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When Did You Know You Wanted To Be a Writer? (1 Viewer)

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Senior Member
I am sure this is an old or common question over the years for regular people. For me I did not realize it until I got older. Although I look back and see the signs in my life. For instance I really didn't start being a writer until 2006 when I wrote a fiction novel. When I was 42 years old. I got to 2 drafts and met with an publisher in a hotel lobby. I never really got it to a publishable format. It was well on the way there though. So what happened between then and 42. I just never took these thoughts of writing seriously. And I have an ADD type quality to my life and have a hard time focusing. Although I do and can.

I remember I wrote a book of poetry when I was 15 and it was called the Bareback Rider. All about different experiences at a Circus. Although it was a metaphor for my life. I remember I had English at the time and the teacher Ms. Ready loved it. At the time I was much more interested i drawing portraits and got a lot of attention for this. I remember going for Christmas at my grandparents and sketching them in the morning at coffee. And my grandfather's profile while driving his station wagon. If I hadn't been able to draw I might have found writing sooner.

When I got my painting degree my final project was an adult comic book. I made the book. It was called "Three Blind Existential Mice". Each of the mice are famous people who have a terrible downfall and end up blind and homeless on the street so outcasted that no one will help them except this one care worker. I illustrated all the pictures and spent almost a year on it really. In a way you only have time for in your youth. Anyway, I laugh at the mice characters, it was the 80's. The three blind existential mice are Jimmy Carter, John Travolta and Madonna.

After University me and my now former husband who died at the beginning of January this year of a heart attack both needed jobs. Me and Art major and he and English major we decided we needed job skills. So we marched ourselves to the local technical school and signed up for classes. We both ended up in the medical areas. We divorced and never had children and had pretty much lost touch when he died. Strangely I am still mourning him.
We have been divorced so long it hardly seems worth it to call his family.

I spent most of my free time painting in my 20's. Mostly abstract portraits from memory. Big sale for those. Anyway, in my early 30's after my divorce I started thinking of novel titles. I would always imagine a series of books on a shelf. I would doodle the novel titles during meetings. Sometimes I would show the list to a friend. Meanwhile I started going to a weekly drawing class with a model and kept sketching for fun but became less and less interested in painting. Then I went to graduate school and my work paid for it as I worked at a big place that did these things.

And I applied for a scholarship and weirdly my ex-husband wrote the application. He owed me some, more than a little, money and I told him I would forget the loan if he wrote my application. He did a great job. As he knew me and my struggles pretty well. And I won the scholarship basically based on his strong application. With the money I put my job on hold for a year and went to Paris. While there I started keeping a journal. And taking photographs and mostly I just went to museums and looked at art. It was fun and there are a lot of neat people in Paris. I had a friend from NM there.

Then I ended up marrying a French man and having a son. At first when I came back to France the 2nd time. My 1st was my year of graduate school. I had all the time in the world while my paperwork got processed. It would be months. So I started outlining a book. The 15 or so characters and the chapters small descriptions of what happens in each scene. Story boarding it and I had a friend whose wife was a writer and he is the one that gave me the two books on writing Caroline See Making a Literary Life and the other by Elizabeth George who is a mystery writer.

Anyway I wrote my first novel in about 4 months and the second draft and trying to find a publisher 8 months and then started working in France and had a son and pretty much put it aside. Now my son is 14 and again I am in the situation of having to wait for my French paperwork to get back in order. And don't plan to take a job until September. So here I am outlining again and I am way in the country and there are not other writers around me now so I am online like everyone else now. It is fun to see people being writers. Anyway, I am a writer now. Today.

Working on a fiction novel called "Unspoken Mermaid" that is the last book in a detective series. Although it is a Romance Contemporary fiction. And not part of the series but it are these characters that I will use in my series I think. Back 15 years ago when I tried writing that novel. I blogged a lot on a blog called Redroom Writers which is disbanded now. I enjoyed the experience but it was time consuming and for now pay. I liked the readers though.
So, I have always been a big reader. And I don't read as much now. Maybe 2 books a month.

What got me thinking of this topic are 2 things. Watching Grace and Frankie on netflix. The gay men come out in their 70s and one has terrible regrets about not coming out sooner and living such a double life. And I relate to that. I wish I had been more true to myself and followed writing sooner. I feel like a gay man who should have come out sooner. And then reading about writers who live lives of writing. How brave and how meaningful. Sometimes my son makes some noise about wanting to be a writer. He has many talents I don't know what he will decide. Somehow I don't think he is miserable
enough to be a writer somehow.



Staff member
I think since shortly after I read my first several books. I can remember writing a story in longhand at about age 10. However, for many years I did much more reading than writing, and I think that's a good thing. My idea of quality writing had a lot of good examples to influence me. Highly successful authors dominated my reading choices.

