I don’t remember having a specific moment in life where I decided, “Hm, I think I’d like to be a writer.” I just remember writing, all the time, even before I could form letters. Eventually, I had notebooks full of crappy, half-page stories, and even crappier poems.
I do, however, remember the first real short story I ever wrote: “The Secret of the Crystal.” It was magnificent. It was typed. It was twelve pages long. I’ve never been so proud of a piece of writing in my life.
I still remember sitting at that old computer, inserting my floppy disk, and using DOS to open WordPerfect. I lovingly tweaked the background until the garish colors matched my creativity. I reread the newspaper article I had cut out that morning, fascinated by the story of a missing hiker who had been found with no memory of how she’d gotten lost. I cracked my knuckles, legs dangling from my chair, and began to type a story about a crystal necklace that allowed aliens to control my character’s thoughts, eventually leading her to the mountains to be abducted.
It was brilliant. I was a genius. The world would be awed by my astute 11-year-old mind. The wild praise of my parents was proof of that. From that moment on, I was determined. One day, I would be published and famous and win awards and earn barrels of money. I figured, if I worked hard, I could make it happen by the time I was sixteen.
Of course, I’m now ten years past that deadline. There are no more floppy disks, no more DOS, and no more neon-colored computer backgrounds. There are still newspaper clippings and the joy of creation, along with a lot more work and a lot more reality. Occasionally I still allow myself to look at a paragraph– sometimes even a scene– and determine it’s good.
But I still like to look back at my eleven-year-old self through my writing. Sometimes it helps to remember the idealism, and the innocence, that started this whole writing thing. It’s good to hear my childish voice reminding me that I really can do what I’ve always dreamed of.
Do you have a moment that you feel started your path as a writer? Let’s hear it!