Are writers just born that way or do you have to BECOME a writer? I’m not sure. I know I have always enjoyed writing. I entered a lot of essay contests in school and won most of them. I once entered a national writing contest through DAR (Daughters of American Revolution?) in elementary school and scored a Bronze medal for writing an essay about George Washington. I usually earned all the bling you can earn in school for being the top student in English class and all that. Does that make me a writer? I don’t know – I’m not published anywhere.
To become a writer some say you must be a better reader. From the time I could read I was a voracious consumer of books. In my itty bitty rural elementary school, if you read x number of books you would “win” a Scholastic poster of some cute kitten saying “Hang in There” or some silly thing. I acted like I was trying to win the lottery. If the number of books to win that poster was 20 I would read 100. I was not competitive, I just naturally read a whole lot of books. Once I earned 5 posters though, the teacher asked that maybe I could back off so some other kids could earn them too. LOL fair enough.
My elementary school’s librarian let me check out 10 books at a time instead of the 3 everyone else was limited to because she knew I would read them all. The very first time she asked me about each book because she did not believe I was reading them all. After that I was her favorite “patron”. She introduced me to the Nancy Drew series and I read every.single.volume. I tried reading the Hardy Boys but thought they were stupid. I read them all anyway just to prove the books were not as good. By the time I finished Grade 5 I had read EVERY book of fiction our little library owned. I read as much nonfiction as I could but never really liked it much.
The county public library also knew me well. My mother would drop me off at the library while she did her shopping so she could be rid of me for a couple of hours. At first I got glares and looks as I took a pile of books to a corner and read them quietly. I didn’t know you could get a library card so I would return everything when it was time to go home. One day the head librarian asked if I had a card and I shook my head silently. She said to ask my mom to come in. Of course mom did not. Mom only wanted to know if I had caused any trouble. I told Daddy about it and one day after work, he stopped by as he knew every single person in the county and asked them what was up. When they explained that I should get a library card, he signed me up and brought it home that day.
I was in HEAVEN for the next few weeks as I checked out book after book. Because I came by so often, they told me I could check out as many as I could carry. I would fill my book bag full of horror short story anthologies – my passion in grade 7 and 8. Do you remember those? They had really average titles like 50 Great Horror Stories or Anthology of Terror or some such nonsense. I didn’t care if they were good or bad I absorbed them. My dad had introduced me to Stephen King so I was a huge fan of spooky, scary stories.
I also got into more nonfiction during my middle school years. I read a lot of science books about space and time which naturally lead me to discover science fiction books. Holy moly there was a treasure trove of those! I discovered Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, J. G. Ballard, Madeleine L’Engle, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert. . . I could go on and on. I was not as enamored by fantasy books but science fiction really let me go beyond the harsh realities of my life and escape to places where the impossible was indeed possible.
I liked reading and writing so much I became a high school English teacher. BIG.MISTAKE. I found myself reading terrible writing of students (bless their hearts), non fiction articles about teaching and very few new books. I think the 7 years of being a teacher really took the wind out of my love of reading. They say NOT to get a job that is your passion lest this should happen to you.
So now I read a lot less but I write a lot more. Writing this blog has really helped my creative juices flow. I have always been encouraged to blog but it was so foreign to me. It took my best friend simply saying, “let’s do it” before I jumped in. I also took an online writing course years ago and it was kind of helpful. I have several books that I have worked on so I am hoping blogging will encourage me to finish those and finally publish them. When I do, I hope you will become fans!