It took me until I turned 30 to realize my whole life I had been creating stories. In my head anyway, although occasionally I’d commit the idea to paper thinking someone else should write it. Obviously it took several years for it to dawn on me that if I wanted to read the story, perhaps I should write it. What a novel concept. And with any luck, someone else might actually enjoy the story, too.
I started slow, just scratching bits of dialogue and story in a notebook during my lunch hours just as a way to kill some time. But as the days turned into weeks, I started thinking more heavily about the story. Plot, characters, and settings happily invaded my thoughts during my dull, mind-numbing work day and at night before I fell asleep which did cause me to lose sleep because I was too excited.
I picked up a couple of books, Writing Brave & Free and The Art of War for Writers, and read them. It was a comfort reading that the biggest obstacle for people wanting to write was fear. If I could get over that fear, fear what I wrote would be terrible, fear of what family, friends, strangers would think of a piece, I would be jumping over a hurdle most who desire to write never cross. These books as well as the highly-regarded On Writing by Stephen King, taught me to be prepared for a lot of work, a lot of tears, a lot of rejection, but a lot of joy in creating something. And it was that desire to create something, a creative outlet, that spoke the most to me. Everyone needs a creative outlet; art, music, writing, crafts, photography, cooking, dancing, whatever allows a person to express themselves. The product doesn’t have to be shared with others but whatever is the end result needs to be a shared connection between the creator and the creation.
Writing created a life epiphany. For the first time in my life, something fit. I had a reason to wake up in the morning. I had a reason to want to live as long as possible. I had fire and passion. I finally understood how people who do with they love, felt. That’s why they are so happy! I have too many stories inside to keep locked away in some box within my mind. Only I have the key to unlock it.
The more I gobbled up resources and information about becoming a writer, the more I saw myself. Thoughts and behaviors I had long surmised made me crazy or odd or weird. For goodness sake’s, I always heard at least one other person who wasn’t me, speaking to me. Guiding me to a world that wasn’t mine. And they usually brought friends and enemies. This, I learned and later had confirmed by my therapist, does not make me crazy; it makes a writer. It also meant I had a creative side I had stuffed into a locker but she was knocking loudly, had always been there, waiting for me to unleash her.