My wife reads even more than I do, as she has fewer hobbies. Shortly after we got married, I suggested we might collaborate on writing a novel, and was surprised to find out she had no interest in writing. I had some internal idea that every voracious reader aspired to be a writer, but I was wrong. :)

I became a professional writer at age 24, when I launched a business where almost 100% of the revenues came from driving interaction fiction in various adventure genres.
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Senior Member
vranger, I enjoy hearing how people come to this. I was always a big reader and am a digressive story teller if you haven't already noticed. You story made me remember when I sincerely wanted to start being a writer. I worked 2 years writing reports before computers. They where dizzyingly complicated and detailed. I became and expert at it from 1992-1994. I really got into it for my job. I would get compliments from the big wigs and it was by these writings that I got a very good reputation and was able to work some pretty great jobs over the 15 years I was at that place. I thought about the reports all the time. Would wake up thinking about them and go to sleep thinking about them. It has been many years and some people still mention them. I made the reports like short stories. It is like i wrote 5 to 8 shorts stories a day for 2 full years. I am not joking. So got practice. So yes writing a lot helps. Anyway thanks it is great to hear when we start thinking we can do this. BR LV


Senior Member
Writing is an unavoidable consequence of reading for me. I've never understood how people can be so interested in watching or consuming something without wanting to create it. I literally wouldn't be able to sit still if I didn't write down my ideas.


Staff member
Senior Mentor
I began writing when I was in grammar school. I had a teacher, a nun, who was from Ireland (brogue and all), who stood about 4'11 and we all adored her. She told us we could not go on to 7th grade, with a serious expression on her face, unless we learned to do the Irish Jig. So periodically the desks would be pushed aside and she would create a floor for us to practice. We all made it. So, the first story I ever wrote - and assignment from this nun - included the words "the wee children," which got a tearful but happy nod from my idol, and I knew - just by her reaction - that writing was something I would do forever. And not just writing, but writing words that made people cry, or laugh, or remember. She was a gift to us all and a real inspiration. I even wrote about her on my website, if you care to read more.

My Sister Mary Story


Staff member
Board Moderator
At fourteen, I knew I wanted to write for a living.

At twenty I figured I could do it.

At twenty-seven the wheels fell off.

Around thirty I put them back on.

I'm closer to forty than thirty now and still not sure if this is feasible, but it's cheaper than a crack habit and marginally less damaging.


Senior Member
In first grade, I was five years old. I learned that people wrote the books the teacher read to us, that it was an actual job. From that day, I knew. Before that, I thought everyone made up stories but had no idea about books. We didn't have any at home. Once I learned to write, when I saw that letters made words and words made stories, I was hooked. Almost sixty years ago. Wow. How time flies!


The first time I read Edgar Allan Poe (which would've been when I was around 12 or so), I realized I wanted to try and do such beautiful things with words as he could do. I realize I'll never get there, but I keep trying anyways.


Senior Member
I remember reading a book on Roman history at a fairly young age (probably eight) and trying to write a piece of military historical fiction based on that. I tried to make the battle scenes visceral by using onomatopoeia like 'ting-ting!' and 'bluh!' (for when someone got stabbed, obviously) which, funnily enough, is something I still sometimes do.
I was maybe 12 or 13, telling my brother about this extended daydream I would do where, in some post-apocalyptic future, water was so scarce that you had to get your hydration in a condensed form as these thin, chewy "rations" (I would pretend that the blue Sour Punch Straws were this), and that instead of water being used for recreation or other non-drinking purposes, they had to manufacture another clear liquid substance. So if I was at a waterpark or lake I would pretend that the water "wasn't really water." (for some reason this was really, really fun for me, particularly the Sour Punch Straws part). And my brother said, "When are you going to actually do something with your imagination?" And that really got me thinking. I was like, yeah, I'm becoming a teenager, which is basically adulthood (lol), so I should really use it for something other than playing.

Even after that, I didn't really write; I just had all these grand schemes for books or comics I would write. I drew a lot of characters and wrote a lot of random beginnings or "plans." Then we had a poetry unit in 7th grade. I realized I was kind of good at poetry, but I was still pretty meh about it: I thought of poetry as boring, since the way we were taught it focused on free verse, nature, and feelings. THEN in my freshman year of high school I read The Kalevala, and that was the real turning point. I was like, oh my gosh, you can tell stories with poetry! How cool! And I started actually writing, joined this website (at the prompting of my English teacher, if I remember correctly -- she told me to find a writing community), and it all grew out from there.

