Friday, August 05, 2011

WrAHM: The Day I Became a Writer

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I've fancied myself a writer most of my life.  I was the child eager to to write short stories in English class.  In 6th grade, my teacher confiscated a working manuscript where I was writing a fictional future for all the kids in my class.  Each of them had told me how they imagined they would look, who would still be couples, what they would wear.  Kids peered over my shoulder to giggle and whisper suggestions to me as I wrote.  A better teacher might have encouraged this, but we attended a small parochial school and apparently even the suggestion of speculative fiction was shocking.  I talked my way out of a yellow slip, which would be sent home to inform my parents of my horrible behavior, and the book was tucked safely away from all of us.  Looking back, it was my first censorship experience.  After I was less forthcoming with my work.  In 9th grade I wrote a story about psychic vampires for English.  It was 10 whole pages typed on a real typewriter, and I received an A+++.

And then nothing.  I took a detour into theatre where I learned about building a character.  I wrote out detailed histories of everyone I played.  Taking extensive notes on how I might say something.  I studied great actors, especially from the British stage.  I started to learn about people.

In college, I opted to return to literature and psychology and the study of characters and human nature.  I planned to continue acting, but I wanted a fall-back.  And then a boy came along and well, you're writers, you know the rest.  I majored in English and minored in Psych.  I went to grad school because I wanted to write a book and I imagined that I would have oodles of time to accomplish this.  I wrote about 80 pages over the course of three years.

I announced to my mother that I would write a book before I had a baby, and she gave me that knowing look, the one that says yeah right, and told me I better get started.

Throughout my life I've written snippets of books and abandoned most of them.  Others were lost in computer crashes. Some are simply a few handwritten pages.  I'm always working on a book. Last year I wrote one.

And then one day I stopped wanting to be a writer, and I became one.  I made writing a priority.  I still felt selfish, but I decided it was better than feeling unfulfilled.  And bit by bit, I wrote a book.

And you can too.


  1. I love that you have such a definitive moment- most writers don't! Mine was an endless string of school, classes and novels on the side. :)

  2. Beautiful post! I agree that if you want to be a writer, you HAVE to make writing a priority. And btw, I majored in Psychology and wanted to minor in English! Now I'm an English grad student. Writing won in the end :)

  3. Lovely post, makes me want to try some day no matter how my mum looks at me xD

  4. I can relate! I've always wanted to be a writer, yet feel like I'm not one. Of course I know you are born a writer, it's something you can't escape. I wrote a book in middle school with a friend, we took turns writing chapters. At lunch, all the kids we knew would crowd around us at the round table and take turns reading what was last written, wanting to get caught up on our little murder mystery. What a thrill! Now, I'm lucky if I can get out a page here and there, drinking my coffee, trying to keep my kids from biting each other.
    But thank you for saying this - what an inspiration! I've got to keep on trucking...

  5. Hi Gennifer, I always love your posts--especially the words of encouragement for fellow writing moms. I have an award for you over at my blog. Stop by to claim it! :)