Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Did You Start Writing?

Whenever I’m reading a good book, I love to turn to the author’s bio and see what it is that drove them to write the book in the first place.

Some people write their whole lives, from childhood onwards. They find their passion for words at early age and their imaginations outlet through the creation of stories.

Others write about a life related revelation that they wanted to share. There are teachers and professionals that finally decide to sit down and write that book they’ve had in mind before their careers took over.

My reason for writing sounds pretty bland in comparison.I started writing for one reason and one reason only-

I ran out of books to read.

My whole life I’ve been a cronic binge-reader. From those early experiences where I discovered our school had an entire room of books.

In middle grade, I spent entire summers working (for free) at our town library and entering reading contests. I devoured whole series of Sweet Valley High and The BabySitters Club, not to mention most of RL Stines more gruesome endeavors. (Goosebumps was for wimps)

Early teens brought on Christopher Pike and LJ Smith, and any other paranormal YA I could get my hands on. I read and read and read until one day…..I had read everything our library had to offer. (We lived in a small town - an old Victorian from the historical district doubling as the library)

There was no amazon.com back then. I scanned the bookshelves at the ‘Waldenbooks’. (No Borders or Barnes & Nobles had arrived in town either)

And so, at fourteen, I decided to write my own frick’n book. I needed the escape and if I couldn’t read it, I’d write it.

It was easier than I thought. Years of absorbing hundreds of books made it easy to scan my mental files and pull out vocabulary that I had never even used in real life. I wrote two books over that summer. I didn’t complete either of them and they both topped out at about 60 pages. But whenever I needed a ‘fix’, I’d go back to them and get lost in the story I created. It was almost as fun as reading.

As most of you know, I live in France. For the first few years, motherhood took up most of my time. But two years ago, I went an another ‘book binge’, reading everything our local ‘entertainment & music’ store had to offer. Which, in English, wasn’t much.

What do you think happened when I ran out of books to read?

Yes sah. Here I am. Again.

This time it’s different.

Writing is a craft I always took for granted and only now am I really learning the dynamics that goes into creating top notch work.

All my life I’ve been blessed with a variety of gifts, with the exception of one-

Ambition.

My parents were professional musicians and blessed me with a natural ear for music and a singing voice that makes my mother weep. But did I ever think of pursuing it? Hell No. Just singing with the school choir was tiresome and I had nasty stage fright.

I was insanely flexible and athletic and enrolled in gymnastics from a very young age. As soon as the schedule had me going every day after school, I quit. Nadia could keep her freak’n medal.

I was prima ballerina in all our community ballet recitals. Not once did I ever think- ‘This is what I want to do with my life!’

I changed majors in college four times. - Four. Times. Education, Art History, Music, French- I couldn’t decide and I didn’t care. I loved learning about all my interests equally.

But with writing? I’ve finally found something worth fighting for. I not only love it, but I’m constantly striving to improve- like an Olympic medalist training for the finals.

I’ve finally found my ‘thing’- that elusive Ambition.
And I’m not going to let it go.

Why did you start writing?

25 comments:

Clara said...

Wow! Girl, you could have made some good money if you invested on those singing skills! But, I´m glad you didn´t and presented us with Gretchen Grey!

Me? Well, I write since I was a kid. I don´t know why, I just like it, I´m very creative and writting is a way to let it out (drawing is also good too).

So that´s me reason lol: I really don´t know. It´s been very instinctive for me, before I can even remember. Hum, this was better then a therapy session!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Hold on a second. HOLD on a SECOND! Are you my long lost twin or WHAT? This is freaking me out.

YOU: "All my life I’ve been blessed with a variety of gifts, with the exception of one-

Ambition"

ME: "DITTO"

YOU: "My parents were professional musicians and blessed me with a natural ear for music and a singing voice that makes my mother weep. ... Just singing with the school choir was tiresome and I had nasty stage fright."

ME: "My parents were professional musicians and blessed me with a natural ear for music. I once wanted to become a professional musician, but my passion wasn't big enough. I sung as school chior only to get out of classes. I have nasty stage fright and can't bear to put myself on stage anymore."

YOU: "I was prima ballerina in all our community ballet recitals. Not once did I ever think- ‘This is what I want to do with my life!’"

ME: "I took ballet lessons. I got pulled out of classes casue I kept making up my own steps."

