Story of a Writer tells tales from my early days of writing, adding comments from my current perspective.
March 26, 1999 [10 years old]
I’m calling this week the Monster Stage, because I remembered my “promise” to my friends Keith and Josh to make some of my own weird creatures with battle scenes and a story. My story is about 3 boys: Henry, Paul, and Tim. Henry and Paul are hypnotized into being on the bad guys’ side. When Tim refuses to be on their side, he gets rescued after being put in jail. You’ll have to read it to understand. I know I do not explain things clearly, but I bet my sister Keren would understand.
April 15, 1999
Literary clubs are fantastic opportunities. Writing is a very solitary craft. You sit in your room or at your desk and it feels like a whole slice of your life is inaccessible to the rest of the world, even to the people who are close to you. You pour hours and hours into something that others can’t see the value in—until you share it.
Writing has to be shared. The writing quality may be terrible, but the process of sharing unlocks something in a writer. The feedback pushes you to excel and the very act of sharing stimulates all sorts of ideas that you want to write down so that you can share some more.
I’ve been very lucky to be part of several literary outlets.
For example, the morbid stamp story that I shared about in "Experimentation" was published in an informal newsletter for homeschooled students. (For you information, I was homeschooled all the way through high school.) I submitted various stories to that newsletter until I moved on to other things.
My friends Keith and Josh eventually did start a literary club, which produced about half-a-dozen issues before fizzling out. Reading other peoples’ stories was such a blast for me, and gave me tons of momentum to write some of my own to share.
Some time after that, I became part of a literary club sponsored by our local library. I was more prolific than any other writer in the club, including the adults, but I also learned a lot from them, including some lessons that I still put into practice today.
Later, I created a family newsletter with my siblings, which we shared with our parents. Then a friend of mine started a short-lived writing newsletter called The Writer’s Corner, in which various authors shared tips, techniques, and stories. I was a very active writer in that newsletter until it discontinued.
I could go on and on, but the point is that sharing your work with others is an integral part of improving. You get to see what other people are doing, and their perspectives open up new possibilities for you. You break out of your solitude and find a community that cares about the same things you do, which gives you the impetus to write even when you are discouraged. You want to represent your writing well, so you naturally focus on quality, which improves your writing overall. You receive the feedback of others and learn what connects well with people and what doesn’t.
If you are not part of a writing community, I encourage you to join one, or even to start one of your own. You are not alone. You are one of many, and those many want to see what you have to share.
If you write, I'd like to see what you do! Contact me here.