I don’t even remember when I realized I wanted to be a writer. I do know that it was a long time ago, and I’ve probably always known deep down.
I have this memory of being in the first grade. The teacher had given us coloring sheets and asked us to write a story about the person on the sheet. I had a great idea, and the story just sort of flowed from my pencil. The kid sitting next to me leaned over and then called out to no one in particular, “woa, look how much Cassy’s writing!” And then more kids gathered around my table with similar “Woa!”s. I had written three fully formed paragraphs. Everybody else had a sentence or two. I felt on top of the world – I knew I had a gift.
Even as a middle schooler who was navigating the catty jungle that is twelve year old culture, writing is something I never doubted about myself (even as I was obsessing in the mirror every morning over “pony tail bumps”, which I’m sure were only visible to me). When I sat down to write, or turned in a story, I never worried about what other people would think or how I would ever finish. It has always turned out.
I don’t want to sound cocky. I have definitely written some pieces that weren’t as good as others. But that doesn’t get me down. No one writes perfectly 100% of the time. In college I think I realized that I had a writer’s state of mind already – naturally. Some of the advice I got from professional writers at conferences and workshops was to write a little no matter what. If you go through a dry spell – bad stories, no stories, writer’s block – don’t give up. Discouragement is the enemy of the written word. I think this is something I always sort of instinctively knew.
See, writing is just my thing. Growing up, I did things like playing sports, music, art, and parties. I was okay at them, but I didn’t quite fit in. I wasn’t a stand-out, and I never enjoyed those activities the way I enjoyed putting pen to paper (or pounding on a keyboard or typewriter). No one ever really got my creative side until I met the community of writers I hung out with in college. (Sigh – and I miss them!)
Have you found your thing? What is it, and how does it feel when you’re doing it?