Twelve years ago I graduated high school. Coming from a rural area there was not much emphasis on the creative as a means of income (apart from being a high school art teacher). I wanted to write stories and there wasn’t really much out there to help me do it. I had even gone to my guidance counsellor to help me get a real job.
But look at me now. I’m living in Scotland when I thought I’d never leave Australia. I had picked one of the more difficult life choices a person could make. The arts fields are always difficult to succeed in, let alone make money. But I’m slowing pushing out stories and I know it’s only a matter of time before I gain traction.
I think back to when I first finished school, I wonder how many people thought that I wouldn’t or couldn’t achieve my dreams. I also think about the life journeys my classmates (the ones I have kept track of) have made in the decade since. Some have become what they wanted, while others haven’t had their dreams materialise. Then there are those who have changed paths and become something completely different. But all are within the realm of real jobs and nothing that seems overly difficult.
The more I think about it, the more I can’t believe I’ve made it so far. I amaze myself. What would my life be if I never went to the counselor’s office or chosen to take a different path? Out of all the paths people could choose, I’m making headway in one that heads along a difficult trail.
I was 13 years old when I seriously considered wanting to become a writer. In grade 8 everyone had this ‘What do you to be in life’ assignment thing, or something like that. I can’t remember the exact name. Anyway we had to choose three things that we could see ourselves doing for a career. All I could think of was being a writer, the other two were a blank to me. I had to write else something down for the other two because a teacher told me that I had to, I just put random things down (I actually can’t remember what I wrote). Out of the entire grade of 80 others, I was the only one who wanted to be a writer.
Prior to that I hadn’t really thought I of what I wanted to do in life. Though I had, as a child, gone off and created my own stories for fun. I remember when I was 11/12 creating one and then showing it to my Dad and him remarking that it was pretty impressive. That was different to when was 13 and at Christmas time we were at my Aunt’s and Mum mentions that I want to be a writer, and then Aunt says, ‘you experience to be a writer.’ I tell you what I didn’t appreciate that. It made me stubborn to the idea that I was going to write.
Who said you needed experience to write? Who said that a person couldn’t create a perfectly good story without ever gaining decades of life experience. All you had to do was think about the people you’re writing about and imagine how they would feel to situations around them. Granted you can do a poor job at that, but it would be a testament of your writing skills and poor character development.
Though 10 years later I can kind of see her reasoning. If you don’t understand human behavior somewhat then your going to have a hard time writing good characters. Still at 11 I wrote a good angry character, that had a logical reason for being angry.
From 13 years onwards I think I regularity began creating characters, action sequences and story lines regularly. I just couldn’t help it, my mind wondered and there were times when I wouldn’t be paying attention to the people around me. Even now I’m always inside my head more than outside.