How I Became A Writer

Here it is, folks!  In honor of ORIGINS Blogfest (a fabulous idea created by DL Hammons which hundreds of writer/bloggers are participating in today) I present you with my origins story – how I became a writer.  Or rather how I knew I was a writer.

I’ve included the one sentence version of the story in many a bio I’ve written:  I have been a writer since I was 10 years old and realized one day that I didn’t have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Three year old Merry & her Granddad

I was in third grade.  It had been a rough couple of years for me.  My dad had walked out on us when I was 6, we moved halfway across the country to live near my Mom’s family, my Granddad (who had become a beloved father figure) had passed away very suddenly of a heart attack, and when my dad remarried he took my two older half-brothers (his sons from his first marriage) away to live with him.  Trauma!  I was struggling in school that year too.  It sounds so silly to an adult, but my best friend from second grade had been put in a different classroom than me.  I also had to learn long-division, which nearly killed me.  Everything pretty much sucked far more than your average ten-year-old deserves to have things suck.

My third grade teacher was Mr. Morley.  I adored him.  One day we were given a creative writing assignment.  I don’t even remember what we were supposed to write, but I ended up writing a story about a girl who made friends with and probably fell in love with a wasp (yes, a wasp) named Michael Greer.  Now Michael Greer was a boy in my class that I had been in love with since he kissed me in first grade.  This was the first instance of me making a character out of someone I knew.  I’m sure it was also the first time I used fiction to express and work through my emotions.  There was probably some deep psychological meaning to the fact that I would write a story about myself falling in love with a wasp (I was and still am to this day completely terrified of wasps) named after a boy I had a crush on.

Well, when we did these creative writing assignments in third grade we generally read them aloud to the class after they were graded.  I still remember Mr. Morley asking to speak with me at recess.  He was very tactful about saying that while he liked my story he didn’t think I should read it aloud.  I knew what he was talking about and agreed.  Thank you Mr. Morley for helping me to dodge a bullet that would have meant third grade social suicide!  I loved him even more.

Young Merry coming up with ideas to write about

But this first critique of something I had written got me to thinking….  I had written a story and enjoyed the process of writing it, and even though I had handed it in to the teacher it hadn’t been read aloud like the rest of the class’s stories.  So that meant that not everything I wrote would have to be on display for my class.  And if I could write something for a class that then wasn’t shared, who was to say that I couldn’t then just write something for myself alone to enjoy?

That’s when I started writing.  Granted, I didn’t do it a lot, just every now and then.  Until something else coincidental and wonderful happened when I was in fifth grade.  My Mom took a job as the secretary of the elementary school that I attended.  When she was cleaning out the office she found a bunch of old school supplies that no one wanted.  One of these items was a small spiral-bound three-subject notebook.  I asked if I could have it.  She said yes.  For the first time in my young life I had in my possession the tools to write as much as I wanted.  This was a notebook that wasn’t earmarked for schoolwork.  It was mine to do with as I pleased.  I believe I wrote another story in which a boy in my class who I had a crush on fell in love with me.  And I think there was some time-travel involved too.  Either way, the tide had turned.  I was a writer.

I have boxes and boxes of spiral-bound notebooks with stories I started, ideas I’ve had, and boys I’ve had crushes on.  I suppose I was always meant to be a romance novelist at that.  Those notebooks lasted up until I got my first computer.  I have a few ancient floppy disks with stories on them (that may never be able to be recovered).  Nowadays I have a flash drive with everything I’ve written for the last five or so years.  But really, it all goes back to those heavy, obnoxious boxes of spiral-bound notebooks that I’ve lugged from apartment to house to apartment to state to state for the last 25 years.  And yes, I still have the original notebook.

I was born to be a writer.  It’s as simple as that.  And I’ll be a writer until the day I die and then some.

[Medieval Monday will return next week as I begin an exciting new series on Awesome Medieval Technology!]

