I've been thinking a lot lately about when, where, how, I ever got interested in writing in the first place. I traced it back to two specific things that happened in my life that planted the initial seed.
The first happened was when I was sixteen years old and I was dating a boy whose sisters didn't like me (I know you all collectively gasped. Who couldn't like me, right?). So they wrote me a letter listing out the reasons they didn't like me (they were 19 and 21, btw. Man, I wish I still had that letter because I can't for the life of me remember what they were, but I bet they were good). I wrote them back to defend myself. After they read the letter, one of his sister's said, "Wow, you're a really good writer. You expressed yourself so well." LOL I still remember that because I was so flattered. It was like, well, I know you hate me, but thanks, did you want to give me some more feedback or anything? Were there points I could've improved or said differently. LOL
The second experience which steered me towards writing was the creative writing class I took in high school (which led to more classes later in college). My teacher was so encouraging and always had a way of making me feel good about my stuff. At the bottom of all my stories, she'd write things like, 'This one was great, you should submit it.' At the time I had no idea just how hard it was to get things published, but it made me feel good.
Because I've been thinking about this specific teacher and how much she influenced me, I decided to try to find her email address. It wasn't hard at all because she still teaches at the high school. I went to the website and it was right there. So I wrote her, told her how awesome she was, and then told her I was working on some edits for a book I was getting ready to resubmit to an agent. I asked her if she'd be interested at all in reading it. If she had time, of course. I needed someone who hadn't read my first draft and who could look at it with "fresh" eyes. She wrote me back like ten minutes later saying she had just been talking about me to another teacher that very day (huh? I graduated in '94, so weird/awesome). Anyway, to make an already lengthy post short, she told me that she would love to read my manuscript and, in fact, was very excited to do it (see, she still knows how to make me feel good). I was so stoked (bringing out the high school words). My high school creative writing teacher is going to be reading my MS next week. I wonder if she'll give me a grade.
So, do you remember the specific event/person who inspired you to follow your dreams?