Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When Did You Know You Wanted to Be a Writer?


When did you know you wanted to become a writer? Was it a childhood dream? Something you arrived at kicking and screaming? Was there a particular trigger when you thought to yourself, "You know, what I really want to be doing is staring at a computer screen on my nights and weekends, inventing worlds and stuff"?

I came to the writing game pretty late. I had taken some short story classes in college, wrote a screenplay in my early 20's, but never really thought I'd write a novel. I was 25 before I started writing in earnest, on a novel that didn't work out, and I was 27 when I started JACOB WONDERBAR.

What about you? When did you know you wanted to write?

Art: "Woman Writing a Letter" by Frans van Mieris






227 comments:

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Chelsey said...

I've been writing my whole life--almost literally--but it was when I was applying to grad school that I really put together the pieces of what I'd been doing my whole life was what I really wanted to do.

Wanda du Plooy said...

I knew I wanted to be a writer since school, but I only believed two years ago that I could do it!

Zoe Faulder said...

Whole life kinda gal here too. I've been writing stories ever since I could string words together and it was always something I wanted to do ... yet here I am working in publishing. Not far off I guess.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I was about 11 or 12. My parents took us on a short holiday out to the country where we visited this historical centre with information and animatronic shows about celtic myth. The place closed down years ago, but that trip stuck with me.

That was the weekend I fell in love with storytelling.

L.G.Smith said...

I started writing poems and short stories in high school, and got hooked when I saw people connect to what I had written. But it was years later before it occurred to me that writing was something I could do seriously.

The English Teacher said...

When I was 8, one of my poems was published in our school literary magazine. Ah, the Fame! The Glory! Wow. I felt so cool.
Then, in 6th grade, we had a visiting university student teach a vocab. unit to our class. We were given two lists of themed words (space or vampires) with which to write a story and the promise that this new teacher would read the best story from each category aloud to the class. I chose the vampire theme and won that category. When the teacher read, the whole class laughed in all the right places and I was congratulated in kid-glory at recess.
I was hooked. :)

AdamI said...

It was something I always wanted to do, but always thought I'd do late in life. Then one day I realized that my mind was just full of ideas, and if I didn't start writing them down I might lose them. That was about two years ago, and I've been practicing and putting down ideas since. I now have a lot of material to work with, though none of it is "done" yet.

James Scott Bell said...

My first clue was when I started writing "novels" in second grade, pirate stories, knight stories, illustrated by me (badly). Got into sports, then had my high school English teacher, Mrs. Bruce, see something in me and encouraged me to coax it out.

Studied with Raymond Carver in college, couldn't do what he did, thought I didn't have "it."

Law school.

Some years later I woke up realizing the bug was still there. It had never left. Knuckled down and now, 25 books later, it's still never left.

Matt Sinclair said...

I have a distinct memory of a writing assignment in third grade that left me creating a conversation between clouds. I enjoyed it but knew that if I had more time I could make it even better. I got a check-plus-plus on the assignment (basically an A; it was third grade, after all), but I wasn't satisfied. Perhaps I should have known I'd both write and edit.

Rebecca said...

Maybe this is cheesy, but I always knew. Or at least, if there was some kind of lightbulb moment, it was too far back for me to remember. But when I wrote my first novel-length story in high school, I realized that if I could finish a project like that, maybe I could publish one, too. We'll see about that.

Dougie Brimson said...

I've had 13 books published, co-written a multi-award winning Hollywood movie and still don't think of myself as a writer. Primarily I suspect, because it was never something I conciously set out to do or for that matter, actually enjoy most of the time!

I'm just too lazy to do anything else!

Suzanne said...
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Andrea said...

I started writing short stories in the fourth grade. That's when I knew. But it was only yesterday that I decided I just want to write and I don't care about making money doing it. At all. It's more about the art of it and the message.

Summer Frey said...

I'm not sure what the impetus was, but I sat down to write my first novel at age 9 and was hooked. The longest I've gone without writing since has only been about a month.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I was building worlds since before I could write. I didn't start writing though until this past year (I'm 23). Writing definitely dragged me to it kicking and screaming, and I'm glad it did.

Mr. D said...
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Ada said...

I've been writing since I was little, but never considered it as a career path until I was 16. From that point on, I've been pretty dedicated to my writing goals. Yikes, that's a whole decade now!

MK Chester said...

I started reading at age 4 (trying to catch up to an older brother) and started writing stories around age 10. Didn't take it seriously until I was through college, though.

Sierra McConnell said...

I was two years old, my parents asked what I wanted to be, and I said "I wanna be an ink pen".

Also, at three and on, all I did was tell stories. At first it was about the familes of bears, bunnies, and cats. Then it sorta compounded from there. I've been a storyteller my entire life. I've always wanted to be a writer.

Never have I wanted to be anything else.

Suzanne said...

As early as when I was six years old, I started stringing together words that evolved in stories. I was inspired by the magical world of Enid Blyton and African authors like Chinua Achebe, Camara Laye, Ken Saro Wiwa, Mabel Segun and Kola Onadipe. I've always known that I was going to be a writer. For now I write advertising copy and short fiction. Hopefully someday I'll add author to my portfolio too :)

Lisa Kilian said...

I wrote a Livejournal. Someone read it and liked it. Thus, here I am. Silly Livejournal.

Eme Savage said...

Since I was five or six. I found out people actually MADE books and decided to try it out. My first "book" was called The Purple Planet. It was cowritten by myself and another boy in my class. It was written on loose leaf notebook paper and illustrated in crayon. We stapled it together using the classroom stapler. My best Christmas gift was a little blue typewriter my grandparents gave me when I was ten. I can still remember pleasant way the keys clacked together. The Chronicles of Narnia was my first real exposure to fantasy. I was nine. I knew from that from that point on all I would write is fantasy. I first wrote for my pleasure. Then I found out other people enjoyed what I wrote. I never thought I would actually publish something. But here I am writing launching my first book in July, editing a second book, and writing the first draft of third. It makes me very happy. :)

christopherdavidpetersen said...

Right after Penthouse Forum told me I had talent... (kidding... or am I?)

I use to write fictional stories about my coworkers. They loved them so much, the asked for more... alas, a writer was born.

http://christopherdavidpetersen.wordpress.com

JenA said...

I'd always been told I should write a story on my life. But my thoughts were "Would someone read it?" Plus, I wanted to escape reality not relive it everyday (nights and weekends, too!). So, when I was 31 I had a crazy phone call and when the call ended, I stood there. Thinking about my life, I knew I needed to get stuff out but instead of writing about me I created a character that resembled me in high school and threw in some shapeshifters to make it interesting. Nothing has happened with it yet but that hasn't stopped me from writing.

Seabrooke said...

I'm glad you're someone else who came to it late, Nathan! We had creative writing in public school but it was always really structured and forced, and so I never really enjoyed it. But a couple of years ago at age 29 I was struck by the whim to try my hand at fiction... and got hooked. I've always envied the people who develop their interests/passions at a young age.

Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

I always found myself writing something all through my life. A diary, essays, poems, little snippets here and there. I even wrote a knitting and foodie blog for a few years. At work, I write legal stuff all day.

I just never realized that I wanted to be a writer until February 25, 2009.

That was the day I consciously put a pen to paper to write out a story I had in my head.

I've been writing ever since. (Not the same piece though.)

Anonymous said...

"When Did You Know You Wanted to Be a Writer?"

When I realized there wasn't much else I could do. And I've always been a storyteller. Never believe a word I say.

Kristin Nicole said...

I don't know that I'm a writer (I haven't published anything) but I think for me it started in my teen years when one day sitting on the couch I just wanted to write (poems, anything) and I absolutely love it.

xo,
kristin nicole

Rick Daley said...

I've always enjoyed writing. Roughly seven years ago I had an idea for a novel, and I mentioned it to my wife, half-expecting her to tell me I was crazy. She surprised me by loving the idea. Might have something to do with my reasons for marrying her, I suppose.

The Red Angel said...

I've always loved writing for as long as I can remember. :) Having a disability has put some major limits on my life, and writing itself is so limitless--it has always been my outlet of expression.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Gabriela Pereira said...

