I started writing seriously in junior high. I took creative writing classes, went to workshops with authors, and entered every creative writing contest I could. I spent several summers dedicated to writing stories and studying how to write. And I read. Lots.
I guess writing tends to run in the family, because my dad is an author, too. He got a degree in English Literature, wasn’t satisfied with what his English professors had taught him, and went on to find all of the how-to writing books I ended up studying. Any skill I have in writing I credit to him.
Despite his demanding work schedule, my dad made time to read my stories. He always gave me honest feedback. If he got bored after the first page, he’d tell me. If my dialogue sounded cheesy, he said so. I absolutely hated when he’d proofread my work by reading it aloud. The words had sounded so much better in my head. But then he would help me fix the passives and reword the cliches. When my dad said my story sounded “good” or “great” or “fantastic”, I knew he meant it.
For my high school capstone project, I wrote my first novel. Looking back at that fantastical time traveling soap opera full of random aliens, “dark secrets” stolen straight from the trending teen novels of the day, and the main characters screaming or fainting on every other page–it was pretty terrible. But I still love it. My teenage self’s “masterpiece” whisked me away to a universe of wonder that taught me that yes, I really could write.
After high school, I just kept writing until I felt confident in my own work. And then I wrote some more.
Nothing worthwhile comes quickly. But without the journey, would we value the destination? Every grandiose goal can break down into a thousand little steps.
When you’re faced with an elephant, you gotta eat it one bite at a time.