I am a writer. When I was three, I learned how to read. I wrote stories on a Magna-Doodle when I was four. Outside, I write stories in my head, whispering them to myself, gaining inspiration from what I am doing. After keeping a diary for several years, I wrote a story based on what I did each day, with characters to fit me and the people around me – a story based off my life, but by a different name. I scratched out poems, haiku, shorts, thrillers, sci-fi, romance, mystery, moderns; first in ragged notebooks with a pen I unearthed in the garage, filling every line and the backs of the pages, guessing how to spell some words and growing my vocabulary with words from Little Women and a dictionary. I read Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women, when I was seven or eight, along with the Lord of the Rings series – before I knew the books were popular. Perhaps it wasn’t even popular then, I don’t know. I’ve never been the type of person to keep up with fads. Well, I have since read Alcott’s classic (and almost all of her other books) some countless times. (My favorite classics are Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird).
After I filled most of my first notebook, I scrawled my first long story, a whopping ten pages written on wide-ruled notebook paper, in three days. I remember bringing my stacks of paper on the drive to church, and working on what I called a mystery. It was actually a story about a ten-year-old girl who discovers a burglar, the tale of which I called Abby Norman Meets Ivan Hoe. No, I do not know why I named the burglar Ivan Hoe. I’ve never read that book with the real Ivan Hoe. I typed Abby Norman up, paragraph by paragraph, to send to a faraway friend via email – my first time typing a story. My emailing friend and I had been pen pals for the longest time – Oh, that counts as writing, doesn’t it? Well, allow me to detour once again. When my best friend (different than the emailing one) moved to Nebraska when I was four, I was in tears. My mother suggested I write her a letter. I folded notebook paper into an envelope, colored it lovingly with crayons, wrote her a nice little letter – and dropped in a rock, quarters, and a bunch of foam. I think my friend had to pay quite a bit extra when the letter arrived. At one point in time, I was pen pals with six to eight people! Then, my friends and I discovered email, and pen pals turned to “e pals.” We thought the computer was the greatest thing ever…But anyways, back to my writing materials.
As I was saying, I went from a magna-doodle, to story notebook, to paper stapled together. Now, I shall describe the marvelous computer! No, no, that’s not what I mean. I’ll talk about my typed writings. Alright, so I began to use the computer at nine. At first, I’d hand write my little stories, than type them up. When I was ten, I participated in a group called Lego League. I made a blog to talk about our journey as a team, making a Lego robot and inventing a project to solve an assigned solution. That was when I began to blog. I have been homeschooled all my life, and I was taking online classes at that time. I wrote several essays every week, posting them on the blog: Dreams of a Youth. I wrote sporadically on this online journal for several years, posting about my daily doings, cooking, schoolwork, and such, until I decided that my growing writings needed a home of their own. Here it will be at Glory Glory. After all, I had been writing in several different forms, and I needed a place meant just for them. Here are some ways I start writing.
- I and a friend draw Apples to Apples cards until we find a noun, person, place, idea, thing, and action. We then hand write a short story to get the creative juices flowing.
- Another friend, Em, co-writes with me via GoogleDocs for longer stories. My current longest co-written story is about thirty pages.
- Walking outside, where I seem to get the most inspiration for writing, a sudden line for a story occurs in my head. In the case of Ocher Altar, I wrote the entire story while rollerblading around my neighborhood. I hurried home to write it down in print, and posted it on Dreams of a Youth.
- When I don’t know what to do, I write. I think of a genre, find a fitting character name, and write. This is how my friend Em and I write our longreads.
- Sometimes, I have a good idea for a poem when I’m walking outside or watching the rain. I typically hand write these before typing them up.
When I am older, I plan to write whenever I have the urge to, not stopping for anything until the surge of words subsides. (Well, for almost anything.) Dinner time? The family is watching a movie? Been pounding at the computer “too long?” Well, too bad. Writing is my gift, and I’m blessed well going to use it! See, when I have a good idea, I have to write it down. Time flies for me when I write. (“It can’t possibly have been three hours!”) I love to write. It is my passion. You can discover aspects of your personality that you didn’t even know that you had when you write. Is there a type of book that you’ve always wanted to read, but never could find? Write it. Never say, “If I write a novel…” It is when. Do you have ideas? Plans? Do you love to read? Have you ever wanted to try poetry? Get a book – yes, the kind with pages that you flip and a paper cover – and read how to write. See, you must read if you want to learn to write. Reading a child’s how-to-write-poetry book several years ago led me to begin trying poetry. (A favorite short poem of mine: City to Me) I found a book, read it, and experimented with the writing techniques it taught me. Whenever I read someone else’s work, or am inspired by something viewed out the window, I feel the urge to write. And normally, I do it. Sure, your first attempts may seem to be failures, but keep writing. That’s how you get better at it. Want to be an artist? Buy paint, or pencils, or crayons, and start drawing. Want to be an architect? You don’t wait for the building materials to come to you, or for the design to draw itself, you have to set aside some time and try. Don’t just say you want to be an writer, do it.
I am a writer.
Writing is what I do. I love to write. If you are passionate about reading and writing, continue to practice. Also, as a final word of advice, edit your work. Multiple times, even if it is “just a short story.” You don’t want your readers to struggle through messy punctuation and spelling, wandering confused through your columns of type. So give it the once-over before you publish. Or the twice over. Or the tenth-over. So the short of what I’m saying is:
- Writers read.
- Some writers start early.
- Writers try new techniques.
- Writing is the passion of writers.
- Writers practice writing if they want to improve.
Finally, be encouraged and don’t stop writing. The world needs more writers. Maybe the next beloved author will be you. So keep reading. Keep writing. Don’t stop.