I’ve been asked many times how I got started writing. Many writers will tell you they’ve always wanted to be an author or they’ve been writing their whole lives. This wasn’t the case for me. I’ll tell you about the beginning of my life as a writer.
I have been a reader my whole life, but when I hit my thirties it became a bit of an obsession for me. I lost all interest in television when the stories jumping off of the pages I read became far more entertaining than any sitcom. I even listen to books on CD from the library while I work all day. This can actually be a hazard, because I never know what the weather will be until I look outside, and I have to rely on my kids and coworkers for news. (The news is too depressing most days.)
As a side note I should mention that I love my local library. I believe the library is a gift to our citizens and it is a resource I cherish in my life. I was an under privileged kid. If it hadn’t been for the library I wouldn’t have had access to books outside of school. I have spent many long hours roaming the stacks and taking in the wealth of information and entertainment available to us all. Mark Twain said the man who “does not” read good books has no advantage over the man that “cannot” read good books. Mark was a pretty smart guy.
Anyway, back to my story. Up until my mid-thirties I was a strictly an avid reader with a huge imagination. I told my family many times that I should be a writer. I had idea upon idea that was just begging to be put on paper. I wanted to be a writer, and one day –oh, they elusive “one day”- I was going to sit myself down and make it happen.
The day my oldest daughter turned seventeen I was giving her the speech I’m sure most parent give their budding young adult children about being able to accomplish anything she wanted, if she was willing to work for it. I told her to dream big and make it happen. I will never forget looking across the table into the intelligent eyes of my child when she challenged me to be an example for her to follow.
“If I can be anything I want to be, accomplish anything I can dream of, then why haven’t you written the book you have always dreamed of writing?” she asked me. Wow. Out of the mouths of babes.
As you can imagine, it was put up or shut up time in my house. I thought about it for a few days before I started writing with actual pencil and paper, because I didn’t have a laptop at the time and the family computer was nearly always in use.
My writing career started with me trying to teach my kids by example. I hand wrote page after of notes and transferred everything when the kids went to bed at night. It took me four mouths to write the first draft. The rest is not too distant history. It just goes to show you that it’s never too late to start a new beginning.