Here you go, Lisa. My timeline as a writer. I certainly hope it makes you feel better about it all. XD
Age 4 months (approx.): While lying on a blanket in clear view of my mother, I pick up the soft cloth book that my father read to me and start “reading” it myself. The picture that my mother snaps of me later becomes the go-to “submit the graduate’s baby picture to the yearbook” shot for the rest of my life.
Age 3: After reading pictures books in my Montessori class, I begin attempting to create my own by using computer paper and crayons. I do not know how to read yet, or write for that matter, so I create a pictogram language that I am later able to read back to my mother every time. When my mother comments on this to my teacher, teacher says, “Don’t you hassle her about her spelling. You just let her write.”
Age 9: After day dreaming in class, I come home to pound out 4 R.L. Stine-like “horror” books for people my age. They have a grand total of 14 pages all told and are horrible. Let us never speak of them again.
Age 11: I discover fan fiction via a Sailor Moon obsession. After teaching myself HTML, I establish a clumsy Geocities website devoted to my original characters. Good feedback from a thankfully forgiving community leads me to fully develop my first “original” characters so-to-speak.
Age 12: I sign up to FanFiction.Net and start writing Digimon stuff. (French the lama, have I really been on that site for almost a decade? Have I really achieved over 1.1 million words of fanfic? Have I really posted 85 freakin’ stories in 10 different series categories? What the hell am I doing with my life?!)
Age 14: I begin writing my *cringe* first book, hoping to be the next Christopher Paloni. Never mention Paloni to me again. Never mention that book to me again. Never ever mention it to my mother, who has the only copy but is forbidden from ever showing it to anyone ever.
Age 15: My first attempt to sign up for a creative writing class, which is canceled because they couldn’t get enough students interested in it.
Age 16: Finish writing crappy first novel. Send it out a few times, then realize that it’s crappy. Start a new novel. Join newspaper club.
Age 17: Bible class initiated at our public high school with 8 people in class. The 9 of us who’ve been signing up for the repeatedly-canceled creative writing class sulk in a corner of the lunchroom for a week. I join debate. I also take computer animation that year, and am the only student who doesn’t struggle trying to tell a story instead of just doodling.
Age 18: Bullied into newspaper internship after being marginally successful at UIL competitions. Move to college. Decide to give the creative writing thing a shot. Also sign up with the school paper, hoping to be paid.
Age 19: Minor mental breakdown over stress at school paper. Discover that I hate writing for journalism and thereafter devote myself entirely to the writing of my own fiction. Trash the still-unfinished second novel from age 16. It is also crap.
Age 20: For NaNoWriMo I write a new novel, A House Divided. For once in my life, it’s not crap. I spend the next year rewriting it until my head hurts just thinking about it.
Age 21: Begin working on Necropolis. Begin sending out piles and piles of submissions for novels, short stories and memoir. Get buried under form rejections. Keep submitting anyway.
And there you have it: my timeline as a writer. Booyah.
Real post to come tomorrow. I’m writing on location today.