YOU: "I changed majors in college four times. - Four. Times. Education, Art History, Music, French- I couldn’t decide and I didn’t care. I loved learning about all my interests equally."

ME: "I changed majors in university three times and it took me twice as long to finish my degree. I started out with Archaeology, then Media, then English."

YOU: "But with writing? I’ve finally found something worth fighting for. I not only love it, but I’m constantly striving to improve- like an Olympic medalist training for the finals."

ME: "DITTO"

YOU: "I’ve finally found my ‘thing’- that elusive Ambition.
And I’m not going to let it go."

ME: "DITTO"

I also read the Babysitters club books over and over as a kid too.

Ok, you're not only creepyquerygirl, you're creepingmeoutgirl.

I live in Athens, Greece, so we're both in Europe. You're an English Teacher, I write English Teaching books to pay the bills. Ok, don't tell me you were born in Melbourne, Australia too?

I think I'm going to faint ...

creepyquerygirl said...

LOL- AA, you're cracking me up! That is too freaky. I guess 'great minds'... I was born in Connecticut, US- maybe Melbourne is it's shadow town on the other side of the world....hmn.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

LOL. Ok Phew ... hehehehe Because I'm pretty sure I have another sibling out there somewhere. My father was a bit promiscuous ... LOLOLOL

Creepy Query Girl said...

:) You've given me food for thought- A story about parallel cities where people live parallel lives. Hmn....Like a Tale of Two Cities with a twist. And they still havent don't a vampire or ghost hunter satire for that book, so its up for grabs:)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

OI! I'm already doing that ... ;) You know what would be really interesting actually, and maybe one day we can find the time to test it out together - seeing as you are my long lost sister and all - we come up with a specific plot/story line etc, and then we both take that plot/story line, and each write about one persons life based on it. How interesting would it be to see what two different writers come up with? Same story - different minds telling it. ????

creepyquerygirl said...

great minds great minds.....:)That would be really cool. If you're anything like me, you've already written the idea down in one of many 'book idea' files on the computer.

Matthew Rush said...

What a cool story. Thanks for sharing so much of your personal background CQG.

Personally I wrote all the time when I was younger. Always writing short stories and poetry all the way up through High School. Then some messed up things happened and I gave up on it - for years.

I continued to read the whole time but never thought to start writing again.

Thankfully about two years ago I changed my mind and have now written my first novel. I would like to get it published but that's not the main reason I wrote it. I mostly wrote it because I wanted to tell the story.

Anyway thanks for sharing this today!

Today's guest blogger is Rachel Alpine!

MissV said...

CQG & AA - you're crackin' me up! I know how that small library thing goes. For a time, the small town I lived in had a library, but it was so small and so dated that there wasn't much worth reading...seriously, they hadn't added any new books in DECADES, and I think I now own more books than were on their shelves. HOWEVER, that's how I discovered the OZ books, and some other older treasures. My friend and I used to play red light - green light in there. hahaha.

As to why I started writing, well, I was kinda told to. I know that sounds delusional, so lemme explain.

I make an effort to listen to that little voice in my head. When I do, it keeps me out of trouble. It's usually stupid stuff, like not sealing an envelope and later having something else to add to it. Or I put off doing certain tasks which later change so either (a) I don't have to do them at all or (b) I do it completely differently.

Last year, the little voice told me to get mine a$$ to the gym, so I obeyed and lost 40+ pounds. THIS year, they were telling me to write. I was seriously compelled to write and so here I am slogging through the work of it - by far the most ambitious thing I've ever done - and hoping the voices were right and help me get published in the end.

Now that I've said that, I'll sit back and wait while y'all call the authorities to come pick me up.

Creepy Query Girl said...

MisV- You're a regular 'Joan of Arc' LOL. But it sounds like your little voice has always been right before!!

Jen said...

Wow this is a fabulous story, a wonderful beginning and path to finding yourself and your passion. Things take time to figure out!

I used to write as a child, but only mildly, since I was 7 all I wanted to be was an Architect but the older I got the more I realized math was a struggle and it was something I'd need so I changed courses, I wanted to be a nurse, an EMT, a teacher of greek mythology, the list goes on and on! It wasn't until I sat down one day and said to myself "How can I do all of these?" and then it hit me... I can be anything I want in a story, I can write about anything and be whoever I want and so I sat down and wrote. I loved it, though I don't write about the "real" world I write make believe but the concept was still in place! It was the best decision, even when I'm stuck I still love writing, I still have a huge passion for it!!! I can't wait to go home and write each day and it's the first time I've felt so passionate about something... minus my hubby!!