I became a writer in 1st grade, after the Unfortunate Library Incident that Changed My Life. (I wrote about that pivotal moment here.)

Jenn Thorson said...

I knew ever since I was about 10 and feel this sweeping sense of inspirational excitement every time I'd read a good book. It was a real "This is what I need to do."

I ended up writing a little mystery novel when I was about 11, and from there most of my summer vacations from school were taken up doing writing projects. Not much came of it until post-college, but I've enjoyed seeing things progress.

Now I'm waiting for response from an agent query on my latest novel-- and while I imagine it will be a long road and many queries later, I still enjoy the pursuit of the dream.

Ulysses said...

Well, the full story is here, but the reader's digest version is: I read so much I developed brain damage.

Now, when normal people would plunk themselves down in front of "American Idol," I'm compelled to go write something instead.

There's no known treatment.

Munk said...

I'm not sure "wanted to" is the best phrase to describe my relationship with writing.

Amber Gideon said...

I was pushed into it at work and then I remembered how much I used to enjoy it so I started writing a book.

Jake Henegan said...

I wrote a bit of stories here and there and enjoyed creative writing in school, but I never really considered the possibility that I could be a writer.
Somewhere one or two years back, I couldn't live with all the numbers, so I tried writing and never looked back.
Okay, I've looked back quite a few times, but I can never seem to find the stairs again...

Jay said...

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I saw that painting at the top of your post just now.

Anonymous said...

When I literally learned how to write in grade 3 and I made all the kids laugh...each time I wrote. It took me all my life (58 years) to gain enough confidence to call myself a writer and now I have a 600 page ebook. ISBN is 9781617922848 and it is coming soon on kindle, ipad, nook and sony: A Seed in the Wind by Daystar.

Jen Knight said...

When I started and couldn't stop.

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

I love this story:

When I was eight, my teacher told us to write a "book." We printed out our books, illustrated them, made covers, got them bound, and put them on the bookshelf to read during reading time. I thought to myself, "I want to do this everyday for the rest of my life." I knew I wanted to be a NOVELIST, not a short story writer or a poet or anything else.

Kitty said...

I began writing as soon as I learned to string words together. I believe I wasn't even six years old and I was already writing intense stories of gangsters, murders, and fortune. This was close to 25yrs ago and still I'm writing and now I'm trying to take it to a career.

Megan said...

I think I knew in high school and then ran screaming in the other direction until I could no longer deny it. Though I still try and run away.

Melody Valadez said...

I didn't know I wanted to be a writer until a children's magazine I subscribed to had their annual "kid-written issue." You could send in artwork, riddles, or stories. I knew I was hopeless when it came to art and very unfunny. So I chose writing by default. I didn't get into the magazine issue, but I found something I could do. Write. :)

Barbara Watson said...

One year ago, I discovered writing was woven into my soul. I was 40. Late to the party? I don't think so. I'm right on time.

Sean said...

I tried to write a horror novel in high school but then some friends came over to play basketball and I forgot all about it.

midnightblooms said...

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. At age 27 I decided I should figure it out.

For months I grew increasingly frustrated and worried as nothing appealed to me. I didn't want to go back to school, but I didn't know what else to do. When I told my husband, he looked at me like I was crazy and said, "You are a writer," like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

He was right. I don't know why I had dismissed it, but I've been writing ever since.

Hillsy said...

My Dad had is sperm genetically adjusted so I'd be predisposed to a writing career.

So HA!...I trump you all!!!!

Susan Antony said...

As a child I use to write stories for entertainment, and my sister always encouraged me to write, but I didn't get serious about writing until the end of my fourth decade.

Kelli said...

I wrote my first story in 1st grade. Wanted to be an author pretty quickly. But then thought that much writing would be too hard. Downgraded to journalist, then advertising. I'm in advertising as a writer now and working on my 3rd attempt at a book.
I guess you could say I knew where I wanted to go but I took the scenic route.

David Gaughran said...

I was always scribbling something, since I was a kid.

But I only got serious a few years back. I had just quit a good job and decided to go travelling around the world, and had a vague notion of writing something along the way.

I spent a couple of months writing the fake memoir of a failed hand model, when I realised it was one joke that I was beating to death again and again.

But one door closes and another one opens. I was on a bus to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and I was reading the travel guide and stumbled across a story from the independence war that grabbed my attention.

Pretty soon I was spending a lot of time online, taking notes, trying to figure out this little mystery. I didn't realise it, of course, but I had already been infected with something.

Actually, I tried to give the idea to another writer friend, I sat her down in a cafe and explained her the whole thing. She listened patiently for a couple of hours while I laid out the whole book, all the characters, threads, twists, everything, then tried to palm it off on her!

Luckily, she knocked some sense into me and made me write it. It all went from there.

Dave

Sara said...

Didn't know I wanted to be a writer, just was one. Told detailed stories to my parents when I was 2-3. Got my first typewriter when I was 5. Had my first (and only) play produced in the 4th grade. Decided when pondering careers I wanted to be a writer because I couldn't settle on any one thing and writing would allow me to explore anything and everything. I'd rather write than speak most days.

h said...

I'm 17 and I started writing before I could write....in that I had quite bad dyslexia so instead of reading I woul make up stories to match the pictures and have been hooked ever since. My first 'novel' I wrote in year six, aged 9, my first real, chapter novel above a hundred pages aged 12 and I currently have a real nove that I feel is just about ready to sen out and a secon one I'm currently working on :-)

i suppose i've always known but i've developed over time!

Henri said...

When I first visited Denmark at age 51. It was first time to Europe and the whole experienced overwhelmed me.

Naomi Canale said...

I started at age 8 with a picture book for my little brother and at age twelve I attempted my first novel (I sill have both of them :). But I didn't really get serious until I was 22.

Ella Schwartz said...

Nathan - If you started writing in your 20s you were downright a youngin!!

I started writing in my early 30s, but I've always dreamed of writing.
Always an avid reader, one day I said to myself, “this book writing thing can’t be that hard, I’m going to give it a try!” Having a few babies, working a full time job, and the need for at least 8 hours of sleep a night (more would be better) all worked against me becoming a novelist.

It took me 4 years to finish my first novel!

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Started writing as a child. Loved dreaming up other worlds and plots. I was alone a lot. Out in the boondocks, with no other girls my age. So I had to.

As a teen, I moved a lot. Changed school at least once EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. So, combine that with really strange death-defying dreams, I would sit on my own a lot trying to make them into a suitable book.

I didn't really think I could write professionally. You know how most people tell themselves, "I could never do that."? I was that girl. Until I got married. And then I couldn't put off the desire any longer. And I am SOOO glad I started.

Jennifer said...

I've always loved writing, but I never really thought I could be a writer. It wasn't until last year that I realized being a writer is exactly what I wanted to be. Yesterday I quit my job in public accounting so I can pursue my dream.

Cookie said...

I think I seriously starting considering being a writer when I was about twenty and sat down and started plunking out my first serious novel.
In middle school I started writing short stories, and comics, but back then I was sure what I wanted to do, other than save the world.
When I was little I wanted to be an artist. Now that I am an artist, I don't want to do it for money. I would rather draw and paint for my own satisfaction than a paycheck.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled into writing. I sat infront of the computer one day and for some reason went to wordpad and wrote a paragragh. I think it was somehow inspired somehow by a author who struck a cord in me. She planted something in my life that now is what I call writing.

Jennifer Wright said...

I don't remember a time when I didn't want to write. It's always been something I do, nothing more or less. I wrote a whole blog post on the first time I knew I wanted to write books. If you want to check it out http://www.jenniferwrightauthor.com/1/post/2009/11/the-beginning.html
I have finally, at the age of 33, just released my first novel into the world.

Jeff said...

I was eight years old when I saw my first issue of Mad magazine. It belonged to an older cousin, and it was the April 1971 edition. I never fully recovered.

Ellen said...

I've known I wanted to write for about ten years now, though I only started getting serious about it eight years ago. (And by serious I mean, making sure to do some every day or every other day.) I've been thinking publication since about high school, and getting serious about publication in college. Here's hoping the next step is actually getting published!

Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF said...

I'm surprised that you say 27 is late. It seems to young to me! I wrote in journals and poems and stories when I was a kid, but I never thought of it as "being a writer." In high school and college, I didn't do much writing at all aside from assignments, and my senior year of college I wrote a weekly newspaper column. After college, I got a job in magazine editing and thought that was my future. I started my first book when I was 27, and had never before thought of writing for real. My memoir will be published in January, when I'm 29, and I think of that as young! But now I know I want to do it forever...

Will said...

Like a few people here, I started when I was very young. I have this binder on my shelf gathering dust that's full of little one-paragraph things that I wrote when I was younger (between four and seven, going by the dates). They were really just odd descriptions of stuff, like deer and whatnot. But then when I was ten I wrote a short story about two crystals, a kid with amnesia, and his best friend who was a vampire. Not sure where that ended up.

Between then and about a year ago, the only writing I did was for school. Research papers and all that. But last July I started writing a novel, finished at around 100k words in August, and have been working on sequels/editing/researching the industry since. I'm a little young to really be sure when I say "this is what I want to do for the rest of my life," but it's definitely one of the things I'll be working on.

Julie Nilson said...

I've been writing ever since I was old enough to make letters with a crayon, but I graduated during a terrible recession and ended up in corporate writing for a long time. I still learned a lot there (particularly the extreme importance of meeting deadlines!) but in the last year I started thinking about whether I wanted to keep going that for the next 30+ years. The answer was no. So this year is the beginning of my fiction writing career! (During which I am still doing corporate writing to pay the bills...)

BookMystress/Monique Writes said...

i was always collecting note books pens, and other cute stationary and it would Just sit. . . empty, then one day, at school i wrote, it wrote for hours, at the time i had alot going on in my life, and my stories just helped me more then any human did, i loved the craft then and i love it more now, I have no clue where i would be if i didnt write, my bet is on drugs, its been 12 years since, loves M

Jenni Merritt said...

My mom has told me that when I was three, I would sit at the table and write. I would ask how to spell 'cat' then proceed to ask what a 'c' looks like...

I have dreamed of being a writer since the day I can remember. Literally.

And now I am finally working on that dream! It's about time... :)

Chris Phillips said...

The first time I read your blog.

Other Lisa said...

Hmm, about five years old. I was going to write an epic about cats who went camping. Only I couldn't spell "tent." First case of writer's block.

True story!

Erik said...

I was sitting in one of my Mechanical Engineering classes, clinging to a C-, and I realized that I didn't want to be an engineer. I wanted to do something that I actually loved. So I switched my major to English w/ an emphasis in Creative Writing. Mom loved that one.

Anonymous said...

No idea. I've written many "novels" in my time, the earliest when I was about five, and the first full length one when I was seven. I don't remember when or where I decided I wanted to be a writer because I never really had that "moment." However, I don't remember NOT wanting to be a writer... it's something I always wanted to be- except when I was younger I wouldn't really call it writing. I wrote for the sake of it. =P

dianehenders said...

A writer? Sure, I've written reams of non-fiction, ever since high school. A fiction writer? Never!

Then a novel leaped out from behind my door, slammed me into my chair, and forced me to write it. I complied, but I refused to acknowledge it as fiction writing. I was just doing it "to see if I could". I was 46.

I'm working on my fourth novel now. Apparently I wanted to do this. Who knew?

Sara Ravel said...

I was 12 when I looked at the book I was reading and thought I could do better.
I was 15 when I thought eight pages was a lot of writing.
I was 23 when I realized that it takes more than just multiple pages with pretty words to make a book.
I was 33 when I decided I'd learn the craft and do the work if it meant I didn't have to work for someone else ever again.
It was also at that age that I fell in love the craft, the magic, and the possibility of finally creating the type of story I wanted to read and share with others.

Cindy Paul said...

As soon as I learned I had stories to tell, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I also knew that I could tell these stories with pictures in such a way to invoke a different emotion from my readers. Wow, what great fun...and I was hooked.

Valentine J. Brkich said...

In the 2nd Grade, when my story, "Dinosaur Island" was published in the Sts. Peter & Paul Press. Once I got a taste of fame, I was hooked. After that, I started filling notebooks with dozens of stories. Check'em out at...
valentinebrkich.wordpress.com/vintage-stuff/

Ben Carroll said...

2 and a half years ago -- when I left university. In other words, exactly the moment when I STOPPED having loads of free time on my hands... oops.

Marie said...

From school age. I used to love creative writing and English lessons. At home I used to make little books and magazines.

Sandra said...

Writing has always been a part of my life, but actually being a writer was a completely different line of thought.

I was in my early thirties before I realized I could actually be a writer instead of just daydreaming about it. I'm still in my thirties, so I guess that makes me a late bloomer, but a full time job and a couple kids distracted me from the thrilling possibility.

Elisabeth said...

I've been writing ever since I learned how. I spent my whole childhood making up stories for my own amusement, and every once in a while I'd write one of them out. I made my own books by stapling sheets of paper together (back then, I thought a chapter was a page and a half plus an illustration). I think I was probably in my teens when I started to really think about writing for publication, but I've always been writing one thing or another.

Samuel D. Grey said...

I always enjoyed creating stories, especially in High School, but it was only when I went to University that I realised that I wanted to be able to contribute to the wonderful wealth of literature that had so inspired me as a reader. For me, there's very little else that I find can have the same kind of profound impact on a person than a great tale.

Francis Tuohy said...

I first felt the impulse to write when I really started getting in to books (like 16). I didn't do it because I thought I would make a career out of it, I just always felt inspired after reading something cool and writing would give me the same feeling that reading would. I only started writing serriously (with the view to publish) a couple of years ago now (am 25). still havent got anything published yet so dont know if I will ever have the guts to call myself a "Writer." :)

Clara Rose said...

Great question Nathan!

My dream started when I was 11 yrs old. Taking a stack of notebook paper and tying the holes together with string... I titled my first book "Clara and the devil's triangle". I wish I'd had the forsight to keep it. It could be worth a laugh now.

I didn't get paid for my first writing until I was 35 yrs old.

I guess I have always been a writer at heart, the question is perhaps when did I become obsessed?

Thanks for letting us all share such a private part of our soul!

Stacy McKitrick said...

I'm amazed at how many consider themselves "late bloomers" in their 20's and 30's. What does that make me in my 50's?

I did take creative writing clases in school, but never went anywhere with them. I loved to read, though. Then one day (two years ago) I decided to attempt a novel. Finished it, too. Now I can't stop writing (and I'm working on my 4th). I'll consider myself lucky if I get published before I'm 60!

Kathleen T. Jaeger said...

I wanted to write before I could read and write. But it wasn't until after college, when I was searching for what I wanted to do, that I saw my desire to write is what I have always wanted to do -- whether or not it was the way of making money.

Bryce Daniels said...

How eerie that this would be your subject today, Nathan. I was constructing a blog post when this popped up.

My "moment of truth" comes down to one actual moment, one I remember even after a quarter-century's worth of pages.

Thank you, anonymous lady, wherever you might be.

Loree Huebner said...

I come from a long line of storytellers.

My mom always told me to write. Over the years, teachers would tell her that I was very good at it. One day, when I was a teenager, we were having one of those stupid fights about – What are you going to do with your life? Right in the middle, she yelled, “Write, Laura, just WRITE.” I can remember this as clear as a bell. It didn’t make sense to me at that time. I had other ideas for my life, but I always remembered the seriousness and tone in her voice.

It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I started to write a book. Two years later, Mom died. She didn’t know I was writing. I wanted to surprise her so I didn’t say anything. Her illness took a turn for the worst, and she was dying. On her deathbed, I whispered to her, “Mom, I wrote a book.” I believe she heard me.

After she died, I was going through some of her things, and I found a bunch of old stories that I had written over the years for school. She had kept them all. One from 4th grade said, “She has a great imagination. She will be a great writer one day.” I’m not quite sure at what point that I knew I would write, but my mom knew that I would.