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33 thoughts on “How I Became A Writer

  1. That was a great ORIGIN story, and SO what I hoped to reveal with this blogfest. Not to sound to ARNOLD…but, I’ll be back! :)

  2. “I have boxes and boxes of spiral-bound notebooks with stories I started, ideas I’ve had, and boys I’ve had crushes on. ” << I still have those!! If I try to pass it on to computer, I'll spend months typing it out lol Perhaps I should try to scan them so I won't lose them lol
    Great story! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hello Merry,
    This is a wonderful Origins post! I’m visiting thanks to that blogfest,by the way :) Very nice to meet you! Teachers have so much power to shape the lives and imaginations of kids! I’m always happy to read stories about awesome teachers like your Mr. Morley.

    Happy Monday!
    Jen

    • Mr. Morley is a wonderful guy. He was back then and he still is now. I actually set my novels The Loyal Heart and The Faithful Heart in Derbyshire in his honor because the town of Morley is located there. ;)

  4. I love that shirt! LOL. I have a ton of loose-leaf paper I wrote on…wish I would have thought of spiral notebooks, journals even! Would have kept everything organized. Wonderful story!

  5. Hi Merry, nice to meet you. That was a great story and I love that picture of you as a young girl. (I have two daughters, so I must have the parental clone complex).

    My writing supported me, as well, when I went through a bad time in my life. I couldn’t talk about it to others, but I could write it down, so I could examine what I was feeling. My writing helped me sort out what was important in life to me, and where I wanted to be in the near future. I was far from family and didn’t want to worry them, so it was a self-help process. Things looked up after that, and my writing had helped me to survive one of life’s roadblocks. I never put it down after that.

    • Writing is a wonderful tool for therapy, isn’t it. There have been many times that I was able to journal my way through tough emotions. And that’s not even counting putting those emotional experiences into fiction!

  6. Clearly, you were meant to be a romance writer!

    I’m so happy you still have all your old notebooks. Sadly my mean high school self purged the writing of my elementary school self. :(

    And I love your t-shirt!

    • Ooo! never let the mean high school self win! Although I guess it’s too late for that. I was always told to never throw away anything you’ve ever written because at the very least it can show you how far you’ve come.

  7. I love that you wrote about a wasp! Great story – thanks for sharing.

    Also, I love the shirt. I would really like it in poster form for my classroom.

  8. What a wonderful story of how you became a writer-you’ve always been one. I love the line about not having to wait for an assignment to write. I also have boxes and boxes of heavy notebooks that I have hauled around each time I have moved. I love my computer, but I still write my first draft on a plain notebook with a pen (it has to be a blue, needle point rollar ball.)

    • I used to feel the need to write every first draft with pen, but then I got to the point where I could type faster than I could write by hand. Then I switched over entirely. I get nervous about losing data, and I’ve had my computer crash in the middle of an important scene which was then lost, but now I have, like, a thousand back-up storage places, so I’ll never lose anything! =D

  9. Pingback: How I Became A Writer | Merry Farmer | Friendship Pictures

  10. How great he didn’t make you read that story to the class. I like that you made your crush a wasp. It’s not silly to struggle at that age with all you were going through. My nieces lost their father last year and are still struggling. Will be back for Medieval Mondays.

  11. I totally hear you on the best friend in another classroom thing – I was separated from all my friends in the playground after I’d skipped a grade, and older kids (ha!) weren’t allowed to play with younger ones.
    Love the prospects of a brand new notebook!

  12. I think you should dig out some of those notebooks & share some tidbits :) I too have many crates full of ‘old stuff’ – be it old stories or notes, or old high school/uni assignments, or something else altogether.

    • Well, I do dig those notebooks out from time to time, but I’m always struck by how awful most of it is. LOL. I’ve definitely improved. I like a lot of the ideas I came up with though. Maybe someday I’ll recycle them….

  13. I MUST HAVE THAT SHIRT. *g*

    Hi, Merry!
    Once again, Writing comes to the rescue! How fortunate that you found a release in storytelling. There are a great many children in this world (myself included) who suffer through traumatic experiences, but who often turn to other vices to ease their pain and confusion. I’d much rather enter a fictional world where my imagination helps me conquer my fears… Than to disappear completely into self-denial.

    It has been such a great experience getting to know all of these wonderful writers in this Fest! I’m so glad I finally made it round to yours!

  14. Pingback: Origins « Linda Adams' Blog

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