Like a lot of writers, I fell in love with writing at a young age. I wrote and illustrated my first story at the age of 7 and showed it off to anyone who would look. A few weeks later, our tiny local newspaper interviewed my family, and the journalist must have found me relatable because my book was mentioned in the article. And there it was: confirmation that I was a writer and validation for being one. I was hooked.
I filled notebook after notebook with my own stories, fanfiction, and poetry. I found that, by writing, I could safely process the hardest parts of being human. I could escape real life and walk around in someone else’s (much cooler) shoes. The best was still the validation, though: every time a teacher told me I was good at this, I tucked that away, delighted to be recognized for something I loved to do.
“I found that, by writing, I could safely process the hardest parts of being human.”
I wrote my way through college and grad school (where I predictably studied English and writing), but then I graduated. And I just… stopped. I still don’t have a good reason why. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was depression, or an unrealistic expectation to only write perfect things (no shoddy first drafts for me). Or all of the above. Almost a decade later, what brought me back to writing was a story I had to tell. As it trickled out of my fingers over the course of four years, I rediscovered what I loved about writing, what will keep me writing: exploring the difficulty of being human.
Oh, and the validation still helps. Every time my writing touches someone–when they feel seen, or it challenges them to grow–that little seven-year-old clutches her first full story and glows with pride.
This post is part of the monthly blog-hop hosted by the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month, members are encouraged to write a post about their writing life and struggles, and visit other blogs in the hop to network and encourage one other. If you are interested in visiting the other blogs or joining yourself, visit the website here.