I began writing early. At twelve, I not only wrote grand epic science fiction stories, ghost stories, love stories, but I made them into books. I drew covers for them, crayon drawings with bright shapes and little shading. My childish scrawl hid inside, meticulously penciled onto lined school sheets. Yarn gathered all the pages and the covers (front and back) and were tied tight. I still have these early books of mine.
I kept writing through middle and high school, sometimes winning awards in contests, often submitting to be rejected. But they were good rejections, handwritten rejections from editors who saw something, some potential that they were trying to nurture.
But when I got to college, I stopped.
I've often tried to pin down what caused my 25 year hiatus in creative writing. I remember when my writing was almost a compulsion, hypergraphia that led to crabbiness and discontent if I wasn't able to get my words down on paper. But what cured me?
- Was it laziness?
- Was it the massive workload of scholarly papers I needed to produce for college that exhausted me?
- Was it the challenge of business writing in my career that subsumed my creative impulses?
- Was it the growing needs of family and relationships that took priority over my life?
Whatever the reason, it's only been in the last year or so that I've taken up writing again.
But I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I've got a ton of life experience to pull on now. I have fallen in love, felt isolation, been beaten down by life and my schedule and it's much easier to describe this in a fictional character than it was at an innocent sixteen.
I know now how precious writing time is. I no longer write by compulsion but instead carve out time to nurture my writing, helping it grow and blossom. I'm no longer reacting to my creative side, I'm choosing to embrace it.
And it feels like the fruits of my labor are indeed the sweeter for it.