I know I have shared this story before, but it never hurts to revisit it.
I descibe my journey by saying, “I wrote something, Mom liked it, so I became a writer.” And for the most part, this is true. But let me go back a little farther.
I was an only child to a single mom. My parents were divorced, and my dad was living quite a ways away from us. Even when he was watching me while Mom was at work, I would still go off on my own and make up stories.
There was a garage that had a “jungle” behind it, and when I went through it and around the garage and I emerged on the other side, I was in a different world, with different people, and different problems.
My bike was a horse, and I would ride it over to my elementary school that was just around the corner. There, I would hop on boats, and spaceships and get trapped in dungeons (which I would escape from because I’m stealthy like that).
Back at home, my dad and I would hunt bears with guns (or sticks).
Now, back with my mother, I still went off and did my own thing, but Mom was pretty much my playmate. I had an imaginary sister who was mean to me, so I didn’t play with her much.
Mom was fortunate to have one job where she could bring me. She worked at a golf course, and I pretty much had a run of the place because everyone knew me and loved me. I would dance on the stage in the ballroom, and use the golf carts as taxies.
One day, I wandered into my mom’s boss’ office. I sat in his big swivle chair, and put my little seven year old fingers to the keyboard and typed something along the lines of, “There once was a boy who went into the woods. There was a lake and in it he saw…”.
That’s it. That’s all she wrote. And my mother loved it. And I decided to be a writer.
Now, listen. I had drawn many pictures up to this point that my mother loved. Why didn’t I decide to be an illistrator? Because I couldn’t draw worth a darn. Some might say I couldn’t write worth a darn either. But “something” told me I was a writer. And I believed it.
I wrote multiple stories over the next few years, using my “only child” imagination to fuel the smoke not yet a fire. In 2010, while in college studying audio production, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. But the fire never flickered until two years later.
During summer break, I went to visit my dad. I had been having a rough time in school, and when I told him I wanted to quit, he adamantly told me, “No.” Now, mind you, he hadn’t been in my life for a while, and my mom had the final word, but if this was a foreshadowing of what my mother would be like, I was in for it.
One night, I caught myself writing at two in the morning. And it hit me. I’d rather write at two in the morning than mix a song. I knew I was a writer. I just had to convince my mom.
It wasn’t that hard. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: Mom, I want to quit college to be a writer.
Mom: Ok, start a blog.
Six years later, I have a blog and two published short stories. The only reason I published the first one was because I burned my foot at work and I couldn’t do anything anyway. I figured I’d use that time to mark “Publish Something” off of my todo list. The other one was just because I could.
With countless finished and unfinished stories/books under my belt, you’d think I’d have more stuff published. But honestly, I haven’t had much mental energy for the past four years. I’m so drained from my job that I just don’t write anymore. I wish I could say, “Mom, I want to quit my job to become a writer.” But Mom doesn’t have a stable job right now, so I have to support us. It’s hard enough for me to even write a blog post.
I do want to publish something this year, though. I have ideas (I always have ideas), but I have to actal sit down and do something with them. That takes time, energy, umph, and patience, four things I haven’t had lately.
But anyway, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
This post is inspired by the DIYMFA Book Club writing prompt, “What’s Your Origin Story?”.