When I was very young, I made up stories that I acted out with my dolls and stuffed animals. Sometimes I shared those stories with my parents; more often, I just kept them to myself. I lived in a very elaborate imaginary world, populated by imaginary people who sometimes seemed more real than the people I knew. I learned to read early, and I was determined that someday, my stories would be in books like the ones I read.

When I got a bit older, I learned how to make those little squiggles called “letters,” and that unlocked a whole new dimension for my stories. I could put them on paper and keep them to read later! Not only that, but I could share them with more people! The first story I remember writing, when I was five, was about a girl named Maria who went to live with her uncle. I wish I still had that story, but alas, it was lost to a flooded basement when I was eight or nine.

In kindergarten, I had a wonderful teacher who allowed me to read books from the classroom library and draw pictures about the stories as part of my reading curriculum. One day, I wrote my own story based on a picture I’d drawn, and she began encouraging me to write more stories. It was the first time an adult had told me my stories were good and had acted like they were something to be proud of.

So basically, I’ve been creating stories my entire life, and I’ve been writing them down since I learned how. Obviously I haven’t been published that entire time. My first published work, a phonics-based reading comprehension program, came out in 2002 (and 16 years later is still available!), and my first novella came out in 2009 (and is no longer available). But as a child and teen, I wrote dozens of stories, some novel-length, many of which I still have. They aren’t as good as I thought they were back then, but I’m still proud of them. Especially since I wrote them all longhand…computers weren’t available to me back then!

9 thoughts on “How I Started Writing

  1. Paul Taubman says:

    I remember in 5th grade, I would fight a lot with my brother. It must have been affecting my school work because my teacher found out about this and let me know that if I wanted to write some of my stories that she would count them as extra credit.

    Fast forward to my English Comp 101 class in college. No matter what I would write, I don’t remember ever getting better than a B. I was sure I could not write. English Comp 102 was different – I had an instructor tell me that I was a good writer – just one that was more conversational!

    At that point, I didn’t care what people said…

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tracy says:

    I was always writing short stories as a child and loved drawing pictures. I always wanted to be a writer but did not have the confidence to write a book. Last year my dream came true, as I took part in an anthology – no turning back now!

  3. “I lived in a very elaborate imaginary world, populated by imaginary people who sometimes seemed more real than the people I knew. ” -all true of me, as well. And not only that, I wish I could live in some of the stories I’ve made up in my head, I wrote a Santa Advent romance novella this past season, and I wish I could live in the lead character’s house, neighborhood, and village.

    It’s neat to hear your story, and see the thread of writing throughout your life. And I love that you were encouraged to write your stories down & to keep writing.

  4. Doug says:

    Writing is not my thing. Hows that for bad self-talk? I argue with Grammarly about whether a subject is singular or plural. I just had to verify whether I had the correct weather for my wether. Now Grammarly thinks my wether should be “the weather”. She does not like wether. Must be prejudiced.
    These blog challenges help me get my thoughts out to the world and help me share my travel pictures. It usually involves some picture editing for the web, some research to verify that what I am saying is correct, or at least agrees with popular opinion.
    The hardest part of my engineering career was at the end of a project, after the product had been built and tested and approved by the customer, when the documentation had to be created. you know the user manuals, that no one reads, the maintenance manuals that no one can find when they are needed, and the operator manuals that are always out of date.
    However, sometimes I write enough in these comments to qualify for an extra blog post.
    Blog on!

  5. Brenda Marie says:

    Like you I started writing at a young age. I wish I had many of those first stories that I had written.

  6. Anne Z says:

    Longhand! Wow! Just keep writing…..(in the voice of Dory from Nemo!)

  7. Anne Z says:

    Longhand, WOW! Those were the days! Just keep writing…..(said in the voice of Dory from Nemo)

  8. Vidya Tiru says:

    Love that you found a teacher who encouraged you so early in life! In my case, I told stories to my brother (who was all of 3 years younger than me and loved all the stories I made up at the great old age of 5!)

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