Always Remember What First Inspired You to Write. It Always Will.

You started writing for a reason.

I’m not sure if it was their intention. But I’d like to believe that when my parents first started reading to me, before I could do it myself, they knew it would shape the rest of my life into something good.

For many of us, there isn’t one specific moment in which we said to ourselves, “Because of this, I’ve decided I’m going to be a writer.

Rather, looking back, there might be a collection of memories that eventually came to form the desire we now can’t shake — the one that says writing is, in some capacity, our calling.

Books are where my love of words and stories began. But reading isn’t the only reason I’m lucky enough to call myself a writer today.

I also watched plenty of Disney films, and, as they were made, Pixar stories that came to life on-screen.

I couldn’t pick up a Barbie doll or any of my hundreds of Beanie Babies without giving them backstories. They weren’t toys to me. They were characters with names, and I was responsible for sharing their made-up adventures with the world.

I’m sure the first story I ever wrote was exactly what you would expect from a six-year-old: terrible, at least compared to the published works of thousands that had come before. There was nothing special or exceptional about it.

The only difference between a first grader who writes a disastrously awful one-page story to share with the class as part of a graded assignment and me is that I didn’t stop writing after just one attempt.

I’m sure somewhere along the line, a well-meaning teacher handed back a story I’d written and told me it was good. And that was enough — to be told that my trying had been worth it to at least one person, or at least they’d said so.

When I really think about it, what’s kept me going all these years is the belief that I could tell a good story, if I really put the effort into it. If I vowed to not only write, but rewrite, and revise, and reimagine, because that’s what it means to be a writer. You never stop. You’re always looking for another story to tell. Sometimes you seek inspiration out. Sometimes, it finds you on its own.

And sometimes, the best you can do is go back to the things that first inspired you to put your ideas into words. Return to those books. Those Disney and Pixar movies. Maybe even to those dolls and toys you still have in your basement for some reason … perhaps this is the reason.

Something, or someone, made you want to be a writer.

It’s OK to go back to it. To lean on it. Especially when you’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing.

After all, you started writing for a reason. It was obviously important enough to you then. Chances are, it still matters to you now.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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13 thoughts on “Always Remember What First Inspired You to Write. It Always Will.

  1. I don’t know why my mother got me a typewriter in elementary school, but she did, and it was then I realized that I could be like the storytellers, the authors, and write like them. Now, I get to write like me. Loved this article!

  2. I think I was also a child who was always imagining and filling in where the story left off, but what first pushed me into actually writing my own story was a time where I was craving a rather specific type of story, much like one craves certain foods, and for the life of me I could not find it, until I grew frustrated and said “It would be faster and simpler for me to just write it myself.”
    Of course the results were far from good, but the creative high that I experienced while writing was incomparable, and I’ve been an addict ever since.
    I think the biggest draw me for has become the “never-ending” journey of exploration, experimentation, and growth.
    But I also keep imagining stories that don’t exist, stories that I want to read, but first I have to write them.

  3. I’ve always loved reading. I was always good at it, especially when younger reading at higher levels. It wasn’t my intention. I just didn’t have anything else that gave me vivid images in my mind as a kid. Sometimes I didn’t know what I was reading, so I’d have a dictionary handy and looked up every word I didn’t understand how to use or what it meant.

    What got me to become a writer? You’ll laugh at this one. I did, because it was dumb to think something on TV was going to be similar in real life. Becauset it rarely is. Nathan Fillion inspired me to write when he brought the character Richard Castle to life on the TV series Castle. It was the most non-writer person you could think of, that character, and he used his everyday happenings to write. It looked like fun. And combined with my ability to create a story from beginning to end within a few hours of day dreaming, I figured, well why the hell not!?

    And here I am. Writing. Reading. Talking to other writers about stuff. And commenting on this post.

    Which reminds me. I really should write that story that started all this for me, because man, that was one interesting phone call that catalysed this.

    1. Write it!! This is like your “origin story” and for some reason it made me very excited. Every writer’s journey started in a different place and I love hearing where it all started. Thanks for leaving this amazing comment. :)

  4. Love this, Meg! I remember writing stories (in cursive on notebook paper) with my friends as the main characters. They loved to read what I created! That was 50+ years ago. Still writing and loving what I do for work, ministry, and pleasure.

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