FrankCOte said...

Great question!

I wanted to be a writer in high school. I loved writing short stories and I wrote my first (very bad) manuscript.

I even majored in English Lit/Creative Writing in university.

The life took over and I stopped for a while. Although I started doing NaNoWriMo every year in 2006.

The birth of my daughter last year (our first) and turning 40 got me thinking about things. If not now, when? How can I teach my daughter to chase her dreams if I only chase mine half-assed?

So this year, I'm writing and I'm submitting.

We'll see where that goes, but no one will say I didn't try.

salima said...

I don't know that I ever thought of it as being a "writer." As a very small child I knew I had stories in me, and I needed a way to get them out. So I used words and pictures to do that. Curiously, I continued to think of it this way even once I'd heard about and understood what an "author" does---I guess I was always a storyteller and that word resonated most with me. And being a professional storyteller occurred to me when I was about eighteen.

therese said...

I stated I was going to be a writer when I was 12 years old.

I decided I wanted to be a novelist in my early 20's when I completed my first draft of a romance novel.

I've done a lot of other writing over the years but have always returned to being a novelist and that day is finally here. But I'm not revealing the number of decades that have passed. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I still don't.

Okay, first I wanted to be a ballerina, but my Dad said no.

But, aside from that setback, I was always making up stories and called on to make up stories for pictures a lot. I got published for poetry in fifth grade.

But writing is lonely, hard, isolating work. And I was wearing out white strips, retyping seventeen times. Ugh!

I was happier being an artist. My "mistakes" were beautiful accidents.

But those darn stories wouldn't leave me alone.

The word processor was invented.
A first novel appeared, then a second, then a third, then a...

See the trouble you get into when your Dad won't let you grow up to be a ballerina.

Sarah said...

Last year. When I was 48.

Sommer Leigh said...

I was in first grade when I wrote a story for class about a day in the life of a letter when it is dropped in the mailbox. My teacher put a little duck post it note (I still have it) on my paper and told me it was amazing and that someday I'd be a writer. My first grade teacher was like God so if she said that's what I was going to grow up to do, then that's what I was going to grow up to do. It wasn't until I was 27 that I decided I'd be writing YA.

Renay said...

Just in the past few years, and I'm currently 40. There has always been a dreamer inside of me, and a couple of years ago decided to start putting down the ideas, thoughts, and stories that came to mind.

Sarah said...

I wanted so much to be a dancer and choreographer that I didn't allow room in my brain for anything else. I knew that I enjoyed writing, but entertaining any thoughts of it felt like betraying my "true calling".

I had to mellow out a bit before I could allow myself to acknowledge more than one dream. I know that sounds weird, but dancers have a tendency to be extremely obsessive about their art. :/ All or nothing, you know?

So, about 26, I think. That's when I started my first novel.

Matthew MacNish said...

I've always enjoyed writing, even when I stopped for a few years I would have still enjoyed it, but I didn't decide I wanted to BE a writer ... to define myself that way, until only a few years ago.

Probably because I had the first story idea that was worthy of a novel.

Dara said...

Probably around 11 or 12, when I started writing my first "novel." I always wrote and compiled stories--even before I knew how to put words together and had my mom transcribe them--but I never really realized I wanted to keep writing until that junior high age.

BLP said...

Well, you see, I was into this thing called "reading"...and I got too many words stuck in my head. And then the rest was much history! :D

Stephanie Barr said...

When I realized I would never be able to draw.

High school.

D.G. Hudson said...

When I read my first book, I thought writers were magnificent people to be able to tell stories. I still think that. I also wanted to be one.

Then, I discovered my grandmother's old Remington with the long keys that always stuck together if I tried to type fast, that's when I knew. That was the sixth grade (so I was 10 or 11) and I started by writing the science fiction stories like my brother and I saw Saturdays at the movie theatre. One of the guys sitting near to me would read and crit them for me (like or not like).

Then in High School - my friend and I wrote the early equivalent to Chic Lit in our study hall. I even sent articles in to one of the teen mags of the time. (rejected of course - how presumptious of me) I also studied journalism.

That writing urge stays with you if you nurture it. It's one of those passions that is always working, whether you're aware of it or not. I notice it when something makes me think, hmmm, could I use that for one of my characters. . .?

(Isn't this the type of question they ask when your 'bestseller' hits all the lists?)

Now, to read all the other comments, I must go.

ARJules said...

I have a little bit of both "I always have known" and "I took me a long time to do it."

I don't remember I time I wasn't writing. But I think I revered authors so much that I never thought I had the talent to do it. But any time I had a "I want to accomplish these things" list, writing novels was ALWAYS on it.

As I was walking down the hall at work, still working at 2am, I heard this whisper in the back of my mind that said, "Write your way out of this." Now I'm working on my first novel that I will actually try to publish at age thirty *cough* *cough* *hack* AHEM! We'll see how it goes.

hawleywood40 said...

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was 9 or 10 and wrote my grandmother's memoirs for her for Christmas. I treated as it as a beloved hobby my entire life, and at 40 have finally given myself the kick-start I needed to actually try to do something more with it. Better late than never!

Stasia said...

That's an easy one: Since 8th grade. Mr. Arena's English class. He had us write poems about classical music and stories about abstract paintings. I was hooked. And, after a lot of life's-twists-and-turns, my debut novel pubs this year. No idea where he is now but anyhow, THANKS, Mr. A!

Kendra said...

I started writing when I was four. My mom still has the book I wrote: "Princess Peanut." Writing has always been a dream, something I've pursued my whole life. I am still pursuing it because true passions never die.

Lauren said...

“Want” is a funny word. I don’t necessarily want to be a writer. I don’t actually like writing most of the time (okay most of the time I really hate it), but it’s the only way to settle the constant revisionist monologue in my head. I’ve only been taking the craft seriously for a little while, and don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough to be published, but I can’t stop. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop; I just hope I get to a point where I don’t hate everything I write. 

janesadek said...

In the fourth grade a teacher read Swampy And Babs In The Okefenoke by Zan Heyward to us after lunch every day. I was already an avid reader, but before she finished this book, I knew reading was not enough. I wanted to give the gift of literature to other people. By junior high, my teachers recognized that I wrote better than my peers and in high school I was told I'd found my calling. My parents didn't agree and sent me to college to get a degree in business. I took a three decade detour through Corporate America, but those afternoons with Swampy and Babs never let me go. I'm now a published poet looking for an agent for my recently completed novel. Now, when my friend complain that their kids want to join a rock band or be an archeologist, I tell the parents to get out of the way. Don't keep your kids from being who they are.

Jerry said...

From as far back as I can remember. I only recently started again though. This time serious. I stopped in college when I realized my writing was too immature. Deciding to get some "experience" I joined the army for a while. Along the way, found a wife, kids, job....then NanoWriMo got me interested in picking it up. now I can't stop it.

Malia Ann said...

I've had the dream of being a writer ever since I was a kid, but at the time they had only typewriters. I hated typing and I wasn't very good at it. I would get so frustrated typing things over and over again. (No amazing cut and paste!) And carbon paper? Man! That was the worst. Plus, my handwriting looks like chicken scratches. So even though I had the longing to write, the process to get all my "wonderful" thoughts on paper was way too stressful and discouraging for me. Because of this, I wasn't able to get a novel written for many years. We all need to thank God for our beautiful, awesome, incredible computers and printers. So, here's my very heartfelt, "Thank you, God!"

BECKY said...

Gosh, Nathan, do you really have time to read all the comments you get? Amazing! Okay...short answer is I didn't know I wanted to write until I was in my late 40's! That's a bit older than you were!

Mark Terry said...

I was between my junior & senior year in college, struggling to graduate with a degree in microbiology, living alone because my roommate was doing a summer internship and my girlfriend (now wife) had graduated and gotten a job, and I read an essay by Stephen King he wrote for a book about his writing. The essay was titled "The Making Of A Brand Name" and King talks about writing and submitting and writing and submitting and getting nibbles and lots of rejections then the big break with "Carrie" and I thought, "Oh, writers write. They don't go to school, etc., necessarily, they sit down, write, and submit." So I wrote a short story, loved the process, and eventually started getting things published. Now I'm a full-time freelance writer, editor, novelist and ghostwriter.

