Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Way We Are: How Old Were You?

A few weeks ago, I was fascinated by all the Spark stories I read! (I bow down to Christine Tyler. It was an act of sheer genius on her part to think of doing the Sparkfest.) One of the things I loved the most was hearing the variety of ages everyone was when they first decided wanted to be a writer.

So let's hear it! Inquiring minds want to know.

Go ahead and mark your vote, then feel free to elaborate in the comments!

As much as I love hearing stories of people who were, I was not a kid when I decided I wanted to be an author. I wasn't even a teenager. In fact, it wasn't until my baby started Kindergarten that I figured it out. Once I made that decision, though, I attacked writing with a ferocious determination unlike anything I've ever done before. And the determination has only gotten stronger every day since.

(But for probably the ten years before this, my hubby would say, "You should write a book." I'd give him a look that was equal parts That was random, and What makes you think I can do THAT?! Apparently he believed I could do it way before I believed I could.)

So tell me your story! It'll make me a million kinds of excited to read it.


Unknown said...

Yea for motivation from family members! I didn't know I even wanted to write a book until my late twenties when a friend asked me to race her in NaNoWriMo. I was doing it to help her, but it turns out I liked it. A lot. Hehe! It will be interesting to see the results of this.

Emily R. King said...

I was eighteen when I realized people actually wrote for a living. I thought writers were like musicians and artists: spare-time creators. : )

Kristine said...

Totally in Elementary when I had a teacher who loved to write and had us do it every day.

BECKY said...

What a great idea! I totally missed the Sparkfest. I put "In my forties" on your questionnaire, because that's when I actually BEGAN to write. I "kind of" wanted to be a writer for many years, but assumed they were random thoughts, and I'd never do it, etc. SO, I was in my late forties when I began and was published in a local newspaper and then on to Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies!
Thanks for asking, Peggy!

S. L. Hennessy said...

I've been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a crayon, but it wasn't until my junior year of high school that it dawned on me that I wanted to write for a living. That's when I started my first writing notebook of ideas.

Patti said...

I've always loved reading and when I read the book "The Keeping Days", I knew I wanted to be a writer. Unfortunately it took me a while to get serious about it.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I wanted to be a writer after I read David Eddings.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Hurray for your hubby. I think that's great that he nudged you before you realized your passion for writing.

I remember being in second grade when I realized I loved writing. It didn't hurt that my wonderful teacher, Mrs. Dennison, encouraged me.

Mara Rae said...

I started writing "books" in elementary school, but I didn't realize this was what I wanted to do for a living until I was living in south Texas (my husband was in training to become a fighter pilot) and found myself bored and jobless. I decided to try writing a book, loved it, and have written four since then. I decided to pursue a journalism career in grad school, but I realized I wasn't very good at reporting (too many opinions), so I started looking for any jobs relating to books and publishing, praying one day I'd be able to get a book published but at least knowing I'd be around books in the meantime :)

Shell Flower said...

Great topic! I love these stories, too. For me, I started writing in grade school and received positive feedback from my teachers and friends. I started filling spiral notebooks with stories for my friends in Jr. High, casting us in adventures where we were rich and could do whatever we wanted. I even started to take writing classes in college, but then dropped out and decided to travel instead. Twenty years and a kid later, I have just started writing again in the last couple of years.

David P. King said...

Born writer here! Just took me a while to figure that out. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Hmm... well, I knew I wanted to be a (hobby) writer in elementary school, but I didn't realize I wanted to be a (career) writer until college/twenties. I think I'll go with the latter. What a great idea for a poll! :)

Jessie Humphries said...

I knew when I started reading again (fiction) after law school. And oh yeah, when I psychic told me I would! True story.

Jillian Schmidt said...

I wanted to be a writer as soon as I could read and form my own shaky letters on the page. It definitely helped that my mother was a writer and that she was willing to spell out words for me as I struggled to capture my first stories.

Stacy Henrie said...

Super fascinating that the highest number is those of us who knew sometime during elementary school. I guess that shows the importance of creative writing and reading even at young ages.

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

I was about fourteen when I realized I wanted to be a writer, and began writing stories. There have been a lot of stops and starts along the way since then, but never completely gone.

