Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Knew I Wanted To Be A Writer When....

Photo courtesy of Vintage Little People.

When I was a kid, I used to play with the Fisher Price Little People with my sister. I'd think up a whole plot (kind of like a synopsis) and then I'd act the story out with the people. My sister loved playing with the Little People with me because she loved my stories!

When I was about ten years old, I wrote a book entitled Candyland. It was about a set of twins named Fred and Susan and they find this magical land where everything was made of big, yummy candy! I made my own book cover - a piece of paper colored with purple crayon and the words Candyland were colored with red crayon.

I used to tell people that I didn't realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was twenty-eight. However, as I look back on my life, there are certain things that I've done that indicate that I really should've discovered my writing passion way before my late twenties. I've always been an avid reader, too, which can sometimes indicate that one is a writer.

Are you a writer? If so, are there writer-type things that you've done throughout your life? Share your answers with us at Writers' Rest!

All of us at Writers' Rest would like to wish everybody a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

25 comments:

Susan M. Baganz said...

I've always loved reading and have written in journals - prayers, poems etc. I enjoyed writing papers in school and giving creative speeches. My writing got me through grad school and was instrumental in my work as I would compile people's histories and see their story.

For 15+ years though, I had a story in my head that I was afraid to start writing. Friends encouraged me. One even bought me an out of print book that was a resource for the historical fiction genre I wanted to write in. And yet - pen to paper - fear overwhelmed and I didn't get far.

Last year I had a dream in October that I should do NaNoWriMo. I talked back to God about that "What? Me? three kids? Ministry? And I'm suppposed to write a 50K word novel in 30 days of November?" But I figured - why not try? I had the story in my head! So I signed up and went to write on November 1 and 17 days later I was finished with my tale at 110,000 words. (I got so lost in my work that one day I forgot to pick up my kids from school. My wise 7 year old told me to set a timer! LOL!) Then I set it aside,again afraid. I revised after a few months and printed it out and gave it to five people to read. People I knew would be honest about it. They read it. They loved it and one turned out to be an amazing editor for me. My next revision (with all her hundreds of questions and comments) was a huge improvement. The best thing about it all - from writing the first draft to doing every revision - I have LOVED every minute! I wrote another book this summer - just because the story wanted to be told - again 84,000 words in 13 days! I finished my curent NaNo novel in 22days (60K) and was sad to be done -it will get fleshed out more. It is the second of a series based on the first one I wrote!

I'm not published yet. I'm also working on a nonfiction book and amazed at the affirmation and cheering I get from people around me (nf is hard to write!). In God's time maybe I'll get published - but I already know that through what I am doing and my blogs - God is using my writing. And I'm still enjoying the ride!

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Amazing, Susan! We're glad you stopped by Writers' Rest and shared your writing journey with us! While I was growing up, I loved reading novels. I don't particularly recall enjoying writing papers - I just loved reading fiction. I'd mentioned writing the book Candyland, but I didn't really pen very many stories! I did have a similiar experience as you, though. When I was in my early twenties, before I admitted that I would seek publication at twenty-eight, I told a good friend of mine that I wanted to write a book, but the whole task seemed so daunting and monumental...I'd been reading such great books my entire life and now, how in the world could I even make my work as good as those great books I'd been reading? It took a few years for me to take the bull by the horns and just start writing! The entire publication journey took me about five and a half years, but it was worth it! :-)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Cecilia,

I've wanted to write since I was a child. Like you and Susan, I always loved reading. My mother was an avid reader as well. I had a huge imagination and started writing stories as soon as I learned to hold a pencil. In elementary school, I entered essay contests and won several. It was very encouraging.

Jacqueline Seewald
STACY'S SONG, new coming-of-age novel from L&L Dreamspell
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS, new adult historical romance Five Star/Gale

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Jacqueline, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don't recall seeing my parents read books very much. We had them around the house, and I saw them reading occasionally, but not as much as I read.
Did I imagine stories when I was a child? I believe I did, a little bit. Once I fantasized about myself being in a rock band! LOL! I'm not sure if that is necessarily imagining a story, but I thought about it often! LOL! The only story I remember actually writing is the Candyland story - it's possible that I did others and just can't recall them yet. If I do remember, I'll be sure to post in the comments!

Katy King said...