Valerie Ormond said...

First - loved reading the responses. Although I've enjoyed writing since I was a child, I've only recently considered myself a writer -- in my late 40's. After I retired from the Navy and had time to dedicate and create, I found I wanted to be a writer again. One book published; some projects on the side; another book in the works; yes, I hope I want to be a writer now!
http://believinginhorses.com

P. Kirby said...

Probably about the time I accepted that I'd never realize my dream of becoming Supreme Malevolent Dictator of the Known Universe. So with a small edit, I became Supreme Malevolent Dictator of My Own Universe(s).

Which happened, sometime in my 30s.

Anonymous said...

When I was four years old, I was quite ill and confined to a bed for a solid year. My only comfort was my mother who read the Baum's Oz books to me. By the end of the year, I'd taught myself to read them. I remember thinking that this is what I wanted to do for other people: give them a world to live in when theirs had gone elsewhere.

Roger Floyd said...

You came to the writing game pretty late? 25? Twenty-five isn't that late. I didn't start my novel until I was in my late 50's when a great plot line suddenly appeared in my head. Now I'm in my late 60's, and that novel is just about ready to be published. Writing isn't just for youngsters. Us geezers have some thing to say, too. I've also got a sequel done, and I'm working on the third of the series. Any questions before I dismiss class?

AderuMoro said...

I came up with the craziest reasons for why my parents were missing (aliens are experimenting on them! the monster in the closet ate them! really, they were just shopping), but I usually kept those in my head.

I wrote my first non-academic story when I was seven--it was about my classmates exploring a haunted mansion, and I remember even asking permission to kill one of them.

My love for storytelling rekindled when I was eleven.

It was around thirteen when I realized, "Hey, there's a thing called publishing."

Jeff S Fischer said...

When I was in elementary school, I wrote a short two or three page story for which my teachers praised me, but I never thought, I want to be a writer. In high school it was the same way, I was praised a couple of times but I never said, I want to be a writer. Up until about ten years ago I never said out loud I want to be a writer but I would regularly write ten and twenty page letters to my family. City college at 39 years old, I finally said, hell, what have I been waiting for? Of course, so far no success.

Lisa Lane said...

I was somewhere between eight and ten when I tried my hand at my first story. It was very short, with no character development or meaningful prose, but I remember feeling as though I had created a masterpiece--and the need arose in me to create a hardback cover for it using cardboard (complete with crayon drawings, lol). Ten novels and countless short stories later, I'm still hooked!

Addison Moore said...

At age twelve during my long library summer. I still remember the scent of those books.

Diana said...

In 3rd grade I'd written a story about bears. When my teacher handed it back, it had a great big "A" on the top and she said, "You ought to be a writer."

In the concrete thinking of a 9 year-old, I took her words to heart and have never looked back :)

Kate Larkindale said...

I always wrote when I was younger, from the age of about 6, but somehow, once I hit my 20s, I couldn't find time for it anymore. I kind of snuck odd moments here and there, but it wasn't until about 3 years ago I decided I really had to do this and went at it with all my heart and soul.

Darla said...

I tried to write a romance novel on the family computer in sixth grade - not my brightest idea. I didn't write anything else for 20 years. Then, after reading a particularly moving series, I knew I wanted to impact the lives of people in the same manner. Six months later, I completed my first manuscript and, in the process, realized what I wanted to be when I grew up. (That would be a writer.)

Katherine Hyde said...

In 7th grade English we had an assignment to write a story given a particular paragraph for a beginning. I had so much fun doing it that I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was 11.

I messed around with various uncompleted projects through high school, then went to college and completely lost confidence in my ability to write any fiction worth reading. I graduated, married, had kids, wrote a couple of short stories that went nowhere, and put writing on the back burner until I would have some time for myself.

That never happened. At age 46, totally frustrated with my life, I read a biography of Charlotte Bronte and strongly identified with her struggles. When I finished that, I thought, it's time. If I don't write now, despite the obstacles, I never will. Coincidentally at around the same time, a woman I had gone to college with published a bestseller. I thought, "If she can do it, I can do it."

From that point I never looked back.

Rebecca Stroud said...

Third grade. Had to write an essay on Abraham Lincoln. My teacher, Mrs. Robinson, plastered five gold stars on the sucker and - as they say - that's all she wrote...I was off and running.

jesse said...

A voice from the sky told me. Though, it may have been the drugs.

Andy said...

I was at a point in my life where nothing made sense. So, I tried writing. It clicked like no other activity ever had. Even today, sometimes it's the only thing that clicks and that's what draws me back.

Chris Wolowski said...

I think a part of me knew I wanted to be a writer from the day I was born. It just took the rest of me thirty-something years to catch up.

And, man, am I loving the ride.

Christina said...

I think I've always known I was a writer, simply because the first thing I would do when I woke up in the morning as a kid was tell myself the rest of the story I started the night before while I was falling asleep.

I wrote and illustrated my first "book" in 1st grade. It was a mystery. Before that, I was writing little stories about things like teddy bears and cats and such. Roosters were always the bad guy if they featured because they were big and mean, though once I saw Disney's Robin Hood they became the narrators of my stories.

I figure, if you wake up and the first thing you think about is a character, a story, or just about sitting down to write, you're a writer. It's in the blood. If I get published, great! If I don't, I'll still write. There is no choice. If I don't write every day I get grumpy. Nobody likes a grumpy writer.

Sarah Tuttle-Singer. Yes, That's My Real Name. (Hi Dad.) said...

My first reaction to this post was "I've wanted to be a writer since forever." But "since forever" is really cliche. And it's only sort of true.

I loved writing as a little girl - I was deep into purple prose stuff. Lots of linguistic flourishes and anvilesque metaphors. (But I was only seven, and I can be forgiven for this...)

I pulled away from writing in high school - I wanted to be a concert pianist or join the CIA.

(But with my stubby fingers, I could barely span an octave let alone play slight of hand with some fancy firearms...)

At Berkeley, I took a lot of theory classes that required pages and pages of prose. Analysis! Close readings! Trees killed for the sake of my ideas!

But it wasn't until a second pregnancy took me by surprise nine months after my first child was born, that I started writing. It was either blog through it, or have a nervous breakdown.

(Great question, Nathan.)

Mira said...

I've always known that writing was something I would do, but I never quite knew how to do it in a way that worked for me. I'd try writing stories and get frustrated, or fold FOR YEARS at the slightest bit of critique.

I would periodically join on-line writing blogs, and loved, loved, loved interacting on them, but always got blocked when it came to actually writing something.

It wasn't until I joined your blog, Nathan, that I realized I'm not a storyteller; I'm not a fiction writer. I discovered my writing voice here - my writing voice is interactive and works best in dialogue. It's weird, but those blog posts that I loved writing WERE my writing. That unlocked things for me.

My gratitude to you for that is unbounded.

Caroline said...

I started writing when I was 12. Mostly because I had started a story in my head (complete with dialogue) and was beginning to lose track of what was going on, who said what, etc. So I started writing by hand and filled a 3 inch binder full of pages.

I've been writing ever since although I had not completed anything until last year. Yes, I am easily distracted...

Melissa said...

Interesting question, Nathan. I’d been writing stories ever since I was six or seven, and even though I was good at it, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue it. I was a music savant, and it was expected that I’d become a concert pianist. I double-majored in journalism, which had a heavy English component. In music, I was treated like just another high-end product. In J-school and the English department, I had mentors and creative writing instructors who saw me as an individual and encouraged me. I’d been interning as a reporter. Then editor of one of my favorite print publications discovered me online, and that was that. Now I freelance for a living and only recently decided to hone my fiction writing as well. Why not give it a try?

Mira said...

Oh, and I love that picture. :)

Penelope said...

I've always loved to write.

My last class for my BA was a creative writing class - a sub for some forgotten elective. After completing a Spanish degree, I really came alive in writing! It was once of my favorite classes of all time. I've been hardcore bitten by the bug ever since.

