(In a continuing series focusing on questions posed by Eastbrook High School Creative Writing Students to me, here is today's question. How would you answer this? If you write a blog answering this question, be sure to send me the link to put into this blog.)Comments are welcome, too!
1. How did you get started?
Writing for most people begins with a desire to communicate through the written word, doesn't it? I think my writing began with reading--I loved to read and I wanted to write something to read. Usually I was the only person reading what I wrote. All through junior high I wrote in journals. When I won my scholarship in journalism and headed to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, I did an incredibly impulsive thing: I burned every one of those journals! I wish now that I could have kept those journals somewhere safe until I was ready to process the things I was writing at the time.
But to answer the question posed by the creative writing students at Eastbrook High School, this is basically what I said:
a. I started writing in high school. I published a poem in my freshman year and that fueled the fire.
b. I got on the newspaper in high school –was the sports editor and art editor. Those articles won me a journalism scholarship at Ball State University, where I started off majoring in journalism.
c. Back then I knew I wanted to work with books more than newspapers, so I changed my major to elementary education with physical education, wanting more experience with children—for whom I thought I wanted to write.
d. I took a correspondence course from the Institute of Children’s Literature as I finished my degree, then dove into teaching and coaching. When I had one experience after another, like students who were murdered, beaten by parents, unfair treatment of teachers, etc., I wrote my first article and sold it.
e. Then, I had four boys of my own, and life sort of went into “living mode”—all good. I edited a newsletter, wrote articles for newspapers freelance, and just wrote down thoughts and dreams and insights on parenting.
f. When we moved here (where I live now) in order to be close to our parents and extended family, I no longer was doing the jobs I did in the past—teaching and leading--so I found an online writing organization, and then drove an hour to Ft. Wayne once a week taking the professional writing program at Taylor University with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley. This is a superb program that is coming to the Taylor campus in Upland.
Everything has a beginning, and while my writing took an adventurous turn to evaluating fiction, working freelance for both editors and agents, I still find time to write.