When Did You Know You Wanted to be a Writer?

 

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“I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.”
P.G. Wodehouse

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From as far back as I can remember, I was a storyteller.  Before I learned to write, I told stories to my dolls and stuffed animals.  I made up songs and sang to them.  They were always entertained, as was I.  These were private stores between just me and my dolls, as I never trusted anyone enough to share my stories/songs with them.

My bio-father heard me in my room talking once and walked down the hall to ask me, “Who are you talking to?”  He sat down on my bed and I felt his eyes burning into my head.

I was deathly afraid of him, as he was never a kind man, to put it nicely.  This was the one and only time in my life he ever showed any interest in me or what I was doing.  “My dolls,” I said with a whisper, because my fear always stole my voice, as I stared at the floor.

“Will you tell me what you were saying?  Were you singing?”

I just sat there, speechless.  Hairs stood on end on the back of my neck and my skin already hurt as I braced myself for what most likely would come next.  He got up from the bed, cussed me, and not too loudly, for once, as he walked away.  Thank GOD!  That was on a good day.

We’d visit my grandparents who lived a state away (where I live now) and they had this awesome magical antique typewriter.  Of course, I didn’t know my letters, yet, but when I henpecked those keys, a magical world opened up to me.  I realized, one day, I’d be able to write down my stories through a treasure like this.  The sound those keys made was sheer bliss.  I cannot even describe how beautiful and melodic the music those keys played.  Still, it’s one of the most angelic musical instruments I’ve ever heard singing in my ears.  I realize it’s not classified as a musical instrument but it should be.

I miss that old Royal.  I don’t know what ever happened to it.  Mama says we (my brother and I) ruined it by clicking too many of the keys together and they stuck.  I have no memory of ever doing this.  I loved that typewriter!  The instrument was broken and had to be thrown out like garbage.  If it were me, I would have buried it like the beloved friend it was.  I would have held a funeral service and told it how it would be missed, how much I desperately loved it.  I would have wept.

I finally learned how to write and make words and it opened another magical portal in my world.  But, my imagination, of course, grew leaps and bounds as I grew older and I’m afraid I was always in trouble at school for daydreaming.  Every single one of my report cards carries the words, “Carol is a bright girl, filled with a great imagination.  She just needs to stop daydreaming and participate in class.”  Yes, I was never really in class.  I was creating worlds.  I was a super hero, saving kids from certain doom, slaying dragons and battling scary harry monsters that lurked in the night.  It was my escape, you see.  It was the one place I was safe.  Safe from the wretched nearly murderous fingers of my bio-father.  Safe from the bruises.  Safe from the sleepy boredom of those monotone teachers who lacked inspiration, though I can offer up one or two that were inspired and fueled my imagination.  Even encouraged me, believe it or not.

The imagination is an awesome thing, isn’t it?  You can fly.  You can perform magic.  You can create worlds, languages, characters, creatures and situations.  The only limit is your own imagination, if you put limits on it.

So tell me, when did you become a writer and/or imagineer?

Camp Nano Washed Out

Well, technically, Camp didn’t wash out.  I did.  It’s not for a lack of trying, mind you.  I’ve had much on my plate with work, with running after Hallie and helping her (post-surgery), running after the animals, mowing and working in the yard, cooking, cleaning, washing, going to and fro physical therapy and the list goes on.

I did manage to scribble roughly 5,000 words, not quite reaching the goal I’d set for myself of 10,000.  BUT!  I am still squeezing in time to write, even if it’s for a measly 15-30 minutes a day.  Hey, something is better than nothing, right?  Right.

I sort of messed myself up a bit to be honest.  I started back on my work of non-fiction that I started in October of last year and it’s like I had to force myself and found it to be more of a chore than fun.  I cannot write like that.  It has to be fun.  Don’t misunderstand.  Sometimes you have to glue your butt to the chair or couch or bed or porch swing or wherever it is you want to write and actually put in the time to write.  Something.  Anything.  Just to get yourself started.

Write the voices that are talking (screaming) in your head

But to sit there in angst with 100 other thoughts running through your head of what you need or want to be doing rather than having the want to sit there and write.  Well…  I cannot write like that.  It has to be fun.  After you sit there and force yourself to write, if the imagination and words are not flowing by the end of the first 30 minutes, it’s not worth it.  So I pulled away and thought to myself, “Self, while I realize finishing this book is important, you have all these voices in your head screaming at you to work on their story.  How can you focus on something completely opposite when you have your fantastical characters screaming at you to write their story?  Writing is writing.  As long as you are writing, you’re getting the job done.  But you need to listen to those voices in your head.  Listen to them.  Write their story.”

Then, I had a dream, woke up at 0:dark:30 after the dream, couldn’t go back to sleep, got up out of bed and wrote.  It was an epiphany.  I have started books 1 and 2 in a series and this dream was the story before book 1.  A new twist!  Sort of like The Hobbit movie coming out after all the Lord of the Rings movies.  It’s the back story before the story.  So, I have to say, I was a bit psyched to get up oh so early to write out everything I could remember from the dream.  And it’s funny.  The more time I spent writing it, the more details sprang up and I started remembering more of the dream, the colors, the sounds in the background, the smells, the rooms and changing environments, the action, the drama, what the characters where saying and how they were saying them.  Writing is such a wonderful trip!!  Hearing, seeing, feeling and smelling the story in your mind and writing it out is like biting into a juicy sweet peach, breathing in that heavenly fresh summery fragrance, and having the nectar drip and run down your chin and arm while savoring every last delicious bite.

If you write at all, then be proud

If you did not reach your goal for Camp Nano, don’t beat yourself up about it.  If it got you started writing and you continue every day to write, then be proud.  The real goal here is to write, to create, to spill your soul or imagination or dreams onto paper or laptop or whatever the tool is of your choosing.  But to write.  That is the goal.  So do that.  And be pleased with yourself.  Someone said once, ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.’  And that is a very true statement.  The journey is the fun part, the adventure and, sometimes, the distraction from real every day life.  It’s my means of escape, though I don’t escape for long, as I love my life and the people in it.  Still, a little mini-mental-vacation is always welcome.  To imagine worlds and stories in your mind — those are some of the best vacation adventures.

So, maybe I didn’t wash out.  I started.  I wrote.  I’m writing daily.  And I will finish it eventually.  And so will you.

And if you did reach your goal for Camp, I applaud you!!  And if you didn’t reach your goal, and, still, you wrote, I applaud you, as well!  Wooooo-hooooo!!!  *clap*clap*clap*clap*wolf whistle*  Whoop!  Whoop!!