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. 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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