View Full Version : Nice Thing Someone Did to Nudge You Along as a Writer

10-04-2008, 08:09 AM
I was just responding to another thread, and it reminded me of something nice that a neighbor did for me when I was a kid that nudged me along with my writing. My mother was anything but supportive (although she did buy me a second-hand typewriter which was my favorite "toy" from age 8 on). But one day, at the age of 8 or 9, I confided in our next door neighbor that I wanted to be a writer someday. He dug out a copy of Writers Market 1963, which would have been almost ten years old by then, and gave it to me. It was like someone had opened the floodgates to a new world. Now I had proof that people actually got paid to write, as well as an instruction manual on how to do it.

I remember reading the lists of publishers and daydreaming about them buying my books in the same way other kids dreamed about being a doctor or fireman or pilot. I still have that old Writers Market, and it's quite a cherished momento for me.

So did anyone else have someone give you a neat little nudge towards being a writer?

10-04-2008, 08:15 AM
When I thought I wanted to be a photographer, a 2nd Uncle dug out his photography supplies and then handed them over to me. I thought it was fabulous....so many things to use...I must put them to use. Didn't.

Had a few friends read my WIP and they loved it, totally want to do something with it now. Will I? Who knows.

10-04-2008, 09:15 AM
when a professional artist in my nabe found out I was set on becoming a writer/artist he gave me a huge parcel of high-quality, 3'x4' drawing paper.

10-04-2008, 09:32 AM
Nothing particular in my childhood - was pretty much told that writing wasn't a very realistic career choice, soo...

Fast forward about 20 years and here I am, married to a great guy who totally supports my writing, even when he doesn't get it, and keeps me motivated to find representation.

10-04-2008, 10:24 AM
My dad shelled out big bucks to put me through college, and my mother signed for me to get my own library card when I was under 18--not the interesting answers you wanted, I realize, but that's all I got.

10-04-2008, 11:31 AM
I spent quite a few months planning my WIP, and eventually stopped altogether. I was on another forum, where I'd responded to a thread about writers, and someone I didn't know at all PM ed me and asked me if I had any published work available. For some insane reason, that simple question sparked such inspiration in me that I decided to write it after all, and here I am, 3 months later, with half the book done!

My 'official' writing career began due to inspiration from an anonymous person. Is that cool or what? :hooray:

Ms Hollands
10-04-2008, 02:02 PM
My mum used to always be available for chats about my schoolwork, which usually involved questions about particular words in essay. I think she helped spark my love for words by being such a positive influence at the time.

More recently, my boss told me he didn't want to read any of my novel yet: he'd prefer to see it WHEN it's published.

10-04-2008, 05:25 PM
My teachers and classmates in school were always awed by how I wrote and showed such interest in my stories. In elementary school I was considered so bright and talented. I even had one of my stories stolen from the class once; never did find out what became of it. And that was one of my LOUSY stories. Whenever we had writing a story as an assignment, it always seemed the others were most awed by my own work. I was the only one who seemed to REALLY get into the worlds I created, who made writing a school assignment a great event.

Unfortunately, classmates' interest died down as we moved up through the grades until it boiled down to, "Wow, you write a lot! Sorry, I don't have time to read it, but I bet it's really good!" (Which is just insulting to me...don't assume it's good if you're not going to read it!) The teachers still loved my work, and even to this day whenever I randomly meet one in public they lament that I'm not trying to get published.

That always confuses me too since they haven't read any of my newer better work--the last teacher who mentioned this had only read my literature essays for class--so really, how do they know if I'm publishable?

If it weren't for all that encouragement I probably wouldn't have kept writing. I just wish there was more encouragement to take its place since, after you leave school, people don't tend to care much anymore about writing. And praise in school doesn't seem to mean much in the real world. (In fact I feel rather stupid that that's the only place I got such consistent encouragement on my writing. "My sixth-grade teacher liked it!" *sigh*)

ETA: Oh. I forgot. In elementary school/junior high is also when I had the one friend in my entire life who was actually interested in my work. She helped me out more than she'll ever know, because she lost interest and moved on and I don't know what became of her, which is probably for the best. If not for her friendship and interest, I probably wouldn't have written most of the material I have today. She was the only person who bothered trying to share the worlds I created. I've spent the rest of my life trying to find another friend like that, to no avail.

10-04-2008, 05:34 PM
My parents, for YEARS and YEARS, asked me, "When are you going to write that book?" They would show samples of my writing to anyone who cared, and many who didn't.

It was truthfully highly annoying, in a sweet and supportive kind of way.

10-04-2008, 05:38 PM
My grandmother was the one that got me writing in the first place. She encouraged me to write from a very early age (like we're talk three or four years old), and so I did. I would write short stories on their kitchen table while my mom talked to my grandmother.

And then, when I was in fifth grade, my teacher pulled me aside and told me how "talented" I was, and encouraged me to write for publication. Sadly I didn't take this advice till two years later.

10-04-2008, 05:45 PM
Scene at school:

Friend: hey, Ex, what're you doin'? What, a model student like you, frantically trying to finish your homework AT SCHOOL? Lemme see *grabs notebook*

Me: Hey!

Friend: *flipping through the pages* Gosh, this makes totally no sense. What is it?

Me: Erm.... writing?

Friend: Ooh, a novel thing? *Counts the number of pages I've written, eyes bulging more and more out of his socket* Wow, eighty handwritten pages! How long did it take you?

Me: Erm... two weeks? It's just A5 sized pages, like 150 words per --

Friend: *interrupt* O MY GOSH, O MY GOSH, YOU'RE A GENIUS! *proceeds to tell the entire class that there is a brilliant nutter churning out novels at the speed of light, God bless him.*

Well, to be honest, I've always though he was a bit of a case, but... who am I to complain? :e2headban

10-04-2008, 06:02 PM
My composition teacher, junior year. Semester long class where we did nothing but creative writing -- teh awesome. Whenever we finished a piece, we were supposed to read it to the whole class, then everyone would write a comment on a slip of paper. Nice "attagirls" and stuff like that.

