Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lifetime writer?

The other day someone asked me how long I'd been writing for. I didn't really think that much about it and said "since about 2008."

I realized when I was walking home last night that was a huge lie.

2008 was when I admitted I was a writer. It was when I started showing people my work. I joined and began critiquing and getting critiques, but I was a writer long before that.

I've always written. Even in the periods of my life I think I wasn't writing, I realize I was. I wrote as a child, just little stories mostly, but I remember writing a book about volcanoes when I was 8 or 9. When I was 12, a teacher loved a story I wrote in class and that sparked me to fill notebook after notebook with stories. I'm sure they're all awful. One day I'll work up the courage to dig them out of that box in the shed to see. The first drafts of both Assignment 9 and Holding it together came from this period. There is one paragraph left in Assignment 9 from that first draft, the one paragraph that was the genesis of the novel.

In high school, I kept writing. I remember an English teacher telling me she had to vomit after reading one of my early attempts at horror. Then I got into drama and focused my energy on acting... and playwrighting. I did a couple of courses in playwrighting, and was involved with a young playwright's festival both as an actor and a writer several times.

I finished my first novel while at university. I've read that more recently and it's horrible. Moments of lovely writing, but overall awful. That one stays in the trunk. I had a friend who wanted to write too and we used to challenge one another with words and settings as prompts, something I had totally forgotten about. Later, my singer/songwriter friend and I did the same thing.

And I thought I wasn't writing during this time? I was. I wrote screenplays too. I found the notebook in which I had written one recently and had sudden flashes of myself in my dingy apartment in Sydney, trying to keep cool in the sweaty heat, scrawling this script in purple ink.

I did a correspondence writers course for a few months too, got 8 lessons in before my first son was born and I ran out of time. I never finished which is a shame... But the point is, I've never not written, something I failed to recognize about myself. I've always been a writer. It's not a recent thing, it's been a lifelong passion.

How about you? Have you always written and not realized it? Or are you a true newcomer?


  1. Yup, I'm in the same boat is you. My instinct is to reply and say I've been writing for a year, but that isn't true at all. I've always been a writer and I'm proud of that, even if the majority of what I've written is complete poo :)

  2. Like you've I've always written, but in my earlier years not realized - I know crazy - but it was just something I did here and there with no purpose... only more recently I decided to take it more seriously.


  3. My Mum once gave me a box of writing that I'd done as a child. I had done it when I was so young I have no memory of it at all; and we're talking stories several pages long too.

    So when people ask me, I always say "I've been a writer longer than I can remember."

  4. I've always written too, but I still haven't told most people that I write novels. Waiting for the right time.

  5. My first book was about my dog, Whiskey.

    Six pages. Color illustrations. Compelling first page.

    I was eight or nine.

  6. I've always loved writing. I won essay writing contests in third and fifth grades. LOL. As I got older, I didn't write as much. Well unless you count books of love poetry from my teen years. It wasn't until I was in my mid twenties that I started to write again.

  7. I've been writing since eighth grade, submitted something in high school got one rejection and thought I wasn't good enough. Well, in 2008 I realized I never stopped writing and I came out of my writing closet and went out into the world.