Hello there! Welcome or welcome back to Words! This post is the first of many about How I Write. Every author writes slightly differently, but most authors start out feeling at least a little lost, hopeful, and/or curious. Writing is a safari, and they don’t really know the jungle yet. Of course, that’s ok, and you have to explore on your own. But do you want to come face to face with a lion because you didn’t know they were there? I’m guessing the answer is no. That’s why those of us who have been through the vicious attacks of the writer’s journey are here to help. This post is my story.
My Writer’s Journey
I’ve told stories, living in another world, for as long as I can remember. When I was little, the few moments when I wasn’t creating I was listening to my mom read stories. My world wasn’t really Earth when I was little; it was Pretend Land. And as I got older… well, I’ll explain that later. Anyway, I’ve created stories forever. I learned to read in kindergarten, getting from picture books to Junie B. Jones by the end of the year. Then, when I was in 1st grade, I discovered writing.
I don’t remember much about that time, but I do remember some of my first stories: a story suspiciously reminiscent of Clifford Picks Apples, a stack of index cards taped into a story I never wrote about a witch, a story about a girl who moves a lot titled “Houses,” and one based on a writing prompt about waking up as the president of the United States. Needless to say, they weren’t really unique. But that’s what new writers do: they imitate, and I did it quite decently. Then in 2nd grade my teacher introduced me to reports and poetry. I loved them both, and I’m so thankful for that year even though I didn’t love my teacher. Also in 2nd grade, I reached a 6th-grade reading level. I read ALL the time, which most authors would tell you is the best way to learn to write.
My sisters and I started playing with AG dolls and with legos when I was about 8-9. Both things revolutionized how I created. I could build any place I wanted with legos, and with dolls, I could watch “characters” interact. I wrote newspapers for our stuffed animals and for our dolls. I began writing small books for the dolls and ended up creating a short series of mysteries without almost no plot. But I was noticing the key elements of stories more. In 5th grade I wrote poetry and essays for school and I started a blog on The Little Novelist.
Also in 5th grade, I created a way to pretend without toys and to write without paper. I started to act out scenes in my room, playing multiple characters. It started with Melody Hardy, the Hardy Boys’ little sister that I made up one night when I finished a Hardy Boys mystery that I didn’t want to end. Then it expanded to adding characters to all of my favorite books. And then I added to Melody’s world, suddenly making it my own. I took Frank, Joe, their parents, and their aunt and totally made them my own, giving them different stories. But they weren’t even the focus anymore. A group of girls I called V Crew was. Their names were Victoria, Virginia, Viola, and Vanessa (quite creative indeed and totally not straight out of the girl V names section of my baby name book I’d just gotten). They grew, and soon I’d reached about 50 characters in their world. I would go through phases of creating stories, focusing on one character for a period of time, then moving to another. But soon V Crew and the Hardys were overwhelming. So I changed worlds. Since then, I think I’m on my 5th world of my own. And yes. I still act out stories in my room like a child. But the way I see it, I’m an actress/playwright in hiding. And yes I’m weird but weird with a purpose. Besides, that’s not what matters. What matters is that as my characters grew, I grew. I learned what makes characters seem believable. I learned how to create dialogue.
Somewhere within there, I wrote an article about my tornado story (more on that some other time) that was published in Clubhouse Magazine when I was 12. Then I wrote The Pony Revenge, my first finished story, and Universe, my first full book. The Pony Revenge made me think I could actually write stories, and Universe made me think I could actually write books. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I have created an estimated 300 characters in total since I was 9. I can. I know it. And that’s what makes me come back. But why do I write? Why do I tell stories?
Why I Write
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t caught up in some story in my brain. I write because it takes me out of reality for a moment. I write because it helps me process things. I write because it can speak my passion to more than just me. I write because, in teaching others, I learn. I’ve figured out so many important lessons from books and creating worlds in my room. Words are daggers. They can have many kinds of blades, and they pierce the heart only when used properly, with good aim and a strong hand. You have to judge, based on circumstances, which daggers to use and how to throw it (You’ll probably hear me mention this multiple times, although I’ll try to find unique ways to convince you too). If I can artfully arrange my weapons so that they have the most effect, changing a life, then I want to take that chance. So I’m learning to do that. And I’m here to teach you.
As I dive into this blog and grow, I hope that you’ll join me. And as we both learn more about words and the power they have, I’d like to say that both of us will change. This place will be a community of growth. You may have read about mushrooms in biology or you might not have. But my favorite this about mushrooms is that they’re the perfect picture of a strong, growing community: their root systems, the way the get nutrients to grow, intertwine to provide for each other and plants around them. They share what they gain so that they all benefit. That’s my vision for this blog, and I hope you’ll see it too.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my story and maybe even learned something. Do you have any questions? What do you hope to learn from this blog? Let me know in the comments!