Monday, February 13, 2012

Why I Started Writing

Okay, so today is the "Why You Started Writing" Blogfest. I found out about it on Alex's blog, but I think there are a few people acting as hosts. (You can see the list and follow the blogfest here.)


Here's a brief overview of the guidelines: Tell us all where your writing dreams began. It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own unique beginnings.

For me, I started writing in December 2007. I was about to turn 30, had skipped English as a senior in high school, earned a mathematics minor in college, and had been teaching elementary school for 8 years. I wanted a record of the first three decades of my life. Earlier that fall, I had gone through a devastating loss, and I still hadn't quite recovered from it (sometimes I think I'm still not over it). And as I started writing, I realized something amazing. The black feelings inside wormed their way out.

The world took on new color. I didn't have to live with those debilitating emotions anymore, because they found life on the page. Thus, the writing of fiction began. And my struggles and emotions and angst landed in the most reasonable place: a young adult.

That's why I started writing. I keep writing because it makes me happy. And I often say that the reason I pursued publication is because I'm a pit bull. I often don't see the point of spending time and energy on something unless I see it through to the end.

So after I'd written my third novel, I thought, "Well, I better figure out how to get a book published." And off I went.

So there's my story. What's yours? Why did you start writing? Why do you keep writing? Are you pursuing the dream of publication?

65 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I love the line - And I keep writing because it makes me happy! So true!

Anita Saxena said...

Thanks for sharing! Writing makes me happy too!

Miranda Hardy said...

That's a great story. It amazes me what sparks our journey.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Writing makes me happy too. I started writing before my great loss, (I've had a hard one too) but it has helped me get through that difficult time. Thanks for sharing your story.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Writing makes me happy too. I started writing before my great loss, (I've had a hard one too) but it has helped me get through that difficult time. Thanks for sharing your story.

Juliana said...

" I keep writing because it makes me happy." The perfect line ;)
Thanks for sharing!

SA Larsenッ said...

You words hit a cord with me. I, too, see no sense in wasting energy to gain nothing. Forging forward is the only way...

Christi Goddard said...

For me, writing was an all-consuming flame I couldn't extinguish once I started. I had been just muddling through life, feeling rather empty and insignificant, but once I was able to write and share my words with others, it breathed new life into me.

April Plummer said...

What a beautiful story, Elana. I'm so glad you found a way to handle your grief, and I'm glad you keep writing. I think this is such a cool idea for a blogfest because we've all come to recognize our dreams in different ways. We all share the same dream, yet they we own them all by ourselves, if that makes sense...

Luisa Perkins said...

I love learning how writers begin! How lucky for us all that you are a pit bull. :)

I write because I want to pay it forward to all the writers who gave and continue to give me delicious escape. Also--to share the party in my mind.

Kelly Hashway said...

I remember writing in elementary school. I loved books and wanted to write one of my own. Of course that means I have a lot of poorly written books--some unfinished lying around. I'd say it was in 2009 that I really got serious about writing. I went back to school to learn about writing for children and teens and I joined writers' groups.
I still write because it's who I am. If I didn't write, I wouldn't be me.

Julie Daines said...

Sorry about your loss and I am glad you're finding peace through writing.

It was so great to meet you at LTUE last weekend. Hopefully I'll see you at Storymakers too. I really appreciated your comments and insights on your panels.

Kelly Lyman said...

I love hearing stories like this because I did not grow up wanting to/dreaming of being a writer. I sort of fell into it after the birth of my second child. I had the baby blue and needed a creative outlet. I had story that I had been thinking of and wanted to write, but no idea how to begin. This story was just for me to do something, mind you. My girlfriend (who is a writer) came to visit me and the new baby. I went on and on about this idea and how I didn't know how to write. She told me to "shut up already and just sit down and write the darn thing." I did. And, three months later I had a complete MS. That was 3 years ago and now I continue to write because I just can't stop!

Talli Roland said...

Wonderful story, Elana. I write because it makes me happy, too, and I love how it can serve as an emotional release.

Kelly Polark said...

So wonderful how writing can be cathartic and bring such happiness to the writer (and then to the readers!).

K.T. Hanna said...

This is a great story, and one of the many reasons I think a lot of us write.
I'm really enjoying this blog hop - sometimes it's nice to remember where it all began - and see how it did for others :D

Melanie Fowler said...

Amazing Elana! I also started writing in 2007, and I wrote because it was a creative out put for me. One that I hope to share with my children in the coming days of my life. I can't wait to say that I started something(that I had no idea what I was doing) and like you, finished to the end.

