How I Started Writing

Image Credit: Property of Disney - but aren't we all?

I grew up in what I now consider a unique period, as I was really a member of one of the last generation to have no internet, and our options for recreation after school were "limited" to radio, CDs, the outdoors, and books. Between my twin sister and I, I was by far the introvert. So while we could play pretend together for hours (don't ask about the Blanket Fort, that's another post on its own), and listen to CDs on repeat until we knew all the wrong lyrics by heart, when it came to playing outdoors, I'd be more of the "Hmmm, how dirty is that though" inclination. So at times, when my sister decided she wanted to roam about to discover new trees to climb in the back yard, and wouldn't let the fact that I thought it was a terrible idea hold her back, I shrugged and retreated to the glorious, dry, clean indoors for my own adventures.

With 5 bookshelves we were never short of something to read, and I was destined to never finish them all. But I didn't mind reading and rereading my favourite ones, Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree at the top of the list. I loved fantasy adventures, ironically as much as I would stay away from most real trees if I could help it, one of my favourite books was about a tree that grew up and up forever, reaching ever more fantastical lands. The impossibility of the physics absolutely delighted me, and although the book never specified, I was sure this magical tree must be clean and bug-free. 

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

At times I would follow my sister on her adventures in the garden, as long as I felt that I could go back inside at any point, and similarly, I would be the expert guide in the book adventures. She decided she wouldn't pick up a book until I had certified it as interesting - she evidently feared a boring book as much as I feared bugs. 

With all these adventures I read about, it was not long before I itched to create my own. We had writing assignments in English class, and I was that odd kid who not only enjoyed them, but even wanted to do my own "writing assignments" during the holidays! 

I remember the first story I ever typed up on the home computer was about flying unicorns called Snowflake and Swift Wind. I think my sister had her own version, and we would throw ideas back and forth to each other about what would happen next. I thought, if this is writing, this is easy! (Lol). I never finished that story, and since it was the early days of the internet, and no one had thought to mention one should probably back up ones work everywhere one can, that story was lost somewhere between computer upgrades. My love for stories nonetheless persisted, and I wrote a poem called The Rainforest which my Mum submitted to the kiddie section of the local newspaper. I was officially a published writer at 6 years old! 

When my baby brother came into the picture, I soon developed the trick of reading Harry Potter to him as a form of hypnosis to calm this hyperactive kid down. I also had an ulterior agenda - Harry Potter became my favourite book series from the first book to the last. I still recall the thrill of reading the books as Rowling was still writing them, so you'd have this massive amount of anticipation for the release of the next book. Her style of writing, what she did with her books for the global culture of reading, fed my own drive to write.

And so this pesky writing habit followed me into my early teens, and after a few rather embarrassing experimental stories (like one about the Backstreet Boys as vampires - sadly destroyed in a moment of brutal self reflection by the author) I decided to embark on my biggest ambition yet, writing a novel. I wrote my first draft in "spare" exercise books - teachers just thought I took a lot of notes and kept needing new books *guilty grin*.  Though that story was a little rough around the edges, I went quite far with it, and it had a lot of potential. Eventually final exams took priority and the story went on ice for awhile. 

Surprisingly it survived 2 home relocations, and a few years later I found that old, tatty, cover-less exercise book intact, and still with every word I had written. Technology had developed in leaps and bounds since my very first story, as did hard lessons about saving your work, so I quickly typed and saved the draft then keep adding more to it. I still have it today... though it has gone on ice again, as it needs a complete overall. I did after all start writing it during my "writing is super easy, just make stuff up" phase, and now with wisdom I see there are many plot dead-ends, character inconsistencies, undeveloped settings... just a ton to do to get it in workable shape. 

On the up side, today I have over 20 short stories under my belt, have written and performed in a few plays, won awards in a competition or two, and have a completed draft of a brand new novel, currently in editing. Subscribe at the top of the blog page to keep updated! 

The writing journey continues...

What's your writer origin story? 


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