Saturday, March 28, 2009

Becoming a Writer

Readers ask me a lot when I knew that I wanted to be a writer. If you've heard this story before, I apologize, but I am reiterating because the message behind this blog is one that I think is important.

So, when did I know that I wanted to be a writer? I knew when I was about eight-years-old. There was a time when I thought I would become a veterinarian or maybe an artist. However, math and science were never my thing and I can't doodle worth a darn. These were phases that I went through growing up. But the one thing I was good at, the one thing I really LOVED to do was write and create all sorts of stories in my head. Trust me, I could entertain myself as a child without a problem for many, many hours.

What sealed the deal for me was when I wrote a short story on one of my dad's legal pads. It was kind of a tear jerker and I still remember it. I must've been nine or ten. It was about two sisters. One sister was mentally handicapped and her name was Donna (still remember that). The other sister (can't recall her name, so for this blog I'll call her Jane) thought Donna was nothing but a real pain because her parents paid all of their attention to Donna. One day Donna had to go away to a specail school and Jane was very happy about this. Then Donna came home to visit and had made Jane a painting that said, "I love you, sister," on it. Long story short, I gave my dad the story. He wound up with tears in his eyes and looked at me and said, "You are a writer." That sealed the deal for me, and to this day I credit my dad and mom for all of their love and encouragement on this path. I couldn't do what I have done without them.

The theme behind all of this as you probably have guessed is, "Encourage your child's dreams--a child's dreams." I've seen too many parents tell kids that they can't do this, or that, it's too hard..." Nothing is impossible. Nothing is too difficult. We will always need Presidents, astronauts, actors, vets, pilots, artists, storytellers, etc. Don't ever underestimate the power in telling a child that they are good at something. It can set someone on their path. It can change a life. The power of words can make people become who and what they are supposed to be. They did for me anyway, and I will always be grateful to my dad for that gift of encouragment so many years ago.