Home > Life, Writing > On knowing when you wanted to be a writer

On knowing when you wanted to be a writer

Over the last several months I’ve expanded my reading to include blogs written by writers or other aspiring authors. After my first visit, I usually check out the “About Me” section so that I can get a feel for the person behind the blog. All well and good, and I always enjoy learning about other people with interests similar to mine (as in writing). But there’s one thing that I read in pretty much every “About Me” I’ve seen so far. And it kind of bums me out.

Everyone out there with a writing/aspiring author blog has known from a very young age that they wanted to be a writer. Seems like it’s pretty common for elementary age kids or junior high kids to somehow have been magically swept up into the dream of being a writer someday. When I was young (in those same age groups), I was a voracious reader of almost all kinds of books. But somehow, that love of reading didn’t translate into a desire to write. I don’t know why. I do remember, however, when I first became intrigued with the idea of writing.

I pretty much stopped recreational reading after graduating from college. With a full-time job and learning how to become a father, pretty much all my time was used just to keep up. But in 1986, for reasons I can’t remember, I decided to pick up a book and start reading. Perhaps it was the title, perhaps it was front cover, or perhaps it was the author’s name (well known to say the least). Or maybe it was just the sheer size of the tome that provoked a challenge I couldn’t refuse: read me, read me if you dare.

Probably everyone who doesn’t know me would find it pretty much impossible to guess which book I chose just based on the year. Well, here’s a hint: the cover consists of a gutter, a small, paper sail boat, and green fingers sprouting claws poking from beneath a metal grate. Need another clue? Ok, the title is one word and is a pronoun. Well, the final clue is the name of the author: Stephen King. The book in question? One of his greatest, and one of his longest at over 1000 pages. If you still can’t guess, I’ll go ahead and tell you: IT

From the beginning, this book had me hooked. Every spare moment I had was devoted to King’s latest novel. Most of this time came late at night after everyone was in bed. It was during one of these late night reads that King did to me what I thought no book could ever do: he scared the crap out me. So much so that I found myself looking around in the dark for a boogeyman. After that, I closed the book and tried to go to sleep, but sleep was a long time in coming that particular night.

Wow. Just through words alone, and a pretty good imagination on my part, I’d been frightened in a way I thought could only happen while watching a movie. Up until then, the only scares I’d encountered were through movies, so it came as a complete surprise to me that a book could elicit such feelings. I was hooked. Not just on scary stories, but on King himself. His writing, to me, flowed effortlessly from scene to scene and from character to character. He literally painted pictures in my mind of a place called Derry, Maine, and described wonderful characters (and a monster) to fill the story.

This amazing reading experience did two things to me: 1) made me a huge fan of Stephen King/horror; and 2) somehow lit in me a powerful desire to write. While the first one I understand, the second I don’t. I mean, why would getting myself scared by a book make me want to write those very same types of books? I don’t know the answer to that yet, but perhaps someday I’ll understand. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to be happy that I did catch the writing bug. I may never be a big time author, but it sure is fun trying.


Categories: Life, Writing Tags: ,
  1. Miss Kitty Roads
    March 16, 2012 at 3:48 am

    NaNoWriMo three years ago on a dare. Yep that is when the bug to write truly hit me. The desire to share my stories hit me this year when I joined an online adult writers group through NaNo.

    The ladies I met encouraged me to share my stories, they loved my ideas and have been a big support in my journey so far. But up until the writing bug hit me, I really have been a jack of all trades, a mother, and a military wife. Childhood goals long forgotten save one which is also coming true for me, but that is a story for another day. πŸ˜‰

    Keep writing and before you know it you’ll have that tome you desire only this time instead of King written in the author by line, it will be your name. Keep at it. πŸ™‚

    • March 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement. Perhaps an online writer’s group would be helpful to me as well, though I haven’t really the slightest idea how to go about find one.

  2. Tara
    March 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I am one of those who knew from a very early age. My love of reading and my painful shyness and social ineptness, along with the help of an angel (my 5th grade teacher) brought me very naturally into writing when I was 9-10 years old. Too bad talent didn’t magically appear as well. πŸ˜‰ And unlike you, I found what I wrote by myself, long before I ever found that there were books somewhat like what I wrote. Even now I don’t really know how to categorize what I write other than emotional dramas with “happy” endings because I don’t fit well into any genre but fiction. πŸ˜‰

    For me it’s not about becoming a big-time author. I don’t think I’d want that pressure! It’s just about writing the stories that are in my head and doing the best with them that I can. I guess in writing, like in music and all aspects of my life, I don’t have huge goals that I’ll be heartbroken if I don’t achieve. It’s more about enjoying the journey and just being happy with it as it is. πŸ™‚

    Happy writing!

    • March 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks, Tara. I wish I had someone encourage me in writing when I was younger. You were fortunate to have someone like your 5th grade teacher in your life at that time.

      Emotional dramas with happy endings sounds like a great genre, though it’s a bit wordy πŸ™‚

      Ultimately, simply pursuing the life of a writer and writing about those things that are on your mind would be enough for me as well. The only thing better would be knowing that somewhere out there, someone is enjoying reading what you’ve written. I suppose these are the things that writer’s really desire. If you make money at it, even better πŸ™‚

  3. Miss Kitty Roads
    April 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I tagged you for my Lucky 7. You don’t have to participate, but it could be fun. Either way, love your site. Happy writing.

  4. Ben
    April 6, 2012 at 4:53 am

    King’s one of my favorite authors as well. I like a lot of his books, but the one that I felt–it’s hard to describe, but “truest” is the word that works best–for me was Lisey’s Story, because it is about writing, about marriage, and about imagination.

    • April 8, 2012 at 3:06 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Ben. Nice to know of another King fan. I must admit that I’ve not yet read Lisey’s Story, which only goes to show you how far behind I am in my reading (in general, and Stephen King). I recently purchased a Kindle and that seems to be helping me read more.

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