Monday, May 10, 2010

What did you want to be. . . ?

Interviewers often ask, "When did you know you wanted to be a writer?" My first instinct is to say that I can't remember when I didn't want to be a writer. It's true that writing became my favorite thing to do at a very early age. From about first grade on, when I wasn't doing schoolwork or other activities, I could usually be found in my bedroom writing a poem or story or "novel."

But the fact is, at one time (I think when I was in around 5th grade maybe) I thought I might like to be a pediatrician, and around that same time I also thought I would like to be a veterinarian.

Then I found out that in order to be a pediatrician or veterinarian, you had to be good at science. Who knew? I wasn't terribly interested in science, nor did I do all that well at it in school (in other words, I tended to struggle to bring home a B rather than a C, and sometimes did not succeed). I also discovered that in order to pursue those careers, I would probably have to dissect animals in school -- possibly even cats. That put me right off!

So perhaps it's no surprise that at this stage in my writerly life, I am enjoying writing books about animals (veterinarian) for young children (pediatrician). I find that these are the types of books that have the most meaning for me personally, the ones that make me feel the best inside.

It's funny how my earliest interests have stayed with me throughout my life, and how they influence my writing every day.

Do you see a connection between what you thought you wanted to be in your early years and what you write about? Do you tend to write about things that fascinated you or appealed to you during childhood?


  1. I started out writing about unicorns. While I no longer write about fantastical creatures, I do still love to write fantasy.

    And yes, I always wanted to be a writer from as far back as I remember. For a while I even considered archaeology and worked in museums. I was never one who liked "normal" careers. :-)

  2. I hear you, Michelle! I've had a lot of "normal" jobs (not what I'd necessarily call "careers" but they helped pay the bills). None of them did much for me (well, except for that paying the bills part. . . LOL!)

  3. I never thought I could write, and I didn't start to read novels avidly until I was in my thirties - yes I read what I had to read at school, but not necessarily because I wanted to. Now at 59 I can't read enough!

    Then one day not quite two years ago, I thought I'd like to have a go at writing, but I didn't know where to start. So I looked up on the internet and found the BBC site 'Lets Write.' It said write about anything, it doesn't matter what, just do it. That day I went for a walk and came home and wrote a short piece about my walk. I sent this to an author/writer friend of mine and she was so encouraging. The next day I started to write a novel, this friend of mine followed it every step of the way, encouraging me to get the ideas down and believing in my ability to do it.

    A year and a half later, I have almost finished the rewrites of this novel (having written lots of short stories in between) and my friend continues to encourage and support me, for without her I may never have believed enough in myself to think I could be a writer.

    Writing for me now, is like painting pictures with words. It is an expression of thought, feeling and imagination all drawn together to form one glorious vision of an initial idea.

  4. Helen, it's so exciting that you're expressing your creativity in words as well as in images! I think it's a distinct advantage to have those "artist's sensibilities" working for you in your writing.

  5. I remember my first 'novel' from grade two. I had written it about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (My parents are big Gordon Lightfoot fans) and it came complete with hand drawn pictures colored with pencil crayons.

    It began with "When the Edmund Fitzgerald sank, lots of people died. You should have seen it!" Lol!

    I had several career plans in my childhood that included teacher, ballet dancer, librarian, and pirate, but I always went back to writing.

    This time, my heart really means it and wants it, and my brain and determination are in agreement.

    It's a good thing because writing is the most irritating, mind-scrambling and wonderful thing I can think of. I just want more.

  6. Donna, what a great story about your first novel! (I love that Gordon Lightfoot song.) It sounds like things are really coming together for you now with your writing.

  7. Fantastic post Scotti. I love that you included your original handwritten work from way back when! I remember doing that in grade school too!

  8. Hey Scotti! I just gave you a blog award. Visit my blog to see it. :-)


So, what do you say?