Why I write.

Writer’s are a nutty group of people. Most  of us go around all day with people talking in our heads. Schizo? Some of us might be but most of us started out as day dreamers. I know I did. Can any of you relate to that?

I was a little kid when Cheers was on television. My mother used to let me watch with her before bedtime. And after she would tuck me in and say goodnight I would lay awake and create my own storylines. I desperately wanted Sam and Rebecca to get married. (I was never a Diane fan.) I used to dream of them kissing and saying I love you or whatever other romantic thing a six year old could dream of. Later when I was in high school, biology was my favorite time to drift off. (Wasn’t a fan of my nasal voiced bio teacher. Still shudder when I think about her.) I used to wonder what would happen if the blonde goddess Justina,(sat in front of me) got together with the uni-browed Billy (sat beside me). An entire courtship played out in my mind including the breakup  because let’s face it homecoming queens don’t date boys who play the tuba. Was that weird? Yes. The other girls were dreaming of becoming the future Mrs. Timberlake and I was dreaming about other people’s romances.

I didn’t realize at the tender age of fifteen that those were my beginnings as a romance writer. I didn’t realize that I wanted to write at all until my senior year of college. EDR 345 is a literacy for children class that all education majors at my school have to take and one of the requirements is to keep a writer’s notebook. There were no parameters given to us about this notebook, no rules or directions. All we were instructed to do was write and write a lot. We needed a staggering one hundred entries before the end of the semester and to top it all of we had to choose five to share with our professor. Of course after hearing this there were many bitter twenty year olds. The only thing most of us had ever written were papers and even then the professor told us what to write about. We had to be creative, to use our imaginations and for some of my peers it was extremely difficult. I was expecting it to be that way for me but it wasn’t. My notebook filled quickly and it was fairly easy for me to choose five entries to share with my professor.

A week after I handed my notebook in I received it back with a neon pink sticky note   with SEE ME!, on it. My stomach dropped. Was it really that bad? I stayed after class, taking the walk of shame to my professor’s desk.

“You wanted to see me, Dr. Courtney?”

“Yeah, but what’s with the face? You look like I just ran over your cat.”

I’ll never forget what she said next, because I still hear her thick New England accent in my head. “Eighty percent of what I get from you guys is total rot, but some of you take it seriously, even if you didn’t mean to. You my dear, are a writer. You have to write and I would be sorely disappointed if you stopped writing just because you finished the assignment.”

I had an AHA moment that day. I went back to my dorm, pick up a pen and haven’t stopped writing. I’m sure my professor doesn’t realize she made such an impact on me or if she even remembers me at all, but she is the reason why I started to seriously write.

We’ve all had a moment like that. What was yours? What made you want to become a writer? 

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13 thoughts on “Why I write.”

  1. I’ve always loved to write. As a child, I would do the same thing, watch tv shows and write my own versions using those characters. When I hit college, my freshman year, two of my English professors asked me to tutor other students in writing. That was probably the first time, others had pointed out to me that I should keep writing. That was an eye opener, but it wasn’t until 1996 that I finally decided I was going for it. I’m sad to say I didn’t finish my first book until 2009. And that was because my characters were tormenting me. It drove me nuts that I hadn’t finished any of my books. I decided I didn’t want to die and have my kids find all these half finished manuscripts.

    1. That’s part of the reason I got my behind in front of a computer. I can’t leave all those manuscripts unfinished.

  2. Jamie, THAT was a great story! You sound like a Hallmark card. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to find the teacher and let her know. Over the last 20 years my journey had been inspired by publishers. Is that not strange? I got solicited to write design/history of design non-fiction. Tough assignments. It was a narrow escape. Since, always thinking about writing, maybe only my memoirs. But I found something better. The book i am writing now was inspired by a 19th century Yosemite painting i copied for a museum, where the painting once hung. I got permission from the owners to copy this amazing work of art. While painting I wondered about the artist’s life. How did he get the info for the art? His travels with survey teams to the west were to sketch and photograph. He traveled with his journalist friend, who wrote about the journey. He ended up with the journalist’s wife. My heart pounded in my ears muddling in research. My characters became flesh, they had real lives, they breathe, they love, they divorce, they marry. I had to write their story. How to do this? I needed help. I found CTRWA because of Kristan and Toni. They gave a talk at my local library in Fairfield. I must have looked desperate when i said to them, “i need help writing, do you have any suggestions?” Toni said “join CTRWA.” Kristan concurred. You know the rest of the story. Greatest group ever!

  3. I write because there is nothing else I can think of that brings me so much joy than taking a bunch of thoughts and words and putting them down in a way that flows like music.

    My cheeks hurt when I’ve been writing for a long time. Because all I can do is smile when I’m writing…except when I’m making myself cry.

  4. If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

  5. Loved your post Jamie and I’m glad that you got such a huge “pat on the back” from that instructor. I love to write because I like to entertain, enlighten, (sometimes just myself, it seems int terms of the first two reasons),and create. When I write I feel invigorated and somehow whole. Thanks again for a wonderful piece.

    Debralee Mede

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