Today I'm participating in the Origins Blogfest created by DL Hammons and co-sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Matt at the QQQE, Katie at Creepy Query Girl.
The topic: Tell us where your writing dreams began.
I’m not sure dreams had anything to do with it. That is to say, I didn’t dream of becoming an author as a child or even a teen. However, I’ve always had an active imagination and have always loved to write.
As a kid I could easily lose myself in my imagination, whether it was with a friend or by myself. Playing “house” (which took on various forms: family, famous rock star, animal hospital), creating scenarios with stuffed animals or dolls, creating comic strips and stories revolving around my favorite toys were my favorite forms of childhood play. I remember tap-tap-tapping on my mom’s manual typewriter, erasable typing paper, and the correcting pencil – rubber eraser on one end, brush on the other - to fix pesky typos. The adventures of Ellie and Marie were the first writings I received praise for at the ripe old age of 8 or 9.
After that my 4th grade teacher, whom I adored, asked if she could submit my poem to Jack and Jill, a children’s publication. Of course I said, “Okay,” but soon got my first taste of rejection – a “thank you for submitting but we can’t accept your poem at this time” type of letter. I was heartbroken for about 5 minutes. What stuck was that someone looked past the quiet, shy girl and believed that something I wrote was good enough to send in to a magazine. I still have the pleasure of seeing that teacher occasionally when I visit the library. In 5th grade my essay on some forgotten topic (how awful that I can’t remember) won a citywide writing contest. I was embarrassed as all heck and couldn’t quite believe I won, but it made an impression. This was something I was good at.
Still, I never considered writing as a career. Writing a novel seemed beyond anything that I could ever accomplish. As a teen I wrote in diaries and journals, but I kept those to myself and honestly, they were reflective, not creative, except for the occasional poem. During my college years, it was common for my friends and I to exchange letters. These were the days before cell phones (our floor shared 1 pay phone in the hallway) and email, so we kept in touch by writing to each other. We’d share news, stories about college life, with a mix of heart and wit – great training ground for developing our own unique writing voice.
As an elementary teacher my love of children's literature grew in leaps and bounds. I loved reading and sharing Francis Hodgson Burnett, Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, among others with my classes. My biggest hope was that the kids would learn to love reading as much as I did.
Writing and reading of any kind took a back seat to raising a young family. It wasn’t until I discovered Harry Potter, read J.K. Rowling’s inspirational story, and joined a site devoted to discussing all things HP that I began to consider writing for children myself. With the encouragement of a close knit group of dear online friends I began testing my writing skills and researching the publishing world on the net.
Interest quickly turned to passion, an absolute love of expressing myself through the written word. I don’t know if I’ll ever be published, but the journey has been fantastic so far.