The Writing Goddess said...

When I was very young, I wanted to be Nancy Drew. Then when I became a teenager, I decided I wanted to write Nancy Drew. And a co-dependent, sometimes depressing, sometimes exhilirating relationship was born.

lexcade said...

4th grade. we had to write a short story for our portfolios. i still remember the story i wrote (though i don't have it anymore) and have been hooked ever since.

JM Leotti said...

Sometimes the journey is a long one...

I've been writing and painting since I was a wee one. I used to make books, covers and everything, one of which was on the shelf in my school library, a request from the librarian (proud moment).

But I never considered writing as a honed craft until in my mid thirties. I was working in publishing at the time, and surrounded by writers, editors and artists, and this led to me taking writing courses.

I managed to publish two short stories in lit journals, and then quit my courses after 9/11. (I didn't want to return to NYC.)

Now I'm back to writing (sans courses), only this time I'm taking it seriously (hoping to return to school). Happy Day! Thanks, as always, for your wonderful blog!

Caitlin Vincent said...

I don't remember exactly when. I know I was writing stories in middle school and I started taking creative writing courses in high school. I wrote my first novel-length manuscript the year after I graduated high school. I've had constant encouragment from my family and friends so, honestly, I can't think of a time when I didn't want to be a writer.

Rachael W said...

I was 7 when I started writing, 12 when I wrote my very first novel, and 22 when I took an honest look at myself and thought, "If I don't spend at least part of every day writing, my soul will shrivel and die." I've been writing seriously ever since.

G said...

Around 2006, after I wrote a crappy novel that shouldn't have been self-pubbed (but it was)

Didn't really start to pursue it seriously until mid 2009.

I'll be turning 46 in a month.

Renee Collins said...

I've written all my life, but it never occurred to me to try and get published as a teenager.

Kids these days. Overachievers, the lot of them! ;)

twittertales said...

I attempted my first novel when I was 7 (it was about a family of cats), and completed my first novel (after several more incompletes) at 17 (it was scifi, but mostly about boys).

When I was 24 I realised writing was it for me - I didn't want to do anything else, ever.

I'm 29 now, and happily writing a steampunk novel set in the land of drought (my home, Australia).

Louise Curtis

February Grace said...

My grandmother taught me to read when I was two. True story. She did it using a Little Golden Book called Mickey Mouse's Picnic. I still have the original copy, and the spare.

My mother did not realize this had taken place until a short time later she pulled in at a gas station and I asked her if she had money in her wallet. She asked why I wanted to know. I said "Because that sign says 'sorry, no checks'." So it began with an early love of words and books.

I pretty much wanted to create stories from that point on. I made up great stories about my Paddington bear's adventures and told them before I could write them down.

Then in fourth grade, since I was religiously prohibited from sharing in Christmas festivities, a very kind and sympathetic teacher got me a special pass to use the projectors at the library and sent me down there with an alternate assignment to holiday art projects: to rewrite the ends of fairy tales after watching short movies about them.

I remember sitting there, watching the film flip and run out on the projector and snatching up my pencil and thinking 'man, that chick sleeping on all those mattresses with just one pea underneath is way too high maintenance.'

That is the moment I remember thinking that I really, really wanting to be a writer. (Now, thinking about being published? Another story entirely.)

Thank you, Ms. Eiselman, Fourth Grade Teacher, wherever you are.

~bru

Nancy Kelley said...

I never decided to be a writer; I just wrote. I have a folder full of the stories and poems I wrote in grade school. In middle school, I turned every writing assignment into a story, even if the instructions didn't specify fiction. My teacher's comments on those projects first planted the idea that I could be a paid writer.

Peter Dudley said...

Definitely in fifth grade. Or rather, that's when I started writing books. In college I nearly switched from Engineering to English but fortunately came to my senses. Still, I won some prizes in college poetry and fiction contests, and I wrote a lot during those times. It wasn't until I turned 30 that I realized I really wanted to write novels. It wasn't until I was 37 that I actually started doing it.

But it all goes back to Mrs. Waldo in fifth grade, I think. Or Mrs. Sarcia in fourth, who put so much energy into fostering her students' creativity (and who later became my stepmother).

dani said...

I first got the inspiration to be a writer when I was 9. A children's book author came to my school to speak. When someone asked how you get published. She simply said, "You write a story, send it to the publisher, and if they like it they'll publish it." It was that easy! I could publish a book and be rich and famous! I admit, that was my initial inspiration. But as I started writing I developed a passion for it. I'm now 40, and still writing. Almost done writing a novel.

Alaina said...

A couple years ago, a part of me awoke. I have always loved expressing myself through art, videos, and writing, but seeking an agent or publisher didn't seem to fit. Until more recently that is.

Like a trigger in my brain, I woke up one day and felt through and through, 'it's time to share my writing with the world'. I suppose that moment is when I decided to pursue writing as a career.

So here I am, ready to share my worlds, with this world! :-) Being a writer is just something I am.

SilverStar said...

I discovered I was good at writing in high school, but never did much with it until I got the idea for my first novel (Which I'm currently working on). I'd say that's when I decided to be a writer.

Sandra Stiles said...

My other said I was always writing stories for my sisters. I wrote puppet scripts for a while. I didn't believe in me as a writer until a couple of years ago when I gave a writing assignment and a student asked me why I didn't write books to put on my shelf since I was always writing stories for them. I took him up on it. Funny, I believe in my students but it took one of them believing in me to get me started.

Judith Mercado said...

Perhaps because my father was a poet and essayist, writing always seemed like a natural activity for me, even in earliest childhood. Practical eonomic considerations sent me on a different career path. In my mid-thirties, I had to leave that career and finally gave myself permission to write fiction. I've never stopped writing since.

Suzanne said...

When did I *discover* I wanted to be a writer?" Would you believe the answer is, okay, right about now, when I am as old as Methusala, and despite having "been a writer" when I had a regular column for the Philadelphia Inquirer in my twenties, didn't get that THAT was what I wanted to be. I suspect it took till now, because only now --with the imminent publication of BARE NAKED AT THE REALTy DANCE am I writing from the heart and soul of me. Better late than never, says I.

Tahlia said...

When I was in high school, I definitely did not want to be a writer, even though my teachers said I had talent. It wasn't until AFTER I was fourteen and wrote the first draft of a novel (a gift for my best friend) that I realized I had found my calling.

Mizmak said...

I've been writing stories since I was a kid -- my first "book" was a story about girls at a boarding school that I wrote and illustrated at age 12 in order to entertain the kids I was babysitting. Haven't stopped since.

Kitty Bucholtz said...

I've been telling stories since I can remember, pre-kindergarten. I was chastised for fibbing until my mom realized I wasn't "lying" just making up stories. But I grew up in a pragmatic region where storytelling wasn't considered a potential career. So it wasn't until I moved away when I was about 26 that I started to pursue writing for publication.

Becca said...

I realized I wanted to be a writer when I decided I wanted to live in a box and scratch my delusional dreams into cardboard until I die.

Not really.
I don't know when. I've always loved writing, but I think it was somewhere in the 10th grade when I came up with two characters and a story I couldn't get out of my head.

I never wrote it, but it set me on the path.

WriteOnWendy said...

I wanted to be a writer since I learned how to make letters. My desire only grew when I discovered that being a writer also meant I could be a thinker. My biggest challenge has been realizing that it was actually something I could do instead of just dream about.

rickjsand said...

In third grade I was in a 'gifted' writing program where I wrote a mystery about a coin collection. I kept writing over the years, but it wasn't until I read "Peter Pan" as an adult that I knew I wanted to write stories for younger audiences.

Kevin Lynn helmick said...

