When I was in second grade, I began writing a series of books about a girl named Jamie. My first in the series was “Jamie and the Painter.” It was written in typical second grade fashion: Clumsy story line, lots of dialogue, with original illustrations by yours truly, of course.
When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer for much of my childhood was a children’s book author.
As I grew and found myself interested in many other things (music, theatre, school), that dream kind of fizzled. I always continued to write (“My Friends” was an early favorite, and there were a few more installments in the “Jamie” series), but I have never been the person to have just one clear dream and go all gung-ho for it. I was interested in everything; I couldn’t tie myself down. The same is true today.
The children’s book author career morphed into wanting to be an astronaut (too much science and math, which I was good at but not remotely interested in), which turned into wanting to go into journalism (hey, there’s the writing again!).
I’ve wanted to work in television, professional theatre, photography, law, and a plethora of other careers too numerous for me to list or even remember.
After college, with a history major and three separate and varied minors under my belt, I still didn’t know what the heck I wanted to be “when I grew up.” But all the while, I continued to write.
I’ve always found writing to be quite cathartic.
I’m really not that great at expressing myself in person. Still, when I write, I feel like I can get all of my ideas down without interruption, without influence from someone’s body language, without fear of what someone will think of me if I stumble over my words while I’m forming a thought.
Now that I’m pushing 40, with a master’s degree and a career that works for me, I still need that creative outlet that began with writing that first “Jamie” book all those years ago. The common denominator in every career I’ve ever considered in my life is that it would involve writing and creativity (even all the boring science-y stuff, haha!).
I have been blessed to be influenced by several writing teachers in my life (Mrs. O, Mrs. K, and Mrs. A) and my mother, who is both a gifted writer and speaker. I was challenged to be better, be more creative, problem-solve, and transfer all of the jumbled up thoughts floating around in my head onto paper (or into a computer!). I’ve fallen, I’ve failed, I’ve triumphed, I’ve been stuck, I’ve had difficulty finding the exact right words to express what I want.
But through it all, there have been a few constants. Writing keeps me whole. Writing keeps me sane. I’ve used my writing not just for my personal creative gain but in the hopes that maybe I could write something someday that would help someone. Maybe I could write something that would make a difference.
So for all of those children out there who go through life trying desperately to figure out what they want to be when they grow up, I have a secret for you. Maybe it’s been there all along. Maybe it’s been the driving force below all the fumbling, the failures, the idea that everyone knows what they want to be except for me.
Life can take you through some pretty interesting twists and turns. But sometimes, you end up exactly where you started from in the first place. My childhood dream has come to fruition…maybe not in the exact way I imagined it, but it’s true nonetheless.
I am a writer. And hey, maybe I will write that children’s book someday.