"What led you to becoming a writer? What did you go through to get here? Do you remember the moment you finally realized that’s what you are? Or, did it come to you gradually? How did you feel when you finally realized it? Were you elated, or doubtful, or both?"
This is my story.
When I Became a Writer
At age 12, I declared myself a writer and never looked back.
In my younger, greener years, I thought I wanted to be an actress. I was forever acting out the dialogue of the many, many books I consumed. At recess, I walked book-in-nose around the clover-speckled field, mouthing lines and trying to feel each character's voice in my head. At home, I performed prissy huffs and blusterous roars to my bedroom walls or to the swing-set or occasionally to my two younger siblings. When I made them laugh, I knew my acting was good.
Stories occupied the core of my existence. I knew this in the same way I knew my hair was brown--because it was right there in front of my eyes. When I wasn't reading one of my twenty thousand books, I was making up adventures off the top of my head. Barbies would swing like Tarzan from the curtains, little gray dogs would hunt down jewel thieves, I'd crush weeds into healing potions and convince my cousins a mattress was a life raft.
The problem was, Frodo, Gollum, and Sam are male--and I am not. That didn't bother me any, but I wasn't the one doing the casting. Assuming a studio was to make The Lord of the Rings into a movie (as New Line Cinema later did), I could never play the role of my favorite characters. I'd end up as--well, Rosie probably, Sam's girlfriend/ wife who pops up only after the ring is destroyed and doesn't so much as kill a single orc. I didn't want to be anyone's girlfriend. I wanted to be the star.
Similarly, I didn't want my choice in characters limited by how my body decided it wanted to look--namely, short, plump, and slightly Asian. In my imagination, I could be anyone. Real life got in the way of that. So I switched to the one occupation where I could bring to life any character I wanted--every characters I wanted. I decided to be a writer. Then, not only could I play hero and villain alike, I could make damn sure those roles went to women.
Did I doubt? Not really. At 12, no one dared tell me my dream was impossible. So I got into the habit of thinking of myself as a writer early on. I possessed unshakable confidence. But as for the actual writing, well, that was trickier. Teachers and parents might praise me, but what did they know? They only compared me to other students. I compared myself to published authors. I knew my little stories weren't that good. Yet. But I had faith that I'd get there eventually. A little time, a little hard work, a little advice, and before long I'd be a published author....
At age 12, I declared myself a writer, and despite all the set-backs that cropped up since, I never looked back.