How did I become a writer?
Upon asking what some in my group would want to read for a post today, I was asked when I began writing and what sparked it. I thought this made for a good question, so I will answer it today. You know you want to know ;). Just kidding, but seriously.
When I was little, storytelling was my thing. According to, well, everyone in my family, I told very elaborate stories. I would be asked, before telling my story, if I could summarize it. This I remember because I was always excited to tell a story. “Yes!” I would say before proceeding to tell my five-minute-long story. (To me, this was the short version). If you think a 5+ year old girl is going to know how to summarize, you’re crazy. My grandpa (on my dad’s side) told me once that I used to tell him stories and suddenly stop and he’d ask what happened next. My reply? “I haven’t come up with it, yet.” When he told me about this scenario years later, he said it bothered him because sometimes I had really good stories. I was young, so that was my medium. But I apparently had an imagination, even then.
I wrote a bit as a child; this I do remember on my own. I would pocket little memo books that don’t seem to be sold much anymore, and I would allow myself to drift into the world of my adored TV shows and movies. My favorite characters would be my best friends, boyfriends, or heroes. Sometimes, I’d be the hero, and I would save people with the character by my side. It was magical and though I don’t know if they were called fandoms then, it seems that’s what it would be now. The characters came to life when I wrote about them, and I loved every second of it, changing endings and creating new stories that included me in the plot. I rarely finished these, though. Sometimes my parents or grandparents would read them, and I doubt they were interesting, but they did give them a good laugh. Needless to say, I was embarrassed and hid them after a while. Still, my younger brother and I experimented with our stories (he started writing them too) and we would act out our little scenes on the trampoline or in our above-ground pool in the summertime. I’m not sure when I stopped, but when I did I found a new medium a short time later.
In 2005, I wrote a rather short poem, titled “Cry.” I was 12 years old when I wrote this. The poem was about my grandfather who died a year or so prior. (My mom’s side.) At the time, I remembered more about him and had dreamed about him the night before writing it. I’ll share it with you today, though I believe I have shared it before.
My heart is filled with grief
tears glitter like dew on a leaf.
My heart is really broken,
I see my pillow is soakin’.
I visit your grave every day
and I really want to say
when I pass by
tears stream out of my eye
and pretty soon I start to cry.
Now, keep in mind, I was 12. My vocabulary remained limited. I do like this poem, though, and I loved how easily I could write it. I didn’t re-write any of it and the words flowed through my mind, to my fingertips, and across the paper like a single word; a single breath. It was a wonderful feeling and not at all romanticized in my explanation. Of course, I had written before but this was different. I had the urge to write something and my subconscious spilled onto a piece of notebook paper. I felt better and I wanted to keep writing.
I wrote about everything: my love life (what I wished was my love life, anyway), the ocean, butterflies, the sound of sharpening steel, and just about anything I could think of. I wrote short stories but never finished them. I switched between poetry and short story writing. Still young, story-telling grabbed my interest more than story writing did. I continued with poetry though. Once, I wrote about losing a shoe. It was silly and it made me laugh. I’ll go ahead and share that one as well.
Lost Shoe 1.14.2008
The silent moon cried out to me
to go and find my shoe.
I go out into the forest
to look upon the dew.
With the grass real high,
and the trees real thick,
I looked upon the brush.
I saw a fluff of brown and white
with a shoelace in his mouth,
and triumph in his eye.
My freshman English teacher took note of it when I showed him “Cry” as well as other poems I had written in the passing years, and he asked me to submit them to this magazine thing they did for the high school. I did twice and had poetry published in it.
My sophomore year of high school, writing became more essential. I actually paid attention to correct grammar, punctuation, etc. My poems were longer and a little more thought out, but they still flowed easily through my mind and fingertips. I wrote short stories based on my dreams which were extremely vivid and elaborate. In 2013, a man I dated for… a while… broke up with me and I lost a couple really close friends in addition to it. (Take note, I was friends with more guys than girls, so when you’re single and not willing to date someone, friend or not, they tend to drift. Funny.
Anyway, that part is depressing. I had a few friends, but I still had a hole. I escaped through my dreams and, when I woke up, the hole returned. Naturally, I wanted to fill the dang black thing ripping through my chest. It sucked. So I wrote. Always wrote. Soon, I had a dream that had so many people I knew in it, I HAD to write it down. It was such a long dream, it took me 10,000 words to write out the first half of its summary. I never finished the dream because I woke up, but I couldn’t help myself; I had to keep writing. I elaborated on the 10,000 words and continued, re-writing and writing again. The words flew onto the Word document and, 20,000-or-so words later, I realized I was writing a novel.
It’s extraordinary how I discovered writing without really realizing I was doing so. I never considered myself a writer and struggled with what my passion or possible talent would be that I could expand on and make into a future career. I started Authors’ Tale in hopes of finding encouragement and fellow writers who struggled with the idea, and I found many with the same desires.
Fall 2014, I walked into the Journalism adviser’s office and decided to ask about the degree, because I had given up on my previous choice as a marine biologist (terrible choice for me). He didn’t seem to understand I only wanted information, and before I knew it he had changed my major for me and signed me up for classes. I wrote several news articles for the college paper and was complimented thoroughly on my research and writing skills. I didn’t believe it at first, but when I had a conversation with one of the advisers and mentioned how I’m ‘relatively good at writing,’ he laughed and said ‘Cayce, you’re more than relatively good.’ It was like an official confirmation. Friends and family complimented my writing and such, but that seemed an obligated answer, so I disregarded it. For some reason, this made me realize I may have something after all, and I exploded into the writing world, finishing my first novel and continuing onto others.
So, my writing history took a while, but I hope it was at least a little interesting. I’d love to hear about how you started. You don’t have to elaborate like I did, but you can… Either way is fine 🙂 I love beginnings because there’s always a background. Usually, it’s quite an incredible one. Not for everyone. I mean, mine is probably not nearly as interesting as others, but I was asked and glad to share!
Y’all have a wonderful day and eventually…
I’ll see ya!
Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”