Iain said...

It was just after my youngest was born. I woke up and realised that I had dreamt the plot for a book, so I went out that morning and bought a note pad. It then took me 10 years to get another idea for a new book. Since then, I can't write them fast enough, and have about eight books queued up.
Like you, I kept being told by friends that I should write book for about ten years leading up to the dream.
Think I might have to do a post about why I started writing and what I did leading up to it
Thanks for the inspiration :o)

Laura Josephsen said...

As soon as I could hold a pencil, I was writing stories and taking them to first grade to read to the class. ;)

Alexis Bass said...

I used to draw pictures and make my dad write out the story below them before I was old enough to write. :)

Lan said...

I'm so glad the percentage of those who are born writing is pretty small because otherwise I'd feel pretty bad! I'd always liked creative writing but there was never any encouragement while I was growing up so it's only something I've stumbled upon recently. Still, better late than never as they say.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Oh my gosh, guys. I have loved, loved, LOVED hearing all your responses! There aren't many things better than writer beginnings stories. You all rock my world!

Nisa-- What an awesome friend you are to write an entire novel in a month, just so your friend doesn't have to do it alone! Congrats on finding something you love in the process. We'll call it karma for your awesome deeds. :)

E.R.-- I think most of us still are. ;) So I'm guessing you were eighteen when you decided you wanted to take it one step further and work toward it being a living, right? So awesome that you knew at eighteen!

Kristine-- Awww! It's amazing what a difference a single teacher can make.

Becky-- If reading Chicken Soup for the Soul is great for your soul to READ, how great is it to WRITE? That's awesome!

S.L.-- Aw! I love I figured out what I wanted to do with my life in high school stories! I think that's an incredibly hard thing to do. Amazing!

Patti-- That's so cool. I hope that author gets what a huge influence she is!

Michael-- Another writer inspired by an author! That is so awesome.

Cynthia-- My hubby is pretty great. It still amazes me that he saw it in me so long before I did. Second grade? That's so young! I love it! Did you save any of your first stories?

Mara-- That is a great story! I love that when you had extra time to spend, writing is what called your name the loudest.

Shell-- I bet your friends LOVED having you around! Nothing like being immortalized in print by your bff. :) And congrats on re-discovering writing!

David-- Haha! That's awesome.

Carrie-- You just made me wonder how long people generally see writing as a hobby before they make the leap to career. Hmmm. I'm pretty sure it wasn't even a hobby for me, though, in elementary school! I only wrote stories when I was told to. I sunk all my creative energy into making things with my hands, so the hobby part came later.

Jessie-- A psychic?! Really?! You should do a blog post on that. I'd love to hear the story!

Jillian-- Awww! I love that your writer mom helped you along with your love of writing at such a young age!

Stacy-- I know! It's really amazing.

Richard-- Wow. That's a really young age to not just enjoy writing, but to know you wanted to be a writer!

Iain-- I love that supportive friends told you that you should write. It may have made the difference between writing that first story down and ignoring it! And how amazing is it to dream an entire plot? I love that they come so quickly to you now. I'm a little jealous. :) And when you write that post, be sure to let me know! I'd love to read it.

Laura-- Awww! A writing love AND an audience! Bliss right there.

Alexis-- I think you may have just gotten the "youngest" award. That's amazing!

Lan-- I know, right? Rest assured there are always people like us that figured it out later. :)

Marcy said...

I think I first started writing my "own" stories (not assigned by a teacher) in late elementary school. I had notebooks filled with outlines and maps etc. I wonder if they're still around here in a box somewhere?

Marcy said...

I think I first started writing my "own" stories (not assigned by a teacher) in late elementary school. I had notebooks filled with outlines and maps etc. I wonder if they're still around here in a box somewhere?

linda said...

Great post! I loved reading everyone's stories, too. :) My favorite hobby as a child was reading. I wanted to be as awesome as the authors of my favorite books, but while I daydreamed about becoming a writer, it didn't seem like a very practical career path to me. I guess I was more "I think being a writer could be cool" than "omg I HAVE to be a writer!" I admire your determination and dedication, though! I'm inspired to try harder, too. :)