I've been writing for most of my life. I remember making up stories and poems as far back as five. When I was nine, I formed a "Poetry Club" with my best friend. Words have always had a huge part in my life, but it wasn't until fifth grade that I really felt them take hold of me.
Mrs. McDaniel was my fifth grade Language Arts teacher. She was my favorite teacher. Pleasant and passionate and funny. On the first day of class, she handed us all spiral-bound notebooks and told us we'd be keeping a journal about stories we read and such. One of our assignments was to write a story. I don't remember the specifics of mine, but it was outlandish, I'm sure. Something straight from the brain of a fantasy author. After Mrs. McDaniel read it, she left a note on the top of the page, telling me what a great writer I was. An affirmation of all my scribbling and scrawling in journals, an acknowledgement that it wasn't for nothing. Mrs. McDaniel may not have realized it at the time, but she changed my life that day.
Two years later, I was an insecure, awkward middle-schooler just trying to find my way through life. Mrs. Potter was my English teacher that year. We read The Diary of Anne Frank. I don't know if it was Mrs. Potter's encouraging notes on my assignments or the words and passion of Anne, but when I left that classroom at the end of seventh grade, there was no turning back. I was a full-blown writer, having a love affair with words.
Ever since then, I've been writing. For years, I wanted to be a songwriter. I would spend hours and hours and days in my room, writing lyrics to songs I imagined the likes of Mariah Carey and LeAnn Rimes singing someday. It's still a silly little dream I harbor. Alas, I never learned to play an instrument well enough to write music to accompany all those lyrics.
When I was thirteen, I decided to give fiction a try. I wrote all these silly stories about girls my age and the ludicrous things that happened to them. I still have a binder filled with hand-written pages. Unfinished stories that only served to spark my love of words even more.
At fifteen, I was obsessed with Harlequin romances. I'd devour dozens of them a week. I loved them so much I decided to try writing one. My first attempt at a romance novel was sloppy and awkward and a tremendous learning experience. I wrote two more after that, learning along the way. I bought books about writing and soaked up all the information I could from the internet. A few years and two and a half more novels later, I decided my writing wasn't suited for Harlequin. No, it demanded something else. A story that was about more than Boy Meets Girl. That's when Tierney was born.
The first draft of that novel changed everything. I fought harder to learn more and give these characters the life they deserved. I finished the first draft, enrolled in a class specifically aimed at novel-writing, rewrote the story, then wrote it again. At some point, life got in the way and I sat it aside. I sat all my writing aside.
It wasn't until 2009 that I decided to fight for my writing again. I took part in NaNoWriMo and wrote a whole new story. I loved that story and those characters and I worked hard at revising it all throughout that year. When November came around again, I decided to pick Tierney back up. Sure, it was a completed draft, but I knew this story wouldn't get told right if I didn't have the intense deadline of NaNoWriMo to push me.
I rewrote the entire thing. Switched it from third-person to first. Added a new subplot and took out the male POV. What resulted is the best thing I've written thus far. I'm so excited to take what I've learned from all the trial and error and experimentation and apply it to new stories down the line.
So, there you have it. My writing origins. Now, scurry off and read all the other great stories!