The past two weeks, I shared with you parts one and two of my writing life beginnings. I reflected back on when, where, and how I began to dream of writing, pursue writing, and latch on to the writing identity.
I included some of the people involved in the process—people who encouraged me and people who created a challenge for me, even when they didn’t mean to.
And I did my best to convey some of those memories and reflections through scenes.
Your Writing Life Beginnings
Now it’s your turn.
I encourage you to think back to your writing life beginnings.
When did you first find yourself drawn to writing? When did you first imagine being a writer? What held you back? Who held you back? What happened next?
Do you remember a moment, an interaction, a scene from your life that formed you and your view of yourself as a writer, for better or for worse?
What happened to reinforce or change that perception?
When did you first tiptoe in—or, heck, when did you dive full force into—the writing life?
Preserve Your Story
Take time to remember.
Write it down.
And when you face discouragement—when you question your purpose or your identity as a writer—you’ll have this pivotal story to look back on: your story of your writing life beginnings.
You’ll remember the moments you pushed through and the people who shaped you.
You’ll feel strengthened to recall the first words you shared with the world or the first pieces that were published.
Maybe your story will begin all the way back in grade school and the first picture book you read over and over and hid under your pillow hoping the story would drift into your dreams at night.
Maybe you’ll recreate the day someone read a poem you wrote on blue construction paper and decorated with glitter—you’ll describe how their eyes lit up and they looked down at you, the young hopeful, sensitive poet, and they said, “That’s so beautiful.” And you knew. In that moment, you knew this is what you wanted in life: to be a poet.
Maybe you’ll describe the time your words were brushed aside. You slammed shut your notebook and snapped your pencil in two. Your swore you would never write another story. Two decades passed before you ventured back into the world of words, and you’ll share about your first writing attempt after that bitter episode years earlier—you’ll recall a sentence you wrote on the back of an envelope, while you rode a bus on the commute into the city. You’ll remember each word of that sentence, and how you shoved the envelope in your pocket, flushed with hope, and finally felt free to write again.
When you capture those moments, you’ll realize this writing dream—this drive to put pen to paper—is no surprise, not really. You’ll grin when you understand that your love of literature traces back…wayyyy back.
When the Going Gets Tough
It’s worth it to invest a few minutes in preserving this part of your history.
It’s worth it, because you can return to it when the going gets tough.
And the going will get tough.
Writing is hard. Editing is hard. Publishing is hard—sometimes brutal. You’ll have bad days, when you question it all and want to give up.
Go back to this. Go back to your writing life beginnings. Write it down. Read it. Remember.
Remember how you wanted it—fought for it—and resolved to make words integral to your life.
Then go back to the keyboard or the notebook or whatever you write with, and begin again. Because when you remember your writing roots, you’ll know in your gut or your heart or your spirit, that this is who you are.
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