One of the most asked questions of a writer is “When did you first know you wanted to be a one?” For the longest time, my answer made me feel a little embarrassed. I didn’t know I wanted to write until a few years ago. I didn’t write as a child…at least not anything anyone thought was good. I wrote the typical short story project in high school and it was easy to write, but somehow didn’t measure up to my standards. I got good grades, but my friends’ stories were so much stronger. I wrote many things for my English classes in college…but my stories were often dry and flat.
So when a story struck me two years ago, I seriously thought I’d be crazy to write it down. Now that I’ve written four books in those two years, and have managed to pump up the story lines while finding my voice, I realized I’ve been a storyteller all along.
No, I’ve never published in journals or anthologies or have stacks of childhood journals stocked away.
I played Barbies. And I played hardcore; all hours of the night, long after my friends were tired of the same ole story lines. Barbie play always started the same–at least in my world. Barbie had an awesome life with an awesome two-story house and an awesome pink convertible (who could ask for more???)…but something was missing. Her other-half (whom was never named Ken, fyi) would come around either as a gardener, new neighbor, cabin checker on the Barbie Cruise, etc, etc, corny etc.
They’d fall in love at first sight. They’d be swept away into dances, dates, dinners, first handholds, first kisses, marriage and children. I’d create their happily ever after, just to sit back and smile…then do it all over again the next night.
Looking back at those stories I created, I don’t think it’s such a stretch that I’ve become a writer. I simply didn’t have the tools at the time (or the confidence) to put the words to paper.
And now as I sit back and watch my daughter LOVE Barbies, I can’t help but smile.
Not all story tellers start the same. Not everyone’s journey leads them from logical point A to logical point B. Sometimes the greatest stories are developed between two friends dressing up Barbie for the ball well past midnight.
Tuns out I was a story teller all along…just not the “typical”. What about you? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Was it something you always knew? Or was it something you recently discovered?