I was in third grade when I published my first book. Self published, let’s say. Yes, it was a class project, but I remember thoroughly loving the process. Writing a story; drawing the pictures; and then turning it into something I could hold. (The story? About gummy bears. Riveting, I know.)
My love of writing books didn’t return until college. However, my addiction to story telling waxed ever since the third grade. I honed that skill through drawing. I drew everything. And every day. Sitting in my room, sketch pad and pencils in my lap, I labored over creating new things. For years, I wanted to be an animator. I dreamed of art school and toured Disney animation studios with mouth ajar.
But my love of drawing wavered in high school. I received a discouraging comment from an art teacher, and for some reason, I let that cast doubt. My confidence slipped. Yes, I have no one to blame but me—if I wanted it badly enough, I would have shoved that comment aside and pressed on. But I like to think my creative story didn’t end there—instead, it shifted.
Enter freshman year English class at Pepperdine University. Having never taken an AP or Honors class in my life, I was intimidated sitting in an English class where most of the students had. The first essay we wrote, I labored over. And labored over. Until, I realized, I was enjoying the process. Writing. Creating a narrative. Crafting sentences. It was like art all over again—except this time, with my words. And surprisingly, others enjoyed my craft too.
College introduced me to my new creative story. I was, however, a neophyte. I had never written monologues or screenplays or short stories. But I was desperate to learn. So, I wrote. And wrote badly. I received all kinds of feedback from professors and students—some positive, others constructive. All it did was drive me to write better. Write more. Constantly. I reacted so differently than I did with my art teacher’s comments that it solidified something in my mind: with art, I must not have wanted it enough. With writing? I wanted it. And wanted it badly.
During college, I read Harry Potter and knew my life would never be the same. Story telling through novels became a magic I could never live without. So I began to create my own stories. My own characters. My own books. The Missing Crimoire was largely dreamed up in my college dorm room.
Four years later, I graduated with a degree in writing—yes—but more importantly, with a passion for the craft that would change me forever. Ever since, I’ve called myself a writer.
Robin Puelma is my wife’s lifelong best friend. I’ve had the privilege of knowing her for 15 years. Robin and I have shared a love for similar books and movies since we first met. Her editing gifts include feedback on a story’s characters, pacing, and dilemma, to name a few. My stories have greatly benefited from her thoughtful, creative eye.
Want to know more about it her? Be sure to check out her blog. You can also find a post there on how I became a writer.
What about you? If you’re a writer, how did you get started? Do you have a writing buddy?