Author Q & A: When and How Did You Realize Writing Was What You Wanted to Do?
July 12, 2018
In college, I had a required English course. I was in the middle of a Natural Resource Management major, and man, was I struggling with all of the left-brain prerequisites. We were assigned a creative non-fiction, outdoor-themed writing assignment, and I really, really enjoyed it. I love the outdoors, and I was allowed to write about it instead of somehow crunch numbers (incorrectly) about it.
When I got my paper back, my teacher said it was one of the best papers he's received and told me I needed to change majors. So I did. (I guess all I needed was a good ego boost--especially since I had been doubting whether or not I even belonged in college. I was struggling in almost every course--asking professors for extra help after class and signing up for additional tutoring.
After I changed majors, I changed advisors--and wrote down the professor's name who told me I had to be a writer. HA!
Throughout the rest of my college career, that same teacher submitted work I did in his class to contests and signed me up for writing internships--all without my request or knowledge. I still can't believe how lucky I am to have had an advisor/mentor like him. (I think it's time to send him another thank-you card.) So I guess the answer is that I never knew that writing was what I wanted to do until someone told me I needed to do it.
I've written for a newspaper, a hunting and fishing magazine, and I've slowly chipped away at the big goal: a dystopian novel.
I started work on Who Cooks for You? when I worked at a publishing company. I was learning a lot about children's books as I managed other authors' projects, and the shorter book goal seemed more manageable than the thousands-of-words novel. It was definitely not easy (less words mean they have to be the right words), but it was less intimidating than the novel, so I went after it.
Now, after some confidence boosting about my illustration abilities, I'm working on children's book number two as the author and illustrator.
And within ten years I will have that novel manuscript finished.