G’day, wonderful wordsmiths! I hope you are enjoying the beginnings of welcome Spring if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, or of lovely Autumn if you’re somewhere DownUnder like me.
Today I have a question for you – the same one a friend of mine recently asked on facebook:
Hey my comrade writers, why, how and when did you start writing?
My reply was:
I was in love with poetry (which my Dad used to read to me). I thought poetry was the most beautiful thing that human beings could create. I was also in love with beauty. It seemed natural to me to want to spend my life creating beauty – which obviously meant making poems. I was 7 when I made up my first poem. I wrote it down. I have been doing it ever since. I am now 81, and I'm not tired of it yet. Fairly soon I wanted to create other things in poetry, not only beauty. I don't always succeed in creating what I want to, but it all still seems worth the attempt.
Yes, that answer was all about poetry and only poetry. Definitely my ‘thing’.
I never was very good at, or very interested in writing fiction. I did have a couple of short stories published in literary magazines many years ago but they’re very thinly disguised autobiography.
I’m unable to sustain a novel. I tried twice, also years ago. One started happening in my ‘morning pages’ (journalling whatever is in one’s head first thing) but after a while I found the characters so boring that I thought they’d hardly interest anyone else either, and let go of them. Another year I tried NaNoWriMo (writing 50,000 words of a novel in November). I did finish it, but it got really silly towards the end.
I never cared enough about either of these projects to resurrect them. I liked writing non-fiction: blog posts, book reviews, personal letters…. Attempts at memoir, though, usually got abandoned fairly quickly. Again, I could never sustain my own interest.
My real start in writing stories came when our Magaly introduced me to the concept that non-fiction can also be storytelling, and (needing to keep them shortish) we hit on the idea of a 369-word limit for P&SU prose pieces. For some reason that length suits me. (I usually write more and have to pare back, which improves the writing.) I have even done an occasional piece of fiction and quite a few bits of memoir this way.
I guess it’s true on one level to say I began writing stories as school essays, long ago. But I couldn’t wait to stop that, so my real beginning in embracing storytelling was in 2019 in this community.
Many of my writer friends, however, dreamed first of telling stories and found their way to poetry later.
How about you?
Who would like to tell us what started you writing? We’d love to read about it in the Comments below!
As always, the actual writing is what we’re really here for. It being Sunday, you may choose your own topic and share any piece of writing old or new, poetry or prose. (Prose pieces need to be 369 words maximum, please, excluding title.)
On Wednesday, Magaly will invite us to write new poetry or
prose using “a troubled relationship”—literal
or metaphorical—as inspiration.
Images from Unsplash: 1 by Aaron Burden, 2 by Andrew Neel.