I can remember writing some of my first stories as early as 3rd grade. Very short ones, mind you, probably no longer than a few hundred words. I wrote funny stories; whatever made me laugh, because I loved to be amused. Laughter is the best therapy after all. Even by the age of 8, I clearly needed therapy. By the time I was in 10th grade, I started writing longer and more complex stories.
The first long story I wrote (probably 10,000 words) was after seeing the movie, “Young Guns II”. I was 15 and I saw the movie a couple of months after my oldest brother had died in a car accident. I had trouble reconciling that the young boy, Tommy, in the movie had died. So I wrote a story about a young girl who found him and saved his life. Looking back, it was my subconscious trying to save my brother. I never finished the story. No matter how you hope, some people can’t come back.
By 11th grade, another idea came to me. It was while walking the long path from the school’s parking lot to my first class that it whispered in my mind. When I got to class, instead of listening to what my teacher was on about, I wrote the first 1300 words which would be the opening chapter. Forty-seven thousand words later, I had completed a novel about a high school girl who was being physically abused by her boyfriend. At the age of 17, I had my first completed novel.
That went unpublished. And remains unpublished for the most part. However, I knew at that moment my life would be dedicated to writing. I was going to be a world-famous writer! But, I didn’t have the focus. I didn’t have the dedication. And I let fear get in the way.
Over the years I experimented with other forms of writing, from poetry, to fan fiction, to short story writing and screenplay writing, and even though friends liked my works and told me I was a good writer, I wouldn’t allow myself to believe it. My writing was probably just a fluke. It took going back to college (because I dropped out my first time around, like most artists do) and it took signing up for a writing class to take the edge off all of my history and archaeology classes to realize I actually have a talent for it. My professor, John, approached me after my first work shop story and asked if I had considered majoring in Creative Writing. I remember feeling a gush of adrenaline rush through my heart and mind. It wasn’t a fluke after all.
Yet, I had invested so much time into my history and anthropology classes that I couldn’t just change. But, I could change my minor. And so I did.
But having a minor in Creative Writing still doesn’t make you a world-famous writer. It takes work and dedication that non-writers can’t comprehend.
So, here I am, 5 years after completing my degree, and a rather unfortunate bout of MGM (muse gone missing) that I’ve returned to writing with a vengeance. This is my journey to reach out to the short story world and publish roughly 20 short stories and a few poems. This is my mad experiment of mixing my love of history and literature. This is my return to my first true passion: novel length writing. This is my return to the art of words.
Wendy C. Williford