Ahh-I've told this story many times in many versions.
I grew up with four older brothers (I'm the youngest) and the house was full Hardy Boys mystery's as well as the trendy paperbacks of the sixty's and seventy's. I was seven years younger than my closest brother, and I remember pulling out the drawers of their dresser to create a ladder so that I could get to the record player and the collection of 45's they so brilliantly put out of my reach. My favorite was The Beatles, Paperback Writer (go figure.) Without knowing at the time (probably four or five years old) that the lyrics; a desperate plea to a publisher from an aspiring writer was almost taken word for word from a query of some kid Paul knew.
But the chorus, that's what hooked me. They made it sound like a super hero theme song and it entranced me. Being a paperback writer sounded cool and I read everything I could get my hands on, and wrote, (tried to anyway.) And always wanted to write a "great american novel."
I've worked a lot of jobs over the years. I've put my writing aside for years at a time, but it's like that little voice that keeps returning, wispering,'it's who you are Kev forget everything else, this matters." I've been the most happy when writing, wether at 14 or 47, deep in the heat of composition is where I feel at home, and the most job satisfaction I've ever known.
So I don't think there was definite moment that I wanted to be a writer. I think I always thought I already was.
I still think I am.

Suzanne said...

Okay, so would you believe me if I said that although I was writing a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer decades ago, it's only now -- with the imminent publication of my first book, BARE NAKED AT THE REALITY DANCE -- that I "knew I wanted to be a writer." It may have something to do with the fact that only when I wrote the book did I finally find the voice that is outrageously mine.

Suzanne said...

Okay, so would you believe me if I said that although I was writing a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer decades ago, it's only now -- with the imminent publication of my first book, BARE NAKED AT THE REALITY DANCE -- that I "knew I wanted to be a writer." It may have something to do with the fact that only when I wrote the book did I finally find the voice that is outrageously mine.

Anonymous said...

In 4th grade I made plans to write the great American novel and live in semi-seclusion up in the mountains somewhere, far from my well-meaning but clingy fans.

Then in 7th grade I got back an essay from my English teacher who mostly taught high school (and was a tough grader). He had written "No corrections necessary," which was high praise in his book.

But I didn't write until I lost my teaching job. I figured I'd taught hundreds of elementary students how to write, so I must be able to write myself...

DD Falvo said...

When I ran out of books I wanted to read. :)

Bane of Anubis said...

Not sure... an even harder question for me... when do you know you're a good writer?

Ellen T McKnight said...

I was five, wandering the block by myself, when I passed a strange adult on the sidewalk and sensed how for a second our minds touched, then withdrew. Something about aloneness and yet the possibility of connection struck me, and I thought how I'd like to write a story about that someday. That is when I first knew that I wanted to write.

Eli Brown said...

Ummm.....52?

Actually I wrote a novel when I was in my 20's with pencil in a spiral notebook. Not sure where it is now. I put it away when I decided that I needed to stop trying to escape real life, get serious and start acting like an adult and I went to work for a bank!
Now I'm in my 50's and the ideas just won't stop.

Betty Houle said...

i've been writing since high school (I'm almost 63 now) and only since a go-round with breast cancer have i been writing on a regular basis. I have a collection of poems written during the course of several biopsies, radiation and finally a double mastectomy and reconstruction that served as a journal of my mental and physical state as well as an escape from conscious thought about what was going on. Since then, I have begun writing children's stories as well as poetry, and two of my poems have been published.

Cathy Keaton said...

Kind of late to the game, as well. I was 21, taking a creative writing course in college when I randomly realized that a book I had read 3 years earlier made me want to be a writer. For some odd reason, I STILL want to write (14 years later, lol).

Deniz Bevan said...

From about the age of 5, when I wrote my first story. What computer screen? I still draft with paper and pen. On pub napkins, the backs of receipts, margins of work documents... Inspiration strikes anywhere and anywhen!

Charlotte Sannazzaro said...

I had a huge writing output from the moment I learned how to write. As a child I mainly wrote fantastical stories, turning to poetry in my teans. After seeking a career to pay the bills, my ambition to one day become and author wouldn't leave me alone. I'm currently revising my second completed MS.

Lee Wardlaw said...

Age seven: wrote first book.
Age eleven: wrote first two novels.
Age fourteen: had two poems published in my high school literary magazine.
Age fifty-five: still writing, still loving it! Thanks for asking. :)

Susanna said...

I've always been a voracious reader, even as a child, and I loved the way you were pulled into a wholly different reality when reading a novel. I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was 12 and read Lord of the Rings and then the Dune trilogy. I wanted so badly to be able to create a whole new world that readers could inhabit. I thought I would study English in University but was waylaid by science, and then grad school and babies, but now I'm determined to actually follow through with my youthful ambition. kibbirredists

Carol Riggs said...

High school! Had a great English teacher, so I wrote short stories and a half-dozen chapters on a novel. Learned how to send off stuff and start my rejection slip collection. ;o) Then I took a class in college. Didn't begin writing in earnest until I was 33, however.

alexia said...

I've always been writing. I wrote my first story when I was about five, with the specific intent to manipulate my parents into getting me a pony. I started writing my first novel when I was eleven or so. But life intervened, and I didn't get really serious and ever actually finish one until I was 26 (a couple years ago).

Roslyn Rice said...

Every since my mom gave me my first diary as a teenager. I instantly knew that being able to express myself through words was powerful.

Roslyn
http://doubleportioninspiration.blogspot.com/

wry wryter said...

I know the exact minute, day and time.
Monday, November 25, 1963.

On the previous Friday President Kennedy was assassinated. For the first time in history the entire nation was literally riveted to our TV screens watching the tragedy play out. My mother and I cried the entire weekend. Late Sunday night I took out my loose-leaf and wrote about what I was feeling. When I look back I realize, as a nation, we had been raped of our innocence. It was an awful time, beyond heartbreaking.
I wrote about that weekend and then took my short one page essay to school to show my English teacher. Before first period English, at 8:30 am I showed it to the kid sitting next to me. He was a football player. He cried when he handed it back to me.
“It’s good he said, its real good.”
My English teacher, also the football coach, read it to the class. He had to stop half way through because he was crying. When he finished he told me I must ‘always’ write.

That minute, that day, I became a writer.

I am a lousy speller, my punctuation sucks, but I’ve had over sixty essays published. I’m sorry this post is so long but I haven’t thought about that time, in a long time. How sad it is that such terrible event opened my heart to the wonderful world of writing.
Well…now you all know how old I am.

Lucinda Bilya said...

A long long long long time ago, in a far far far far away land.

It was about the seventh grade when I wrote my first poem and short story (very very short). Writing filled my imagination with wonder. However, the world was a dark dark dark dark place until I entered the Twilight Zone where I saw the dawn.

Years of daydreaming of adventures and places near Never-Never Land, I ran away. For half a century, I ran and ran and ran until there was no place else to run.

Sipping on a cup of coffee while staring out a window at the world waking up, I eased up to a computer and vanished into cyberland where there are no boundaries to my running.

Now, some of my adventures are recorded memories and others belong to the fiction characters I create.

Pretty much all of my life, the desire to write has possessed me, but until eight years ago, the tree failed to produce fruit.

Now it seems the tree is in all seasons at the same time.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

When I drew a person with arms coming out of the head, I knew illustrating was clearly not in my future.

Scarlet Passmore said...

When I was about three or four years old, I started teaching myself to read (with a bit of help from mom and dad, but mostly myself). Since then, I was an avid reader, reading anything so long as it had words. Then came a fourth grade Halloween assignment. Everyone was to write a little short story, a page or so, about Halloween. There weren't any rules, so I wrote a story by hand and turned it in. The teacher read it, and during a parent-teacher conference, told my mother and I that she loved it and encouraged to me to write more, even write a book! I have been writing ever since, and hope to soon find an agent for my first completed and edited work. If I do get published, I hope to find that teacher again (she no longer works at that school) and ask for permission to dedicate my first book to her. Because if it wasn't for her, I might never have taken up the pen and started writing.

britney fitzgerald said...

My moment was definitely a trigger moment...

Here was my "Bold Statement" to the world:

http://thewhy-britfit.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-statement.html

Marion said...

