Lately I’ve been reading a lot of posts by other authors where they talk about how they first started writing. Many of them say things that make us plebes feel left out like, “I started writing at age 2. I actually started writing before I learned how to talk. I got my first story published when I won a national contest at age 6 with my heartbreaking tale of a stuffed bear dueling a miniature unicorn. It was actually a commentary about the fall of the Soviet Union.”
Sidebar: I’d actually read that story about a Soviet flavored teddy bear & unicorn fight. That sounds rad.
For me, those kind of accounts (while probably rare in real life) make me feel like I’m missing out somehow. I didn’t start writing stories until I was in college. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t start creating and putting pen to paper–well, fingers to keyboard–until fairly recently. Then I realized something today. Just because I haven’t been writing very long doesn’t mean that I haven’t been a storyteller for years.
Back when I was growing up my brothers and I loved to play with Legos. Our favorite thing to do wasn’t following the instructions and building the sets properly. Instead we’d build our own spaceships–things inspired by Star Wars and videogames. Not only would we build them, but then we’d battle them. Mostly this consisted of us putting them on the floor, moving them around, and making “pew pew” laser noises and explosions. Somehow our Lego games evolved. I started developing a story for our battles. I came up with reasons why my forces were battling my brothers’. I drew maps and created coalitions, confederations, empires, and republics. An entire universe with characters evolved around our Lego battles. I was creating story.
I guess I forgot that being writer doesn’t just mean generating pages. A writer’s job is to tell stories, and I’ve been doing that for years; it’s just now that I’m actually sharing them with others. What about you all? Despite my good natured teasing up above, I’m really interested to know how other writers got their starts. Please sound off in the comments.
Me? I’m going to go start an outline for that teddy bear vs unicorn story.