I first started writing actual stories when I was probably about thirteen or fourteen. It was in a green-covered composition notebook with an extremely cringe-worthy The Legend of Zelda fanfiction. I still have the notebook, having continued writing in it a few years ago when I realized it was only half-full. Little fanfiction-y snippets are still what fill my composition notebooks and journals, small stories that help me wind down at the end of the night and satisfy my need to mold those certain universes to my liking.
Back then, writing was just something fun to let my imagination run wild. I was around the age where high school teachers were drilling overwhelming college information into our brains.
Take those SATs. Get those essays ready. Join half a dozen clubs so your college applications will shine. All the while, make sure you’re well-rested for the school day with all of your backbreaking homework complete.
I always did very well in school, and many friends (and family) thought it was a given that I would go to a university for a nice degree. At that point, though, I was aware of the fact that I’d just started driving — how the hell was I supposed to know what to do with the rest of my life?
Not only that, but the economy wasn’t kind to my generation — jobs were scarce for college graduates and I wasn’t keen on paying tens of thousands of dollars for a degree. I opted to focus on working, earning skills (and thick skin) in the world of retail, while going to a nearby community college for my Associate’s.
I changed my major a couple of times while at that community college, from computer science and information technology to computer forensics to add in a bit of criminal justice. My interests were all over the place, and they refused to be pinned down.
I suppose it didn’t help that I’m not the type to enjoy a classroom setting. I enjoy learning, but on my own time, researching what I wanted to know and getting hands-on experience rather than sitting at a desk staring at a textbook. I wrote more and more on my own time to escape the classroom drudgery.
One day I started drafting up an original novel, a first for me. I think it was that point that the idea of being a writer took root in my mind.
Since then, I’ve been trying to focus on pursuing what would make me happy. I switched jobs from a clothing store to a day camp for dogs to get my puppy-fix for a while before being able to take a year off to determine what creative pursuits I wanted out of life.
I have a great government job now that’ll pay the bills with a steady schedule to allow me to continue going after writing and gaming and puppy-sitting. After floundering around and getting lost on detours for a while, I’m finally taking a step in the right direction for my life.