Jack, I was sitting in a psychology class and this question was posed, “What did you choose to do in your free time as a child?” I didn’t have to think too hard about it. I lived, ate and BREATHED writing stories. The professor went on to say that what you chose to do as a child is you in your purest form. You had no obligations or influences, what you played as a child was truly your passion.
This hit me STRONG. I’ve always known about my love affair and a bit of talent for writing, but never realized how deep and central it has been in my life. Ever since then I’ve drilled myself – making it more of a priority and habitual. It’s been incredible. I’ve never looked back.