One of my favorite assignments in college was completing a writing autobiography. Since this is my first post, I thought I’d share a little bit of my journey. Hopefully, it’ll get you thinking about how you got where you are today.
Writing begins with reading. I was way too busy talking to learn to read until the second grade when someone suggested duct tape. But as you might suspect, my mom, Donita K. Paul, read to my brother and me. A lot. We’re talking stacks of books. We read all the children’s classics and were listening to The Lord of the Rings at the ages of seven and eight.
My brother devoured all that stuff, while I preferred fluffy titles like The Little Fur Family. I still prefer fluffy books, but maybe we should save that subject for another day.
Yes, I finally learned to read and very soon after discovered another outlet for my word overflow. Stories! My first ever was about a diver who discovered aliens underwater. They made a movie about it. Just kidding.
I was ten or eleven when I read Jane Eyre for the first time. That book changed something in my little world. I was in love with Rochester, of course. Who isn’t? But my subsequent readings revealed layer upon layer of treasure. Setting. Plot. Description. Action. CHARACTER. Even now I get goose bumps thinking about each of those elements in Jane Eyre.
Suddenly, reading was important to me, and, subconsciously, so was the writing craft. Although I continued with my first love, random babbling, I spent many hours reading. And tried my hand at short stories, poetry (gag!), and making book reports more fun (read: more creative but not entirely accurate.)
Fast forward to college: It became apparent that I wasn’t good at anything but writing. Actually, that worked out pretty well except when I tried to compare and contrast a multiple choice question on a physics exam.
I graduated with a degree in English with an emphasis in professional writing. I thought I was going to be an editor. I even worked as a proofreader until the company gently replaced my snoozing, pregnant self with someone less inclined to drool on the manuscripts.
I did the baby and kiddo thing. But in January of 2006, I had an unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage. I found myself needing a creative outlet. Something to fill the void, and so I started writing. My first novel was about friendships between men and women. It was in first person, present tense, and had three POVs. Yeah, not so great.
My second turned out better. Brandy and The Vine is about a Goth girl looking for a change. Turns out, her piercings and burgundy hair are the least of her worries. Brandy is out looking for a home right now. Poor thing, she’s a bit of a freak show.
Mom and I also co-wrote two picture books about a turtle and a dragon. Inspired by a last ditch attempt to get my then three-year-old to sleep, The Turtle and the Dragon will come out Spring of 2010. Followed by Padraig and Roger go on Safari in Summer of 2010.
That brings us to now. Like so many others, I’m juggling family and career. As an unpublished author, it’s okay if I occasionally let the writing stuff slip. But the boys really hate it when I drop them.
How about you? Is there a book that changed the course of your career path? The Little Fur Family perhaps? Are you one of those multi-talented individuals who came to writing after succeeding at everything else you tried? Or are you like me? Was there a moment in time when you found yourself hurting but somehow full of creativity?
What is your writing autobiography?