My History of Writing, Part I: The Baby Steps

As most people who aspire become writers probably know, to be succesful, one has to write a lot and preferable start doing so as early as possible. Most children have incredible fantasies: some of these do not make any sense at all, others are actually quite inspiring. Sadly, most of this gets lost as these children grow up. Nothing remains of it, except for maybe some drawing or if they are lucky, some actual stories.

In my case, I started writing at an exceptionally young age. By the time I was three, I had decided what I wanted to do in my life. At the time, nobody knew it was going to turn out to be serious. Of course, I could not write yet. Instead, I dictated to my parents what to write down in the booklets I made by stapling two pieces of paper together. As far as I recall, these were stories about birds. I loved the pictures of birds my grandmother used to cut out of magazines for me; they were my inspiration. Sadly, I do not remember much of this. The booklets are long gone, and so are the pictures that inspired them. This was only were my journey began.

I learned how to spell at the age of five, when I entered first grade. From the moment I could handle a pen and use a computer, I have been writing down my own stories. I no longer needed the help of my parents. I had not yet discovered writing software yet, so whatever I wrote, I wrote in Paint. It was still fun. In fact, Paint allowed me the option to illustrate my own work. It was a dream come true for five-year old me! I still remember my creation: it was about a bird at the zoo, which visited all the animals. Apparently I had a strange obsession with birds, just as much as with writing.

Around the same time, I discovered my love for horror. Maybe most of the movies I saw were not age-appropriate at all, but I thoroughly enjoyed the irreality of the ghosts and zombies I saw (no hack-and-slash horror, though; my parents wouldn’t have wanted me to see the horror of people being violently killed). I probably was about six when I read my first horror stories (for children), and although they weren’t nearly as scary as the movies, they inspired me to want to scare children like me. I believe children are quite resilient – I was, at least. I could handle it and wanted to spread the joy of the fantastic over everyone I knew. This resulted in my class mates getting all kinds of horrifying stories as their birthday presents. I hope they are not angry with me anymore.

All in all, I would like to say that passions are almost innate. Of course, one cannot desire to do something they have never heard of, but for something ubiquitous as writing, it should arise at a fairly young age. Hopefully, those child-like horrors and fantasies can be preserved. After all, writing for children seems quite impossible for the one who has lost their inner child.


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