You call that late, Nathan? In your twenties? LOL! I'm just finding out in my fifties that the only thing I'm REALLY good at is writing.
My best friend senior year high school did go to study journalism, so I gave that some thought. But I thought I wouldn't be able to write to a deadline.
Many years ago, I made a disastrous attempt at a romance novel--never anywhere near finished.
But now, since over 10 years ago, I have something to write about. Actual historical people have started to fascinate me--real poor schmucks, just like the rest of us!
So now I have research to keep me off the streets, a blog to keep me journalism-ing, & all sorts of multiple personalities to live in to keep me certifiably crazy.
I guess that's cool. (Even more cool would be if it would turn into a paying gig.)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Wow, Nathan. If you came to the writing game late at 25, then at 31, I didn't arrive until the chips had all been cashed and there was nothing left on the table but a couple of cigar butts smoking in a dirty ashtray.

The signs have been there my whole life: I devoured books as a kid, always asked hard questions, wrote stories, and reaped praise from all my teachers, from the time I was in elementary school. For a while I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but it seemed too dangerous to my 12-year-old mind. My family all thought I was going to be a writer. So did my extended family. It was what everybody said, from third grade onward. But I took another path toward storytelling, and majored in dance and theatre in college. I still want to work as an actor, but I also want to write. It took having kids of my own to make me realize that writing for kids was what I really felt I needed to do.

Marion said...

Plus I read somewhere that Daniel Defoe wrote or published his first novel when he was in his 60s. Which at the time still seemed to me a somewhat remote age. So there's a precedent!
My secret comment code word is unalize. Sort of a portmanteau (Lewis Carroll style) word for analyze and anal-ize, I guess. Maybe self-analysis--the letter "u" at the beginning being shorthand for "you".

Carolyn Arnold said...

When I was a teenager, I used to write short romance novels. I even contacted Harlequin to get their submission requirements.

But, as life when on, things became busier, and writing got left behind. It wasn't until about 4 yrs ago now (then 13 yrs later from the last time I wrote)that I rediscovered my passion for it, and completed my first full-length novel. Now, I've written 6, and am well into my 7th.

David R. Matteri said...

I've been writing things as far back as I can remember. When I was real little, maybe four or five years old, I wrote a science fiction epic on my grandmother's old electric typewriter (in reality it was just a page and half of Wing Commander fan fiction).

It wasn't until High School when I realized that I wouldn't be happy unless I was writing. So I wrote every chance I got.

In my Junior year I wrote a short story for a contest held by the PTSA and was awarded with a plaque (Honorable Mention). I was in my music class when a lady came over and asked me to go to the cafeteria to receive the award. Everyone looked at me in surprise.
"What did you do?" Someone asked. "I wrote a short story."
The room got real quiet as if I had took out my intestines and wore them as a hat.

During the Halloween of my Senior year, I wrote a short creeper of a tale for a contest held by the local library. My story was one of the three winning entries. My prizes were a book of classic scary stories, a bag of candy, and a chance to hang out with other kids at a Halloween party. That night is one of the best memories I have of High School.

Karen Peterson said...

Writing was never something I decided. It was just something I did. I was always the kid tucked away in a corner with a pencil and a notepad, writing stories while everyone else was having a different kind of fun.

Marie Ohanesian Nardin said...

High School in the mid '70's. I had a great English teacher and when she placed the needle on Simon & Garfunkel's record "Sounds of Silence" (yes, I come from the era of those antique round black things that spin round and round)music became literature, and I was hooked. However, life and a really bad experience with a college Creative Writing Professor got in the way and it wasn't until I put my career aside, and my children off to college, that I gathered my life experiences and sat down to write my first novel "Beneath the Lion's Wings". It's now complete and in the querying stage.

J.C. Martin said...

When I was 8 or 9, I wrote and drew a comic book series with cartoonised versions of our pet dogs as stars. When I was 14, I wrote a full-length novel, by hand, in a ruled notebook, HATED it, and gave it away to a friend. In the last few years I've been writing lots of short stories and fanfiction, but it's only been in the last year or so that I felt I really had a story I wanted to share...let's just hope the world is willing to accept it!

Elie said...

I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer.
But I didn't know I wanted to write for children until I had a child myself, though looking back, all the signposts were there.
I find it strange when someone who never wanted to write (eg a celebrity) rolls out of bed one day, decides to write a novel and gets published too.
I always saw writing as a vocation, and thought that being a writer is essentially who you are, not just a career choice you make.

CageFightingBlogger said...

I was reading Roald Dahl at a very young age an thinking- I could do this. Dahl taught me 1) how to tell a story and 2) ALWAYS question the authorities.

Gamer Girl said...

I've found the stories I wrote in first and second grade. I stayed in from recess to write an alphabet book in the school library in first grade. My first completed book. LOL!

I've always written. I wrote compulsively in High School. I write now. Writing for publication? That started in HS too.

J. R. McLemore said...

It seems like most comments indicate the poster knew they wanted to be writers very early on.

I wish that was the case with me as I feel that I started very late. I'm 39 and I only started writing six years ago. I didn't even read much for entertainment at the time. One day, I took to Barnes & Noble on my work lunch break. I picked up a Stephen King book to read and fell in love with what he had created. I wanted the ability to create the same kind of worlds and excitement that he allowed me to experience.

That is how I became a writer. I became a computer programmer in a similar fashion. After playing Doom when it first came out, I wanted to program similar games, so I learned how to program computers. I've been programming for 15 years, although I've never written any games.

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to be a writer and have written short stories to amuse myself, since the age of eight. But I only started to get down to the serious business in the last three years and I'm now dedicating all my time to writing novels, although as yet I'm unpublished. I've probably left it too late to hit the big time, as I'll be 53Years old on my next birthday. But I console myself with the fact that I really enjoy what I'm doing and when it comes down to it,that's what's important to me.

Kathryn Magendie said...

When I thought I wanted to be a writer versus when I actually became one has such a span of years I can't really put a number on the originating thought. So, really, my Writing Life didn't begin until my late forties.

KH said...

I have played around with writing my whole life, but never took it seriously until a few years ago. I was a matter of self-confidence. Even so, it took me six months to get up the nerve to submit my first "real" manuscript for publication, and it was accepted!

Ray Anderson said...

After I read "Tom Sawyer" ( I was about 13), I had the itch to write a similar outdoors/boyhood type of novel. I wrote it with pencil on reams of 6X8 unruled math paper. I knew then that I would always write--no matter what.

7legs said...

For as long as I can remember. Congrats re Jacob Wonderbar!

AndreaDaleTTP said...

After successfully writing and recording two filk/folk music CDs, when I realized that I wanted to write about some things in paragraph versus song form.

J. M. said...

I was 8 years old and I realized people wrote stories for a living. Then, in my sophomore year of college, after trying "practical" majors that only bored me, I became a Creative Writing major. So it's write or die from now on out XD.

kaycamden said...

I was at work one day, working. The first line of my WIP, in my protag's voice, just hit me. And wouldn't go away.

Five years ago if someone had told me I'd be writing novels I would have never believed them. I wish I could say I've been doing it my whole life like most of you!

Lisa R. said...

When I was about 10 years old. I wanted desperately to be an astronaut and kept writing poems about it. I remember one day, I was writing a poem about becoming an astronaut and I had this realization that writing was the thing I really wanted to do--I mean where else were all these poems coming from? So I ditched my astronaut and started writing books. I wrote my first novel at 11.

Emily Wenstrom said...

I’m told I made up some pretty crazy stories for my dolls and toys as a kid. In high school, I was determined I would one day exact vengeance against my parents in a no-mercy all-wrongs-exposed memoir. But somehow that didn’t translated into “I will be a writer.” Even when I finally landed on an English major, I thought I’d be an editor, not a writer. I didn’t think I had actual content in me worth sharing. Then I grabbed an internship at a local magazine where I was forced to write. I found that I not only was capable of it, but I also really enjoyed it!

Michelle said...

The funny thing for me is that I started writing when I was six years old and have written SO many things in the span of 40 odd years, but KNOWING that writing was what I was meant to do as my thing in life didn't come until recently. All the signs were there but the epiphany that this was what I was meant to do came late for me. But I also think it happened that way for a reason because that span in between allowed me to experiment and go after great experiences that I believe have strengthened my writing ability and my perception of things around me. It's the way it was meant to happen and I'm grateful for it.

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