I remember writing a short story at primary school. I must’ve only been about six or seven at the time and it was a little creative story about a girl making friends with the monster who lived in her wardrobe (believe it or not, this was before the film Monsters Inc was released) and then she had to move house so she was sad because she was leaving her friend behind.
Apparently, I’ve never been the ‘write what you know’ kind of writer because I’ve lived in the same house for all of my life.
Anyway, as a result of writing this story I was sent around to other classrooms in the school to show off the work and I was very happy/embarrassed to be acknowledged in this way. Everyone was proud and encouraging and that’s probably the earliest, clearest memory I have about writing an original story.
Years later, when I went to university, in one of my first classes we were asked to answer some questions related to why we wanted to study English. I believe that one of the questions was related to our first memory of writing because, when I was asked to share I told the story that I’ve just told you.
The tutor implied that the idea of sharing a story in that way, at that age, would’ve put them off creative writing. I can understand why. It can be difficult to share something that you’ve worked hard on and, especially when you’re younger, any encouragement or negativity is a big concept. Yet, I was never put off and it kind of surprised me at the time to hear the tutor imply this.
I’ve always been grateful that I’ve been gently encouraged in my writing. There was never any pressure placed on me by anyone but myself when it came to the writing I wanted to do. I have lots of memories of writing stories, like when I was ten and the adventure story I wrote in class was about six pages longer than it needed to be (I wish I could remember if I ever actually finished it).
The way I write or the way I treat my writing might change sometimes but what doesn’t change is the fact that I love it. It genuinely makes me happy to be writing. I chose to study at university purely because I loved to write.
Writing as a career wasn’t necessarily something that I always wanted to pursue from the beginning. Although I loved stories, when I was younger it just never occurred to me that it was an option.
There was a single book that made me wonder if I could write stories for a living. I reckon that I was about ten years old at the time when I first read ‘The Fire Within’ by Chris D’Lacy.
For the record, no matter what age you are, I thoroughly recommend this book.
It is beautiful.
In the book the main character is just starting university and had no intention of becoming a writer but, along the way, he finds a reason to write a short, creative story for the first time in his life. Finding this character who found a reason to write made a big impact on me at the time. At the time I thought ‘this is the kind of story I want to be able to write’.
That was a very big thought for someone with only ten years of life experience but, looking at that book now, it’s still my response to this day.
‘The Fire Within’ is so wonderfully creative. As you might be able to tell from the slightly tattered edges of the book in the photo it’s been read many times by more than just me over the past decade. It fits into the category of ‘low fantasy’ which is a term I came across recently and love because it’s basically the world we know but anything can happen, you can stretch the limits of reality until they break, and that it is a wonderful, limitless world to work with for any writer.
I write because I want to. There is no end goal. On the contrary, I hope that I will always find new reasons to write. Pursuing something that you love, that makes you happy, is the best reason to do anything. Writing makes me happy and I’m lucky to be making continuing good memories about what I love.