“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Ever since I was eight years old, I have dreamed of being a writer. I imagined all kinds of stories in my head, I wore out thousands of pencils, collected notebooks, paper, yellow legal pads, any kind of writing pad I could find and wrote stories. They were mostly stories that include myself as the heroine. I didn’t use my own name of course, but I lived through the characters in my stories and I was going to make a living being a writer some day!
I asked for a typewriter for Christmas when I was ten and received it. I can still smell the ink ribbon, see the gray and red case, feel the touch of the keys as I happily spent summer inside living adventure after adventure in the bedroom I shared with my two sisters. First I was off on a mystery, then it was to the bottom of the sea with the sailors from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, to rescuing people as a teen paramedic with Johnny and Roy on Emergency! I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was writing screenplays for television shows I was watching. I invented my own plots, action and dialog.
Then it was on to my own style of fiction as I created characters not seen on television or movies. They were of my own invention, romances, westerns, pirates and princesses. Some summers I even went as far as to put on “plays” with my stories, begging my sisters and neighborhood friends to act out while I directed and even record on my tape recorder the shootouts in my westerns!
I wrote plays for my classmates to act out in English class which they enjoyed because we all would get extra credit for class that way! As I moved into high school I was including some of my closest friends in my adventures, changing the names to protect the innocent, but they were included in on the adventure stories that way too. And they enjoyed reading them.
Disappointed that the college I chose to attend did not have a writing major, I instead majored in Secondary Education with a major in English and Journalism. I would still get to write, not the fun adventure stuff, but it was helpful as I learned to deepen my descriptions, write good concise paragraphs and question everything I included in my stories, “was this really needed for the plot, will my reader understand it?”
When I got married and began having kids, the urge to write was no lesser than when I was eight and I began to write stories for my children. They were adventures and one character in participar began to emerge, a young woman who was studying as a martial artist and bodyguard: Kip MacAllister!
On a trip to a bookstore I received a coupon for a Print On Demand publisher online. I found out I could upload my story and have it printed and bound in a book of my very own, without going through editors and copyreaders who either didn’t like my stories or wanted to make big changes to them with still no guarantee of publishing them.
I was in heaven! I began publishing my Kip MacAllister books for my kids. I only ordered copies for them and my family to read. But teachers at the school where I worked found out I was writing and asked for copies. Soon my books were in the school library and I was invited to talk to students at other schools about writing and my books.
Just recently, while visiting with some cousins, I found out they were ordering my books for their kids to read. I was thrilled!! I may not be rich and famous, but I am living the dream I’ve had since I was eight years old: I was a writer!
You never know when an encouraging word may come along in your life and keep your dreams alive.
In my life, it’s when my parents bought me the typewriter so I could make more real looking books.
It was teacher’s encouraging me by letting me put on plays in English class.
It was being asked to be a reporter for my college newspaper and seeing my byline in print.
It was my husband who would put the kids to bed at night so I could have “writing time” and who also encouraged me to use the coupon for the POD publishing and he has been my biggest supporter in addition to my parents, siblings and my own children in becoming a writer.
It still seems funny to call myself a writer. But as I get older and realize I have written a lot of things. I have learned I always have to have either a pencil, pen, notebook, laptop, or thumb drive with me at all times in case an idea comes to me. I write copy for our church bulletin, I have written a bi-monthly 8 page newsletter for our parish’s youth, I write monthly Family Faith inserts for our church bulletin, website copy. I can’t get away from writing and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My husband described me best one time when I was worrying I was spending too much time writing my stories instead of doing housework, he said, “Lisa, you are the real you when you are writing! You need to write!”
Those encouraging words are what kept me writing all these years and now I encourage other people to write! I love talking to kids about writing and character development!
Encouraging words – at their best! Let them take you off on your dreams!