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.