Fantastic post!

Creepy Query Girl said...

That's a major plus Jen. I think that's part of it too, the freedom of being a writer and really cultivating your imagination to the max. Good stuff! Plus, I get to give my obsesive compulsive side a wonderful workout (she doesn't get out enough)

JustineDell said...

Thanks for sharing all of thie CQG. I always like to see how others writers got started; everyon is so different. And your funny too!!

I'm embarassed to say why I started writing...but I'll admit it here. Twilight. I blogged about it once back in January, you want to know more you can go take a look and laugh at my expense. LoL ;-)

Slamdunk said...

With your motivation for writing, I think you are in good company--I read where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien began writing fiction for the exact same reason.

Candyland said...

I started writing because the pen was my only friend. Sounds sad, but it's very true.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Thanks for sharing so much about yourself! Me, I started writing because...I couldn't help it. It was just who I was, what I did, and, well, reading ALL. THEDAMN. TIME just became my life. Thanks for the post - I left you an award over on my blog. :D

Shelley Sly said...

Awesome story! I enjoyed learning more about you. :)

I began writing as a kid because I loved to escape reality. Like most kids, I gave personalities to my dolls and stuffed animals, but I remember I went on a family trip around the age of 8 or 9, and I didn't have my toys, so I pretended they were with me. I made up stories in my head about my favorite stuffed cats, and from then on, I spent less time playing with them and instead wrote down the stories that I'd come up with. I guess that's how I started.

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for the story!

And what a great question. Really, I can't even remember why I started writing in the first place! Probably something to do with the fact that I just like to make stuff up.

Have a great creepy weekend!

Laura Marcella said...

Loved this post! What a great story. I used to be a gymnast too and I'm still an avid fan. I wanted medals like Nadia! But gymnastics was a bit too expensive. Writing is a much cheaper endeavor!

I remember when there used to be Waldenbooks. I liked that name a lot better than Borders (still do!).

I started writing because I liked reading so much. I wanted to write books like my favorite authors made me feel. Plus, it was a way for me to make things up without feeling guilty about it!

BTW, I love the name of your blog! Now a follower. :)

Elana Johnson said...

What a great story! I'm glad you've found your passion. For me, I've always wanted to be a teacher. And I am. I love it.

But I turned to writing when I experienced a deep personal loss and needed an outlet for my emotions. I started writing, and haven't stopped yet.

Lisa K. said...

Your reason for writing made me smile. I couldn't even tell you my reason for writing. It's been a part of me for as long as I remember.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for leaving a comment. Your blog looks great. I'll be following!

Mary McDonald said...

What a great post! I love how you knew when you began writing, that it was for you. Me, I didn't start writing until we got our first computer when I was in my early 30s. I hate writing with a pencil or pen, and no matter how many stories I had in my head, they'd have never made it to paper if I had to use that method.

Btw, I love the blog name. lol. Found it by way of Elana Johnson's blog.

Jen said...

I've given you an award!!

Caledonia Lass said...

Wow! I'm brand new to your blog. I've seen your name mentioned at least 3 times in the past 2 days. So here I am.

I started writing because I fell in love with story building. At first, I started off with fan-fic, then wrote some things for Dungeons and Dragons. (Geek to the core, you've been warned.) Then I played an online Role-Playing Game that was text based, had to write out all my actions as well as post background stories or stories for long absences from the game. People loved my writing. I discovered I had a knack for it. (I knew back in high school English classes, though) Never acted on it til I was 19, stopped to have kids and picked it back up. I am now looking forward to try getting published.
Pleased to meet you and awesome post. :D

T.J. Carson said...

Really cool post! Can't believe you live in FRANCE! That is freaking AWE-SOME!

I started writing because of the LONG winter break that my college has (due to a winter semester). So with 2 months and so little to do during the wretched season of cold I did teenage stuff. Hung w/ friends, ate, slept, watched tv, slept, ate, showered. Then GOT SO MONOTONOUSLY BORED OF MY MOROUS EXISTENCE. So I decided to write this fantasy I had in my head my entire life. That's me :)

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