Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Memory of Writing

So it begins. This is the first topic for the 28 day Author Blog Challenge. Enjoy the read!

Describe your earliest memory of writing. How did your writing habit/process/career develop?

My earliest memory of writing, wow. I know I wrote as far back as age four (my dear mother kept some of my stories) but my personal memory doesn't kick in until seventh grade. It is the worst memory of writing that I have and that very factor may be the reason I remember it so clearly.

My English class was assigned a short story project that I was excited about. We could write on any topic we wanted and the story had to be three pages in length. I took to it with gusto and wrote a fairy tale about a brave warrior, trolls, and magical keys that released princesses from their prisons. My mother sat in the room with me and watched me write it from beginning to end in one session. Never one to complete much (okay, any) homework, my teacher was shocked when I handed it in on time. I knew I had written well and felt good about the work I had turned in.

When I got it back a week later, I had made a B- and there was a note in fiery red ink scrawled across the top of the page: What book did you copy this out of? If I close my eyes really tightly, I can still see it. My heart sank to my feet, butterflies entered my stomach, and tears welled up in my eyes.

I had made some errors in the body of the story (misplacement of commas - JUST TWO) and that crotchety old lady thought that I copied the story. Newsflash: If I had copied the story, there would have been ZERO errors. Duh.

So I go home that day wretched, with my paper in my hand, and fall into my mother's arms. I was crying and babbling about finally doing some homework and getting accused of cheating the moment I did. I showed her the paper and cried harder.

I had never seen my mom to go war before but the lady went to war with that teacher over what she had written on my paper. It wasn't the grade that upset either of us, it was the fact that, because I couldn't diagram a sentence or tell a noun from a verb from an adverb, the teacher thought there was no way I could write that well on my own. Mama let the teacher know that I wrote the story while supervised and there was no way I had cheated.

I got an apology but it had a deep impact on my psyche. What I didn't realize at the time was, my story was so good, my teacher thought I had copied it from a real writer! But, hey, I was a kid.

No one read anything I wrote again until I was in college and had to write papers for my classes. Up to that point, I had been writing for myself. If I was assigned a paper in high school, I just didn't do it. My professors began asking me how long I had been writing. I never told any of them the story behind the reason I stopped.

I just shrugged and said, "I don't really write, I read."

When my Composition I professor asked if she could use one of my papers as an example of excellent writing, I was flabbergasted. When my World History professor told me he had never seen such an excellent paper written before and asked if he could keep it for himself, I was floored. I had something unique and they made sure I knew it. Those two professors gave me more self-assurance than anyone ever had. After all, they weren't related and they still loved my work!

World History is the class that gave me the idea for Yassa (releasing in two days) and is based on the very research that was gathered for my most excellent research paper on Genghis Khan that my professor kept.

I guess the simple answer is, my earliest memory of writing sucks but I truly began writing in college. After I graduated last year, I have taken to it like a duck to water.

I developed a writing schedule, laid my plans, and went to work. I am more satisfied with my personal success of just finishing Yassa than I have been my whole life when I finished anything else. When I finished The Abigale Chronicles - Book One, I felt on top of the World.

I can't imagine doing anything else and getting as much pleasure from it as I do from writing. It's what I was born to do.

Though I still have a hard time with the parts of speech, I can sit down and compose well because I understand. I suppose it goes back to the old saying: "Those who do not read, cannot write."

That's all for today. Until next time, WRITE ON!!



  1. Thanks for sharing. What a difference encouragement makes. I'm thankful for warrior mothers and enlightened lectures. Must take a peek at your book.

    1. Thank you, Jo (love the name, btw). My mother is my biggest cheerleader next to my boyfriend. I wish more mothers were like her and more men were like him, we'd have a lot less angry women with chips on their shoulders in the world. Haha!

  2. Great story, Jo. I'm glad to see you are writing to the challenge prompts too. Negative early experiences burn into our psyche but I'm pleased you continued to write. I had a similar experience at school, except mine was knitting, where I'd laboured over every stitch to get it just right and the teacher decided it was too good to have been my work. To make an example of 'cheats', she stood at the front of the class and unravelled the whole lot. My mother paid her a visit and over the next week the teacher and I took turns with my knitting until it reached its former length. Mother's visit to the school and the teacher's backflip saved my psyche from further damage - I think.


    1. Yes they do!! Here's a shoutout to all those wonderful mothers out there: "You GO, girl!!"

      I do hope you are still knitting.

      Thank you for the blog love. :)

  3. That's a touching story, Jo. So glad your mom backed you up. Also glad you found your writing voice - the world will be a better place for it!

    1. I sure hope so, Marcie. Thanks for the warm wishes and for stopping by to consume my wandering drivel :)

  4. I can imagine how devastated you must have been to be accused of copying! I would have been horrified at that age, and it is so great that your mom was willing to be a warrior mom for you!

    I'm glad it didn't keep you from writing indefinitely. :)

    1. I was horrified. Thank goodness for moms :)

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving so many comments. They make me feel all warm and gooey inside :)


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