Life Log, Writing

When Did I Decide I Would Become a Writer?

I invited blog readers to post questions that I would do my best to answer in this post. Kenneth asks:

I’m sure you’ve covered this at some time, but when did you “decide” you wanted to be a writer? I know you read a lot growing up”¦was it something you just came naturally to, or was there a conscious epiphany that you were going to be a writer? What’s your degree in?

I’d been writing occasionally for fun. Teachers and friends would occasionally ask why I would do so well writing fiction, and if I was interested in being a writer. I was about 15 when the idea that I would like to become published, or be a writer, started to firm up into something much stronger. I remember standing on a dock explaining this to a family friend, that of all my future options it seemed the most exciting to me. I took creative writing in high school, and the high school newspaper took one of my stories. I wasn’t sure what I was doing for the next couple years, but I began to buy a lot of books about writing and writers from 15-17, and that was when the submitting started in drips and drabs.

When I entered college at 17 I knew I was going to be an English major, but by my sophomore year I realized that being in those classes were not going to teach me how one went about actually becoming a writer. I started spending a lot of time on internet forums trying to figure it all out.

While 15 was the year I kind of crystalized the idea, 18 was when I lay down the roadmap and kick started the whole process. I saved up and purchased a laptop. I taught myself to touch-type. I decided I would garner 100+ rejections a year and write every weekday. My grades dropped from Bs and occasional As to Cs & Ds as I skipped classes staying up late working every night. My Junior year I cut friendships and social circles out of my life that took up time and maintenance and focused only on a few core friends and writing.

I attended Clarion that summer, at 19, and since then things have been rolling.

4 thoughts on “When Did I Decide I Would Become a Writer?”

  1. Wow, I was writing very bad love poetry and decent plays in HS, got a Creative Writing minor in college ’cause I really liked it. Wrote things off an on, mostly non-fiction, but it was only when this one story wouldn’t let me go I realized I needed to by a published writer and had to get good at it. That was at 33, seven years-ago.
    BTW, at Confluence, before you came into the Alpha Panel, they talked about you showing up at Clarion. Interesting story, but I’ll let you tell it.

  2. Yeah, you weren’t entirely antisocial that year 😉 My hours tend to work well with your writing schedule, though.

  3. I was around 18 when the bug started to hit me, but I fought it off until a few years into my thirties. Time passing has a way of mellowing some of those ideas until they’re ready to come out.

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