I had a dream about writing a book when I was 11, and I woke up and said, "I can do that!" So I started hand-writing a novel called "Red Stallion of Arabian Desserts." Everybody died in the end, because that was the best way I knew of to resolve the conflicts. Fortunately, I discovered romance and started letting everybody live.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Oh my goodness, Katy! Everybody died at the end and you were only eleven years old when you wrote this? It's a good thing you did discover romance! :-)

Anonymous said...

I never saw "candyland"- do you/did you keep it? I remember dressing up the little people, because the simplicity of their forms didnt always do the trick for me. You must remember the bridal "epidodes" where I took one single square of white toilet tissue(think they were always white then)and a small rubberband and make a bridal veil for the bride(s) for our ceremonies. I also remember, much less often, trying to find different colored paper to wrap around a little person to change their clothing color, but it has hard because the paper wasnt as flexible as the tissue and it was too difficult to get it to stay in place!
- Raquel Stallworth

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Raquel (my sister), thanks for commenting! Yes, I recall your making the costumes for the Little People! Blog readers, when I used to think up stories to act out with the Little People for my sister Joanna, my other sister would occasionally make costumes for the people (showing her artistic side).
It should've been an indication that I'd be a romance author someday...a lot of my plots ended with a wedding, and Raquel would dress up the people in a bridal veil - bridal veil was made up of toilet paper and rubber bands! LOL!
Raquel, I don't have Candyland anymore. You just don't remember it. I read it out loud to Alex Myers one day. We were sitting in those lawn chairs on our grass-free yard and you were inside making deviled eggs. Alex didn't care for the deviled eggs...

Jemi Fraser said...

I've always been a reader. I always liked picking apart stories too and seeing what made them click. I loved seeing how early I could figure out those Scooby Doo episodes! :)

Anna said...

I think that an encouragment from a really good writer who said that she loved the way I expressed myself pushed me towards writing. Then I looked back and remembered that teachers loved the stories I have made. I engaged them and friends who read them.
I love to dream and think a lot, so I am giving it a try.
I have not published anything yet. It may be a long way to go. I am writing historical fiction and doing research. But I enjoy every minute of it.

Kim said...

During my childhood, I can recall seeing my mother reading book after book. In fact,she had this beautiful bookshelf with glass doors that opened in the front; it was filled with numerous books that had a lot of words and no pictures on the inside, but they had colorful pictures on the outside. Through my eyes, it was like a treasure chest. I wanted to read what mommy read. I wanted to partake of that which brought her pleasure. She seemed to enjoy her special treasure so much.
I remember going into her room and sitting in front of that bookshelf. I would pick up The Golden Girl and stroke the blue and gold cover, all the while chanting in child-like wonder about one day getting a chance to read it and all the other books. I got my chance, of course, and from that moment I was hooked on a love for words. Books, yes. Writing, yes! Creating new worlds, new relationships, new truths, new... I'm sure you get the picture.:-)

Thank you for the question and for this wonderful place of respite for writers. I look forward to resting for a spell.

Blessings to you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Kim

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Jemi, I was just watching an old Scooby Doo episode with my child last weekend on the ON DEMAND BOOMERANG cable channel. He got scared...but I explained to him that I used to watch those things while growing up, that episode was made back in 1968!! LOL!! Yes, it is fun to pick through the episode, to pick through stories, to see what makes them tick - great to figure out who done it!

Anna, before I started writing, a few people told me that I was really good with details and that I'd probably be a good writer? Had I ever thought of writing a book, they'd asked! So, that's a sign of a writer, too. Hope your book turns out wonderful!

Kim, that glass bookcase sounds wonderful! I'm sure those beautiful books turned out to be treasures full of enjoyment for you!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Two fourth grade teachers told me I had writing talent. I was a kid. I believed them. Could a teacher lie?
Love,
Molly

Maurice Gray said...

My mother was an avid reader, and she passed that love on to me and my sister. I was reading when I was 3 or 4, and that translated to writing. I was that "weird" kid who liked writing book reports. One of my best friends and I used to write comic books together (with perhaps the WORST art ever- two wordsmiths with limited artistic skill doesn't make for great visuals :-).

I got into keeping a journal fairly young, but I wasn't consistent with it until after college. I thought I was going to be a newspaper reporter, but an internship taught me that I needed to write in other ways. I had the idea that ultimately became my first novel To Whom Much Is Given after I graduated U of Delaware. I thought it was going to be a short story but then I couldn't stop writing! It took me ten years to get it from idea to bound book, but I haven't looked back since.

