I still remember the day I wanted to become a writer.
I had just read Remember Me 3: The Last Story by Christopher Pike in 1995. And I had felt so good and so happy with having finished a great story that I wanted to be able to do the same for others.
During my school days, I had teachers who made me believe I could be a writer. They encouraged me. They inspired me.
I would write for fun. I remember writing a soap opera spoof with my classmates as characters placing them in ridiculous situations. That wasn’t a particularly nice thing to do especially since some of them didn’t know they had starring roles. I did get my comeuppance when a few of them ended up writing their own version with me in it. (At least I inspired others to be creative?)
Aside from bad angsty poems in high school in the Philippines, I didn’t write anything. When I moved back to the States, I took some creative writing courses which helped me get back to the groove. I was always intimidated by others who were clearly much more talented than I was.
That was- and is- my biggest obstacle: fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear that no one would enjoy what I wrote.
Another obstacle was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write. I was all over the place- novels, short stories, comics, zines, and poetry.
What I wanted to write tended to be what I was reading. Churn out horror novels like Christopher Pike or R.L. Stine. Mysteries that would baffle even Encyclopedia Brown and Hercule Poirot. Silly poems like Shel Silverstein’s.
I shouldn’t begrudge those times of uncertainty and frustration though. It helped me get clarity on what I wasn’t supposed to be writing.
Once I decided to write picture books, I deluded myself into thinking I could be the illustrator myself. I grew too attached to the image I had for my character. But once I let those go, the words started to come more freely.
Now- only after 20 years- I actually have a rough draft of a picture book I’m excited to share and get feedback on so I can send it out. On those one-on-one instances when I shared my work, it was quite touching to see their reactions. I even read my work out loud to a group of about a dozen people (my first critique group) and it just made me excited to do readings once it’s published!
Until next time…