Becoming a writer has been a life long process.
It started around the third grade, when I first learned how to read. My mother used to send me to summer school each year, which in elementary wasn't as bad as it sounded. The teachers didn't actually teach us much, usually we were allowed to draw pictures all day and they read us books or we watched movies.
One day, our teacher asked us to draw a picture of an object. I've always been girly, so I drew a picture of a heart necklace. When we were done, she told us to write a story about the object.
I thought really hard about mine. I knew most of the kids were going to say something like,"This is a heart locket and it's my favorite locket. I have a picture of my Dad in it." I wanted to do something really creative, so I came up with this story about a girl who finds a locket while walking home from the bus after school. As soon as she touches it, she is teleported to a new world, in the middle of a forest, where she is chased around by all the natives while she tries to figure out how to get home. I was still writing when she told us to stop and turn our stories in.
She showed mine to my mother and talked about how I had quite an imagination.
My next adventure in writing came when I was around eleven years old. (I'm not always sure about the ages when I did things. Some of them have started to blur together as I've gotten older.) I decided to write a newspaper and named it after my neighborhood. I put a crossword puzzle in it, a word search, made up stories about what was going on in the neighborhood, wrote short stories and poems. I printed it out and ran straight for my next door neighbor, an elderly woman, who till this day is still one of the nicest women I have ever met.
I waved the paper in her face excitedly and she took it with a smile. I sat down with her and her husband, who had suffered many strokes and therefore couldn't talk clearly or walk well, and the women read the paper out loud. We all laughed together and solved the puzzles with each other's help.
She told me during her husband's funeral that those little newspapers I had written helped her and her husband bond. They used to read them over again when I wasn't around and enjoy each other's company through them. She kept them for their good memories long afterward.
She also helped me by encouraging me. I knew when I wrote those papers that no one would probably care about them. I was a kid and the things I was writing weren't important. Still, she treated them and me like they were something special. She accepted my writing so readily that I wrote a newspaper every day.
When I became a teenager, I started to read fan-fiction. I devoured novels in under twenty-four hours and the library didn't carry most of the books I wanted to read. My family didn't have enough money to keep up with my reading habit as I would have liked, so I turned to the internet to read more stories. (Some of the ones I read were the free ones offered on eharlequin.com)
For some reason, I latched onto Peter Pan and Zelda fan-fiction. I was never a big fan of either, even though I joined forums based on those topics to make friends when in person I had only a few. I liked them because I enjoyed reading romance and read a few great stories written revolving the characters in those stories. I especially liked stories about grown-up Wendy and Captain Hook. I became obsessed with pirates, day dreamed about marrying one, and used to roleplay online in pirate settings.
After reading a lot of fan-fiction and roleplaying for years (which is a type of writing as well, done with a second person), I decide to write a fan-fic of my own and spent a long time writing a Zelda romance that never got very far. I remember posting it on fanfiction.net and getting laughed at by a few people who didn't like what I had to say.
To this day, I hope that someday people write fan-fiction based off of my stories. I know it's just another way of loving the characters an author created and it gives them a free way to keep enjoying an imaginary world long after a writer has ran out of ideas (or while waiting for that next novel to come out.)***
A few years later, a story started to grow in my head. It was for a romance novel that would take place in a medieval fantasy setting. It had multiple points of view, was poorly written, and has long since been deleted (I don't even count it as a novel I have written most of the time), but I learned so much through writing it, like... 1.) I learned how much work and actual editting an author has to do to write a novel. 2.) I learned how plotting and planning a whole novel before writing it can give me a much better product. 3.) That writing every day is important and that at first, everything you write will stink. 4.) That writing a novel from multiple points of view is hard to do and often confuses the reader. 5.) Metaphors have their time and place. 6.) Fantasy worlds take a lot of planning and organizing a long set of complicated rules before they make sense or are interesting.
And many more lessons that I can't quite remember at this time.
My next novel was planned better. I took detailed notes of my ideas and wrote a thorough outline. I started writing every day, since the previous novel had taken 3 years out of my life and I hadn't gotten as far with it as I would have liked. And two years later, I completed my next novel: Spirit Speaker, which taught me many lessons as well. Such as: how to write for adults, what it's like to query, that it's important to go online and fellowship with other authors, that characterization is much harder than it looks. That novel has been saved and will hopefully someday get revamped when I learn how to write better and exactly what I need to do to fix it.
Now, here I am. I've completed one short story. (Where I learned how to query magazines and received my harshest rejection letter.) I've written the rough draft to two other novels: one about a homeless girl (I've put this story aside and may someday revisit it) and another about Medusa (which I am working hard on and hope to finish, at the latest, by the end of this year.) I'm also working on another short story about some elves, have countless outlines in various stages of development and have a few random scenes written out because of dreams I've had or sudden strokes of inspiration.
I also try to blog regularly, which is its own form of writing. Usually, I obsess over every word when I write, try to make sure I left as few mistakes as possible, and carefully guard anyone from reading it until it's as perfect as I can make it. You can't do that with blogging or you'll never get anywhere. I realize that my blog posts sometimes had grammar and spelling errors in them. I correct those as much as possible and hope they don't reflect on me poorly. I'm learning to write as good as I can with little time. I'm also discovering the difference between a personal topic that's okay to talk about publically and ones that should be kept to myself. So far, I haven't gotten too far into the personal, but it's a fine line to walk...
I look forward to learning more in the future. Hopefully next year I'll know some more about being professionally editted and published, be it through an agency or through self-publishing. I'm experimenting through beta readers on the internet (before, I only used people I knew in person) and know I will learn tons through them. I hope to find out more about marketing and become more disciplined about writing regularly for longer periods of time.
I have a lot of goals and dreams. Writing is definitely a process where you never stop being challenged or experiencing new things. Maybe it's why I find this to be such an exciting career.
*** While I enjoy the idea of my stories being made into fan-fiction, I would be very hurt if anyone re-wrote some of my characters and sold their stories without permission from me for money.