Have I always been a writer?

When I read interviews of authors I admire, they always talk about how they “always knew they wanted to be a writer.”  They talk about the stories they used to write anywhere and everywhere, ever since they were little.  And I love stories like that, I really do.

But I am trying to be a writer, and when I think back on it… It was when I was 13 or 14 that I got the writing bug.  THAT’s when I started planning stories and writing with friends and writing on school bus trips by the light of my iPod.  I always (and this is where my self-doubt comes in) wondered why I didn’t start sooner.  Would I be a better writer if I had started sooner?  Can I be considered a writer if I didn’t start sooner?

There was a period of my life where I didn’t write.  When I was in the 5th grade, I failed some state standardized writing test we had to take (Have I mentioned I hate standardized tests?).  They made my mom do writing workshops with me.  They threatened to put me in remedial writing classes, even though I was in advanced reading classes.  I remember feeling embarrassed and awful that I wasn’t a good writer.  I remember the sick feeling in my stomach that gave me.  It wasn’t until 7th or 8th grade that I was able to pick up writing again.

This week (it’s spring break, weeee!), I was helping my mom clean out my old bedroom when I stumbled upon it.  The evidence that maybe I have always been a writer.  In the top drawer of my old dresser was stowed away autobiographies, reports, silly stories about my friends and made-up characters, and newspapers that I created (about the solar system, about trips to grandma’s house), all written before that terrible 5th grade test.  I had forgotten all about them.

And I wish I had taken pictures to post here.  My silly stories with my terrible handwriting.

I know it’s dumb, to find this kind of thing validating, but it’s nice.  It’s nice to see how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go.

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