I don’t remember the first time I thought, “Hey, I’d like to write.” Some people have a specific incident they can point to as the exact moment they decided to become a writer. Truthfully, I think writing chose me.
I remember lying in the grass during summers at my grandparents’ house, staring up at the clouds and noticing them taking shape. I’d see dinosaurs, faces, hearts and bears. The idea that I may be the only one experiencing this kind of magic made me feel lonely. I desperately wanted to share what I was seeing with another person.
In junior high, our class read the book Where the Red Fern Grows together. We had to read some parts at home, and some parts were read aloud in class. The ending is quite sad, and I remember looking around the room and seeing my classmates crying. The idea that we were all sharing the same emotion, just because of a book, made a huge impact on me.
As I got older, books really began to give gave me a way to understand the world around me. I loved nonfiction, or fictional works which were (or seemed like they could be) based on true stories. I wanted to know about life, about real life. I understood that there were things happening outside of my very small world, and I wanted to know about all of them.
I’ve been dabbling in writing my whole life, but only began taking it seriously 7 years ago. I had been consuming information for so long, never putting back out there that which I was so quick to take in. On a whim (that’s a story for another time) I joined a site, and put my very first piece out there for the world to read.
I was terrified and excited at the same time. I didn’t have an expectation that anyone would actually read it, but the thought that my work was exposed like that frayed my nerves a bit. I kept writing until people started reading.
The desire for connectedness is something all humans feel. We want to know that what’s in our heads and hearts is shared by another. This isn’t something that comes easily to those of us living rather invisibly.
Is writing an introvert’s career? We live in a world which praises extroverts, and criticizes those of us who live in our own minds. I believe writing is a way for introverts to be extroverted, even if it is through our computer screens. It allows us to communicate the thoughts and ideas we’ve always had, but hadn’t been able to express before.
I’m happy that I felt that pang of loneliness while looking at the clouds all those years ago. I’m happy that my teacher made us read a book she knew would make everyone cry. I’m happy that I had so many ideas, but nowhere to express them.
Those were simply side effects of writing choosing me.