I've got over a dozen ideas for new novels in computer files, and more ideas keep showing up! I'll have to learn to write faster or live to be 200 years old to get them all in print :-).

Debby Lee said...

Hi Cecelia, when I was in elementary school, one of my teachers drew huge posters of adorable characters and such. Students had the opportunity to win posters by writing stories. Only the writers with the best stories got to go forward and pick out a poster. If I remember correctly, I won my fair share. Thanks for the opportunity to post, wishing you all the best, Debby Lee

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Molly and Debby Lee, no, teachers wouldn't lie! :-) I'm sure they were able to scope out your papers to look at that amazing talent!

Maurice, thanks for visiting Writers' Rest and we appreciate your commenting...Did you know that author Stephen King used to write and illustrate comic book stories when he was a young kid? If memory serves me correctly, he started doing this when he was out of school, sick with some kind of ailment? I believe he talks about this in his book: On Writing.
I, too, have tons of story ideas and I might use your file-keeping suggestion. Most of my ideas I keep in my head, I should probably keep a file of ideas as they come to me! Like you, I doubt I'll have enough time to write all those books, but I can certainly dream about doing it and try my best to focus on one idea at a time! :-)

Teresa Slack said...

Every Saturday when I was a kid I would tell myself stories while push mowing our rather large yard. I wrote stories during classes in a notebook hidden behind my textbook and would pass them around for my friends to read. I was constantly on deadline in those days.

I also made comic type stories, they were usually soap opera spoofs, the easiest type story to write, IMO. I had no artistic talent, but my friends couldn't wait for each new episode. They always told me I would be a writer. Maybe if they were hanging over my shoulder now the way they did then, I would get more written.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Teresa, that's so cool that your classmates were eager to hear your stories! Did you read Maurice Gray's comment? He wrote comic strips too, and he also commented about his lack of artistic talent!

Debby Mayne said...

The most "writerly" thing I did growing up was read all the time. I didn't mind writing papers in high school and college, so I guess that was somewhat of an indication. When I wanted to learn something new, I did a ton of research until I had my answers. The research often triggered more questions that also had to be researched. As a full-time writer, I enjoy writing both fiction and nonfiction.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Hi, Debby! Glad you stopped by Writers' Rest and commented! Like yourself, I was also an avid reader. However, the difference between you and me is that I didn't really enjoy writing research papers. They were a chore for me to write, and, like now, I tend to shy away from reading non-fiction material. The subject matter has to be something that I'm extremely interested in for me to read. When I was growing up, I was the same way. I mostly read novels...whenever I tried to read non-fiction, I'd get bored pretty quickly, or, I'd put the book aside to read later and then never pick it up again! I find that with fiction, I usually keep reading, especially if the characters and plots are exciting because I want to see how the story plays out! I can't see myself ever writing a non-fiction book, but, as the saying goes, never say never! :-)

Tracy Krauss said...

I had been draming up stories and writing forever, it seems, but I knew I wanted to BE a writer when I was about 23. I had just had my first child and was settling into a life as a 'stay at home' mom after either working or going to University up until that time.
I suddenly had 'free time' in the afternoons while my daughter napped. My mother had lent me her old typewriter and I started clacking away. I was hooked. Twenty five years later, I'm still 'clacking'. Thank goodness for computers,though!

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Tracy, tell me about it! I got lots of writing done when I was home on maternity leave! And, thank goodness for computers...yah!! I recall using those old manual and electric typewriters in high school! Computers sure make things a heck of a lot easier when you're writing an entire novel!

sara said...

I'm still im high school.... I've already written some stuff and I am working on my second book length thing. (Does it count as a novel?) All I know is that for some reason I have this crazy ambition and all I can imagine myself being is a writer, but I have no idea how to really get there or if I'll ever be good enough and it scares me a little. Any advice?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sara

Keep writing and keep reading! That's the best advice that I can offer to you! Also, as time and money permit, maybe when you get older, attend some writers conferences and talk to editors, agents, and other writers! Surround yourself with like-minded people and learn the craft of writing! You might want to read the book Self-Editing For Fiction Writers to get some tips on editing your work! You might want to pray to Lord to help you with your writing too!!

sara said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you so much for the advice it made my day. :) I will do my best to follow it....
Love,
Sara