Christine Fonseca said...

Love your story. II started writing as a way to fill a deep need to creatively express my emotions. I keep writing for the same reasons - and for the adventure of it all!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Elana. It's wonderful that something horrible turned into something amazing.

I started writing because I was making up stories for my kids anyway, and I figured I may as well write them down and try to make some money off of them. And I keep writing because it makes me happy, and because I can't help it. Storytelling is an impulse I can happily give in to.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Who needs a couch when you've got a keyboard? "Writing it out" is a good way to work through things...for us writers, at least.

So glad you worked your way through to publication!

Margo Berendsen said...

I love that you discovered writing as a way to heal, isn't it amazing how writing heals? And I love your bulldog analogy.

Matthew MacNish said...

It's so strange to think some of us haven't always been writers. Strange, but also kind of awesome.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Your writing became therapy - that sounds familiar, as it's probably why I returned to writing after a long absence.

Shallee said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Elana. Writing can be such a cathartic activity.

Laura Marcella said...

So often writing pulls us through difficult times and gets us back on our feet. We're never the same again; the ability for more growth and change is the beauty of writing and creating.

The writing bug hit me when I was a very little kid and learned to read on my own. Writing my own stories gave me more of what I wanted until I could get back to the library for more books to read!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I always dreamed of being a writer, but I was too cowardly to do anything about it for a long time. Finally, my husband nagged me and nagged me and guilted me and nagged me some more, until I finally dove in. :-)

i'm erin. said...

I love that you write because it makes you happy. That's the same reason I keep with it. There's a certain amount of joy that comes from reading something later on and thinking, holy cow, I wrote that! Sometimes I hate writing...but I think it's my inner-editor I hate. Mostly, I love it!

Jessica Bell said...

I think that's the main reason we all write. To make us happy. There just doesn't seem to be any other reason to do, it does there! :)

Judith Mercado said...

I started writing so I could read the stories I could not find elsewhere. In a life that has experienced multiculturalism and the full range of poverty and wealth, religious intolerance and tolerance, health and disability et al., I could not always find literature that spoke to me. So I had to write my own stories. It is still the reason, apart from the fact that I now love to do it, that I continue to write. Some thirty stories and six novels later, I find that my wide-ranging interests defy the publishing world’s norms. Nevertheless, I still pursue publication of my novels and stories not already published.

Sarah Allen said...

I know exactly what you mean about giving feelings a release through writing. I often feel like the only people who really understand me are people who read my writing.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Wendy Paine Miller said...

So true about the world taking on a new color. It brought me back to life in many ways.

And I get things out better through writing.

~ Wendy

Patti said...

It would be hard to keep writing if you didn't make you happy on some level, because there are days where it is so hard.

Peggy Eddleman said...

LOVE it! All fabulous reasons! I did the Origins blogfest, too. I love reading people's stories of how they started!

Besides really enjoying it, I keep writing because there comes a point where you've committed so fully that quitting something that you had worked so hard for without seeing it through would scar you for life. I'm not looking to get scarred. ;)

Emily R. King said...

Great beginnings!
I, too, started to get serious about my writing because I was using it as a sort of therapy session. It was a relief to get the mucky dark feelings out of me and on to paper. I haven't finished that WiP (it's too draining), but I hope to someday when I'm a stronger writer.

DL Hammons said...

I've heard about a lot of people who have gone through tragic experiences and that has triggered their writing as a way of release. You've certainly made the most out of an unfortunate situation! Thank you for sharing your ORIGIN with us today!! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If a pit bull mentality is what it takes then I'm stunned my perfectionist turtle attitude made it.
Thanks for participating in the blogfest!

Bish Denham said...

Wow, Elana...such a story. You haven't been at all that long, yet here you are. I'd be jealous if I didn't know you've worked hard, hard, hard to get where you are. (X Blows a kiss in admiration X)

nutschell said...

Hi Elana
I'm dropping by from the origins blogfest. I love how you turned your loss into a gain by writing. A poignant Origins story, for sure.

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Marta Szemik said...

That's called perseverance! Good for you for seeing it through.

ali cross said...

I love your story. And you are such an example to me--I need to be more of a pit bull!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Loved your post. Yes, sometimes I, too, feel like a pit bull, jaws locked on that story I will NOT let go of until it's published.

So great that you found your outlet in YA. I think I've found mine in adult fiction, HOWEVER, YA does call my name from time to time.

