My Journey with Writing

My journey with writing began with reading. I had always felt comfortable with words and language and read voraciously from a very young age, working my way through most of the classics before I was a teenager.

In my mid-teens, I knew I wanted to be a writer. If you are young and have decided the same, I urge you to begin right now. Don’t, like me, find all the reasons why you can’t. I had reasons – left school at fifteen, married, had children, and had a ‘real job’  – but no excuse. To satisfy the writing urge, I kept extensive journals and wrote long letters to family members throughout the next 30 years.

My children were grown and living their lives when I returned to my dream of ‘becoming a writer’. I also began a Bachelor or Arts degree in English Studies, with a minor in Writing.

For the next ten years, I thought of myself as an ‘aspiring writer’ and wondered when I would become one. I wrote and sent my stories out into the world, but more of my work was returned to me than was published, so I didn’t feel I had made it yet.

I became involved in the writing world in other ways, joining committees for writing groups such as the Fellowship of Australian Writers and the Society of Women Writers. I was the State Literature Officer for Perth for a three-month period and was also instrumental in establishing the Peter Cowan Writers Centre on the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. I mixed with writers of all genres, some famous some not. I wrote book reviews for a West Australian publication and had a literary competition named after me. I published more work, compiled and edited newsletters, set up a niche publishing press with three writer friends, and yet still did not feel that I could honestly call myself a writer.

One day, I asked myself who I was writing for and realised that everything I ever wrote was for myself. I didn’t have to care what anyone else thought. I didn’t have to be famous. I had every right to call myself a writer, so that’s what I began to do.

You don’t have to dream of being a writer; you can be one right now. How? Call yourself a writer and just do it. Just write.