After the last reading for the course, my teacher wrote a note that said, "If you don't become a novelist, I'll eat my dictionary." I don't have that slip anymore, but I read it so often I memorized it.

My senior English teacher sent off one of my short stories for his eldest daughter to read (an English lit major, IIRC) because he liked it so much. That was...something else. It was a really nice compliment.

Those two actions from those two teachers have done so much to encourage me, even after all these years. (It's been almost fifteen years)

10-05-2008, 02:12 AM
A complete stranger at my book launch who leaned over and said he loved my work. I'm still trying to figure out who he was and where he read my book. Later in the day I sold a copy to Twink's friend and neighbour (only those living in Ireland will know who Twink is, sorry!) so for a few hours I felt like the real deal. That has spurred me on to write (up to final edit, I think) my 102,000 word novel.
Joining a writers' group has opened doors already and opportunities are now springing up from the most unlikely places. The next few months should be interesting.
This site helps enormously too in terms of help and encouragement so thanks to those of you (you know who you are) who have made me laugh, made lovely comments and generally been great. :e2flowers

Mr Flibble
10-05-2008, 02:24 AM
Well I started writing kinda purely out of chance. I wrote some crap.

I gave it to a mate of mine who reads literally everything in the genre. Four books a week. I asked him his view on the characters and it was exactly how I wanted them to come out - I was so pleased. Even more pleased when he rang me at midnight to harangue me about the death of his fave character. That really gave me a buzz. I'd been writing approx 18 months.

Then I got ill. ME. I didn't do anything for 18 months. Gradually I became able to do simple stuff - like washing up. I got a bit back into the writing, but not much. It was too emotionally tiring.

Then I joined a rather famous MMO. And got addicted to the forums, and infamous there with it. They knew who I was on the foreign language servers for Thor's sake! I made some good friends there, but didn't get any writing done. Then on the same day my mate and a guy on the forums who'd asked to read what I'd written both e-mailed me: When are you going to write the rest? Because I need to know what happens.

I'm finally after 3 years on the road to good health and those two guys did me a service I'll never forget.

That was October last year. I started to think maybe this is a good hobby. November I find a writers / readers site, and through that this place.

Not to mention this place - I've learned more here in ten months than I did in all the rest of the time.

Hmm, I've had a beer or two. Can you tell?

10-05-2008, 02:53 AM
Great thread. Nice to hear stories of support for a change.

All of my support came from teachers/professors.

-In 8th grade my teacher asked me to write a short story for the yearbook. I went to a private school and there was only 18 students in my class, I wrote the short story about our 10yr reunion and how we'd all changed etc...I still have the yearbook, my kids think its a hoot.

-In Junior year I was writing a novel during class. My teacher caught me and read a few pages. It developed into a habit-each week I'd write a chapter and she's read and critique it. I was actually pregnant and her encouragement meant the world to me.

-I had a creative writing teacher read my short story to the class as an example of good writing.

-Three years ago my English professor submitted my term paper for publication.

Nothing very exciting but I cherish each of these experiences.

10-05-2008, 03:00 AM
In sixth grade we had to write a poem using our spelling words. I wrote mine, turned it in and two weeks later someone showed it to me in the school newspaper. My teacher was a hardass and she did not get emotional or impress easily. She submitted my poem without my knowledge and didn't even tell me that it was accepted. We never mentioned it to each other, but one day she caught me watching her and she winked at me.

The next time someone recognized my writing was when I entered an essay contest. The subject matter had to pertain to your relationship with your daughter. I didn't care about winning the contest because it was for the Today Show, but I wanted the entry form to give my daughter one day. It became a much bigger sentiment than my original intention because I won and we were on the Today show twice that year.

This book I have is my first attempt to be published on my own. I have bouts of self doubt and am a bit impatient with the process, but I have two things to look back on and give me the confidence that I may have 'something' in this world of writing.

I guess we'll see about that.

10-05-2008, 04:27 AM
In high school, the school newspaper adviser asked me to be the editor of the paper, based on a recommendation from my journalism teacher. I wasn't even on the staff.

10-05-2008, 02:43 PM
I blogged about a nasty incident that happened to me way back at school. I sent the url to my ex-English teacher and she emailed me back saying - I'll paraphrase a little - you write really well, so start taking it seriously, you idiot.

And if my ex-English teacher says something, I figure it must be true.

10-05-2008, 03:26 PM
My grandmother brought me my first typewriter. It took almost 34 years from that year, but my first book was dedicated to her.

10-08-2008, 09:15 PM
I stopped writing for years and years because I didn't have any encouragement after the age of 13 or so. My parents basically yelled at me any time I sat down to read or write (seriously, I had a hard enough time being allowed to do HOMEWORK) and I didn't know anyone in high school who wanted to write.

In university I studied subjects as far from english as possible, but teachers would still comment that I had "a writing style that cannot be taught" in, for example, an essay on the mechanics of protein folding. So that stirred the interest a bit during the dark years.

Now that I've started taking writing workshops in night school, I'm getting the kind of encouragement I wish I'd had a decade ago. I have people who email me every few months and ask how I'm getting along with something I'd workshopped awhile ago. And most, most importantly, I met a couple of people in workshop who have now become friends, who are as strategic about writing as I am, and who beat down my demons of self-doubt when I'm not strong enough to do so myself. I'm incredibly lucky to have this in my life now, and I know I need to take advantage of it now because like everything in life, it may not be there forever...