Still, I didn't really consider myself A Writer until I had a few things that I was really proud of finished and/or published. I think it's more the finishing and less the publishing, though -- when you're just writing snippets, you just kind of let your primordial ideas "come out," which doesn't really feel like authorship, to me. What feels like authorship is when I have a vision, and then I execute it, and even if there's flaws the vision comes out essentially intact. Like, "I want to write a poem about Kullervo and the apocalypse in rhyming couplets," and then I successfully complete a poem about Kullervo and the apocalypse in rhyming couplets. That's what makes me think, wow, I could do this forever.


Senior Member
This is an odd tangent and no weirder than most. I remember in 4th grade sitting in the very last seat in class in the back room by the window. And so bored I would look at the books on the shelves under the window that ran the entire room. And there were heaters on top of the counters along and under the windows that we used to lay our mittens on after recess. So looking at the drying damp mittens in the very far corner of the room I remember there was a book of Wheelers Latin grammar book. And reading it and just fascinated by it. And realizing that it was a language. A bit like Italian. And I read the book 4 times. And maybe as many as who knows how many times until I basically memorized it. And when I was 15 I had the chance to take latin and the teacher was shocked at background. Where did you study she asked me after a few days. I just read a book on latin grammar in 4th grade. Although that was far from the truth I worshipped that book and lived with that book and ate that book. And it was strange because I had been the star student in 3rd grade in the front row or 3rd grade and it was a sad story of how I went from the front row in third grade to the back corner in 4th grade. Just somebody mentioned being interested in war history and another a book on Poe. I remember the first book I checked out at a book mobile was a book of Poe in 1st grade. It had a picture of a raven on the cover and I liked it and it was slim. The book mobile librarian didn't want to lend it to me and wanted me to take another book. As I went to a country school without a library and the book mobile came once a month. I do remember that clearly insisting at 6 years old to take that book and read the entire thing. And I remember reading my first novel in 2nd grade under the desk to hide it. It was the Bad Seed. By a writer named March. I later read about his life. He had been a WWI solder and had bayoneted a young blond German in the throat in a hand to hand combat. Had chronic throat psychosomatic symptoms through his life. After the war wrote disturbing psychological thrillers as a result perhaps maybe not. He always wanted to be a lawyer. If i remember correctly he died before the movie was made. Anyway, I think I found the book at home as my mother was a big reader. I don't think my mother wanted to be a writer i think she would have liked to have been an actress. The reasons I became a writer are not easy to understand for myself.


Probably when I was 13 and laid on the floor of my uncles livingroom. I'd dabbled in sentences, mainly to try and work in all those lovely new words I'd learned but never really had a clue how to use them properly. If I recall 'vortex' featured heavily in most, as did 'effervescence'. I'd started The Hobbit and was trying to write a story that featured: A tunnel with the ends of worms poking through! Wherever did I get that idea? I didn't write much. All I remember is there were two 'protagonists' (another word I was chuffed to know) and everything was 'we' did this or 'we' did that. It never occurred to me at the time that two people shouldn't be treated as one. Maybe it was a sign of loneliness ... who knows.


Senior Member
I didn't have much choice in the matter. My imagination has always kept me company, as far back as I can recall anyway, and entertained me far more than anything outside myself. The first story I wrote was in fifth grade and I'm certain it was awful. Yet, the feeling I had while writing it was full immersion in the land of imagination. It's an indescribable joy for me to get so lost in the stories that want so badly to be told.

Darren White

co-owner and admin
Staff member
It's not so much a "wanted to be" but a "had to be". I had to be a poet, as long as I can remember I have written poems. Oh, I did try fiction, but some micro-fiction aside it's not for me. Poetry is. I'm obsessed by it, it's what I read, write, eat and drink.

Cool Breeze

Senior Member
I've always had a dream to be a writer.

My father and mother are both avid readers even today, in their late eighties, and they used to encourage me to read all the time when I was a child growing up in England. Dad still to this day calls me and tells me about a book he's read that he thinks I'll enjoy.

My love for writing started when I was an English teacher in a secondary school (no matter how long I've lived in America, my English has never really become Americanised) in Plymouth. It was my first girlfriend who told me I'd be an excellent teacher, and I had a passion for reading, but it wasn't until I wrote two failed manuscripts that I realised I also had a passion for writing.

This carried over into my career as a lawyer. I've prepared many documents for many cases, and although it isn't quite the same as writing fiction, I have been writing in some form for the better part of four decades.


It's not so much a "wanted to be" but a "had to be". I had to be a poet, as long as I can remember I have written poems. Oh, I did try fiction, but some micro-fiction aside it's not for me. Poetry is. I'm obsessed by it, it's what I read, write, eat and drink.
I went the exact opposite route here. I started out writing (really, really, REALLY bad) rhyming poetry, and I made everyone read it. Not one of my so-called friends told me how utterly awful it was. I had to figure that out for myself a few years down the road, at which point I switched to prose. And then I didn't let a soul read it for a very long time. :lol:
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