Feature · The Writing Life

The Journey To Becoming A Writer I Didn’t Even Know I Was On


Recently, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my love for writing. Personal issues have come to play and lately, my time to dedicate to my writing projects has dwindled. As creative people, when we and our day-to-day lives conflict with us working on our passions, guilt and frustration tend to set in.

At times, we even begin to question whether or not we are worthy of pursuing that creative passion any longer. I will be real enough to admit I’ve found myself thinking these thoughts. I’ve pictured people who’ve known about my writing pursuits saying to themselves, “Maybe she isn’t really passionate or a writer then.”

I mean, I’ve thought that. Why wouldn’t anyone else?

Which brings me back to my recent reflection times. Occasionally, in the last couple years, random memories have come to me; memories where writing has been my creative haven.

I’ve read and watched interviews from authors talking about when they began loving words. Most of them have stories about being kids in elementary, writing stories, winning contests, etc. Reading that, I’d sometimes sit back and wonder, “I don’t remember doing any of that…have I always loved writing?”

Granted, I call myself Dori because my memory is horrendous. Nonetheless, memories of nerdtastic moments have come to mind little by little. Moments that have all been a part of the journey I’ve taken towards being a writer…I just didn’t know it yet.

Taking A Trip Down Memory Lane

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Earliest Nerd Memory

We had a neighbor who was close to my mom. Her daughter was in her later teens and I was seven, I believe. I don’t remember why but she offered to teach me cursive (script handwriting) and the excitement was big, people. Right now, my heart breaks just thinking about how cursive is no longer taught in schools. I…I can’t talk about that right now. *wipes dramatic tear*

Back in the day, third grade was the year in school you would learn cursive. I was in first grade when she began teaching me. I felt very cool and “adult”. *shakes head at seven year old me’s age perspective*

Needless to say, once third grade came around and cursive was introduced to the curriculum, this little girl right here was mighty happy and perhaps a bit gloaty. Yes, gloaty; a word I just made up, thank you very much. One of my earliest nerd memories.

Eleven Years Old, Breaking Rules, Loving Detention?

The school year was fifth grade and it was during the age of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”…man, I just aged myself. Anyway, I can admit, I’ve always been the goodie two-shoes of any group. This particular time, peer pressure created a situation where seven little snot-nosed eleven year olds weren’t as sneaky and cool as they thought they were. They got caught–dirty style. This led to an unusual form of detention for all of us that lasted five days.

One of the five days, our punishment was to meet after school in the library and sit at a round table where our principal announced we each had to write a 500 word essay. While everyone in the group groaned, I, ladies and gentlemen, lit up like a freaking Christmas tree. I was so excited to hand write in my nice little cursive an essay. My nerd colors flared hard and my “cool” group most definitely shaved off some of my own cool points.

Favorite Middle School Class Ever

It wasn’t the popular elective to choose but my seventh grade little heart didn’t care. I couldn’t believe I actually had the chance to take a Creative Writing class. Middle school had been a very dark period in my life. Poetry started becoming a frequent outlet for my emotions. This elective came into my life at just the nick of time.

Emotional Outlets Found Young

From a young age, I found comfort in journaling. Anything requiring stationary tools excited me. I once gathered all of the neighborhood kids and made them sign up to be a part a club that had no rhyme or reason. The whole point was to play with forms I had from my mother’s job. I set up a station in our backyard, made them line up, and fill out these forms that made no sense to us whatsoever.

I’m laughing because this memory actually just came to me and I can’t believe I made them do that. Talk about nerd-alert.

Journals. Right.

Collecting notebooks and writing down what I was feeling while sitting alone on the floor in my room was a frequent activity. Along with writing my emotions, I would dabble and play with poetry.  I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. No one in my family is so I had no influences or access. (Now, I practically read a book a night; go figure.)

At this point, I was on a creative journey I didn’t even realize I chose to be on.

Since about eight years old, I had a dark, negative voice in my childhood who knocked down anything creative I shared. My confidence and self-esteem about any of my attempted passions was very low which taught me at an early age I should keep them secret. I still enjoyed them even if I was told I was horrible. I didn’t want to give them up, whether anything ever came of them or not. So, I began what became a staple habit in regards to my creativity; secrecy and solitude.

My first year of high school was the beginning of a creative breakthrough that would mold many years of my life to come. There, the battle between hiding my passions and taking small chances to peek out of my secured fort and seek validation began. Music, theatre, dance, and writing took center stage in my life. I was writing all the time. I wrote songs, I continued writing poetry, I wrote theatre plays and later, screenplays (movies). The idea was to go to school for film and theatre. These creative ventures consumed my life. Thus begun my journey towards writing novels.

Don’t Quit Your Day Dream

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People are going to place expectations and make assumptions about the things you love and pursue. They will happily let you know when they think something should happen by and how it should look like. Your audience and peers–and this applies to any and all forms of the entertainment industry–will set a standard. Once you’ve announced you’re pursuing this, which they too are a part of, a magnifying glass will be set over you like a stop watch; analyzing and waiting.

This isn’t always bad. You will welcome those into your life and process who will encourage you and be a constructive voice. They’ll talk you off metaphorical ledges and slap some sense into you when you need it.

Then you’ll have the bad. The pressure. The harsh criticism. The negative naysayers challenging your every move.

And last, you’ll have the innocent crowd who mean no harm. The ones who genuinely want to support you. They want what you declared to one day give them creatively and are waiting. And waiting. They wait while others just like you produce and wonder, why haven’t you yet?

In the end, yes, we create for them. But more importantly, we create for ourselves. We do it because it’s bursting through our pores wanting to sing out. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. It’s where we feel a bit at home.

Whether it takes you two months, two years, or twenty…Don’t quit your daydream. Keep dreaming. Keep creating.


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