I suppose you could say that my writing story started when I was very young. That is, after all, when I started writing. But, I never planned on being a writer. My dreams always focused on music and on all the things I could do that involved singing. While in high school, the one thing I dreamed about was being able to perform on Broadway or living out my rock star fantasies. One way or another I was going to be on stage, singing for millions of people. Many other people also thought I’d pursue a college degree and career in music. Today, most of them are surprised when they find out I traded out the lime light for a desk lamp.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always liked to write. English and writing were always my best subjects and thanks to some wonderful teachers along the way, I’ve loved writing my whole life, but I never really thought it would become one of my biggest dreams. For my first two years of college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wasn’t taking any theater or music classes because the careers following those college degrees didn’t suit the lifestyle I wanted to live. Roaming around from job to job hoping someone would pay me to sing a song didn’t sound like a great way to live. Sometimes I still wonder if I’ve switched one starving artist career for another, but I try not to dwell on that. It wasn’t until I took Dr. Butler’s young adult literature class that I knew I had to work with books.
Along with writing, I’ve always loved to read. It wasn’t until I realized it was acceptable for me, a college student, to browse the young adult section, that I devoured books. I didn’t just read them page-by-page anymore, I read and continue to read them whole books at a time. This was about the same time I realized I had taken a writing or literature class every semester to save my sanity and for fun. I knew that if I don’t somehow work with books, it wouldn’t be a life I want to live.
Now you might be saying to yourself, “this background is all very interesting, but what has she done with it?” Well, allow me to tell you. First, I realized there was a lot to writing. Granted, I knew this from all the writing classes I had taken before college. Obviously, I had some improvements to make. I faced challenges that I didn’t realize I would face: self-doubt, feelings of intense inadequacy, rejection, etc. I may have known I would have to deal with them, but I didn’t realize the power they would have over me. To my great comfort, I realized almost every author I know has suffered through these feelings as well. Perhaps they are merely a rite of passage and those who pass through alive and scars to show for it are the ones that make it all the way.
Thanks to many inspirational professors, I know my writing has improved in ways that never would have been possible otherwise. I must also thank the students who have striven right along side me in their own writings. We did all we could to help each other succeed and create something worth reading. I actually think I have created some pieces that are worth reading. I think it would be wrong of me to say that I never had anything that wasn’t. Every writer has something no one should ever read. In my opinion, it’s those horrible pieces that also helped me to grow as a writer. Not only do I have them to remind myself that writing something better isn’t all that hard, but they also make the good ones feel that much better.
I underestimated the passion I would have for the written word, whether it was my own, or someone else’s. I’ve learned to feel the joy and hope my characters feel, and understand their concerns and troubles. Passion escapes from me everywhere I go and the world around me fills the empty spaces. I know there is still much I can learn and further experiences will teach me even if I don’t want them to. Writing is no longer something I do because I can. I write because I must.