I’ve wanted to write since I was a little girl. I remember starting a novel on a small notepad, with aspirations to be the next “Carolyn Keene” – author, or multiple authors, of the Nancy Drew series.
It wasn’t the possibility or being rich and famous that inspired me. What I wanted to do was to tell stories that captivated my audience.
You see, I loved to read. I read constantly. When I went grocery shopping with my mother, I had one hand on the cart and one holding the book I was glued to, as I walked, zombie-like, alongside.
In grade school, my parents were called because I didn’t play at recess, I read a book.
I used to check books out from the library by looking for the thickest because I didn’t want good stories to end too soon.
When I was 10, I’d gather the neighborhood kids on the front lawn and tell them stories, watching their faces to see when they were engaged and dropping my characters into a dark basement when attention lagged. I loved telling stories.
I birthed a reading clone. For several summers she and I would bring a stack of books to the lake and hole up for a week with the dogs, reading, walking and camping.
Uninterrupted reading time – heaven!
To be a good writer, you have to be a voracious reader. I heard that from Ray Bradbury. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Mr. Bradbury twice – the first time when I was in high school. He impressed me. I didn’t know many people who had an imagination they nurtured and talked about – I felt like I’d found “my people”. Writers were my people. But I didn’t meet another one for a long time.
Writing was not a career, at least in my family. The opportunities for a female were: teacher, secretary or nurse. Of the three, the choice was easy for me.
Teaching was like storytelling. You had to make things interesting. You had to keep the attention of your audience. You had to have a logic and purpose.
I found out teaching also had a lot of rules and restrictions as to how you did these things. I’m not a fan of lots of rules and restrictions.
In high school I told my boyfriend how I wanted to be a writer. When he became my husband, he, bless his heart, got me a writing gig. In his typical style he came home from a weekend of motorcycle racing – his passion – and announced “Want to be a writer? I got you a job with Cycle News as a reporter.”
I covered the races, typed my story on an Olympia manual on carbon paper on the way home from the desert, drove many miles out of the way to drop it off in Long Beach before going to work Monday morning.
And just like that, I was published.
It was thrilling to have a byline, and published photos, too. I was hooked. I’ve tried to quit, but the desire to write is part of who I am. I can’t stop any more than I could cease breathing.
As of yet, I haven’t been able to earn a living from writing, but I remember something else Ray Bradbury said: Don’t ever quit working.
I am completing my novellas this summer and hope to achieve my dream – entertaining, impacting and captivating my audience. I can’t wait to see where it goes.