Nice to meet you via the blogfest!

Marsha Sigman said...

Ahhh yes. I think I recognize this pit bull you speak of. Might have seen something similar in the mirror.ha

I've always wanted to write. Just forgot for a while.

Leigh Covington said...

I must be emotional today. This is getting me all teary-eyed. Wow. I love it though. It really does help to weed out the dark, yucky stuff. And I love that you describe yourself as a "pit bull." Awesome choice!

Glad I got to see you at LTUE. Hopefully I'll get to visit with you more at Storymakers. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Lovely post! Writing makes me happy too.

Liza said...

I like that pit bull analogy. I'm more like a methodical (and aging!) workhorse...but regardless...I love this writing life. Glad that words pulled you up and carry you on.

Claire Hennessy said...

Wow, my writing prompt came to me in 2007 as well ... just a shame I am 20 years older than you (nearly)!! Still, I feel when you write you can be any age you like. Glad you were able to channel your emotions into something so wonderfully productive.

Heather Sunseri said...

"And I keep writing because it makes me happy." I love that!!

Ashley Nixon said...

That's why I keep writing. I know it'll get me through things. My books will always be there for me. Great story!

J.L. Campbell said...

Nice to meet you, Elana. I'm impressed with what you've done in 5 years. I agree that it's pointless spending a lot of time on something, only to give up before getting to the finish line.

And to answer your question, yep, I'm still following my dreams.

LTM said...

writing is the best way to exorcise negative emotions, but at the same time, I find if I'm feeling too down, I can't write. Odd. In college we always claimed you had to be miserable to be creative... :D Thanks for sharing, Elana! :o) <3

Christine Rains said...

Wonderful story. I write for the same reason. Even if I'm never published, I'll still keep writing. :)

Trisha said...

Writing is definitely cathartic. Sometimes it's a girl's best friend!

Great story Elana!

Leslie Rose said...

I saw this great Disney movie called The Jungle Book when I was 9 or 10. I thought it should be a book so i wrote it. Imagine my annoyance when I found out someone had beat me to it. Curse you Kipling.

Sophia Chang said...

I LOVE stories of people who didn't start as wunderkinds. You give all of us past 30 hope!

And you said the magic words: pit bulls. I adore pit bulls, canine or human.

This was a great blogfest, wasn't it?

Rick Daley said...

That's a cool story, I like how you were able to use writing as a form of healing, and then as a form of joy and satisfaction. There is a difference between the opened door and what awaits on the other side.

Alice said...

It's amazing you found success relatively soon after you started writing. Writing is very therapeutic. I started writing full time about ten years ago after I hurt my back and couldn't run anymore. I write while lying down with my laptop.

Voidwalker said...

Hey Elena, I know it's been forever, but I'm back!

Glad to see you're writing success is continuing. Congrats on your upcoming release in June. I'll definitely have to check it out!

Come say hi sometime, I'll be blogging regularly again.

Karen Lange said...

Love this blogfest! I'm glad to hear your "story behind the story". :)

Daisy Carter said...

Love your blog!

I, too, started writing to exorcise the dark. In fact, my first ms was titled "The Dark" *blushes furiously*

Also, I've been reading your posts about how to build a better blog, and they are priceless! Thanks for all the info!

Daisy Carter

Jackie Jordan said...

Very nice story. I, too, was a teacher for one year. I wasn't designed for the students' behavior. Most had attitudes that only a mother could love ... Good luck with your work.

Deniz Bevan said...

I love hearing about authors who work their way through events and emotions by writing. There's no better way, as far as I know! :-)

Scarlett said...

~I didn't have to live with those debilitating emotions anymore, because they found life on the page.~

Writing does do that, doesn't it. Whether you're 13 or 30!

Elana(beautiful name, btw), your words resonate with me about 'seeing things through to the end'. I have struggled with this *only* through school and my writing... until now. *g*

I think low self-esteem had much to do with that. Give me a project where I am confident in my abilities and I am the pit bull. It is where I am tentative and afraid of my abilities, that I balk.

So glad I finally got here to your spot in the Fest!

Rachel Morgan said...

Sounds like an excellent reason to start writing! It sure does help get the "dark" stuff out of you...
I started because there were always stories in my head that needed to get out. I was afraid I'd forget them so I started writing them down...

Susanne Drazic said...

Elana, great writing origins story. Thanks for sharing it.

Jeremy Bates said...

congratulations on your completed novels. writing is a passion :)

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