Last weekend, I stumbled across the first piece I ever submitted to a contest. I wrote and submitted it when I was in 8th grade, and let me tell you…it was a piece of crap.

It was loosely inspired by Ghost Rider, the one with Nic Cage, which came out when I was in 8th grade. This story included lots of cliches: the protag haf dark hair and green eyes, the love interest was a fairy with raven hair and violet eyes, the love interest spoke in an accent that started off looking like cockney but ended being a whole ‘nother monster, the protag controlled fire and read minds and controlled time, the love interest spoke with animals and healed. There was a “hit me over the head” theme about loving your family, (which if you read any of my recent stuff, you’d see that familu issues is still a strong theme in my writing.) It was just ridiculous.

But it got me thinking about my history as a writer. Where I started and how far I’ve come.

The first thing I remember writing was poetry in third grade. We did a lesson on poetry and were asked to write a poem. The third Harry Potter book had just come out, so I wrote a poem about a hippogriff. I enjoyed it so much that my mom helped me write poems outside of school. I wrote a couplet about Moaning Mrytle where the second line was “she haunts the girl’s bathroom from morn until night.” My mom wrote a couplet about leaves: “leaves are green until they turn yellow/ then they fall to the ground like a good dead fellow.”

In 4th/5th grade I was in a program called Highly Capable where the honors students got to skip one class a week and work in extracurricular projects like building a model submarine or writing a children’s book. 

The book I wrote was a parody of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. It was called If You Tell a Snake a Story. I did the artwork. The artwork was shiiiiiit. I don’t think it exists any more.

In 6th grade, I tried writing an actual book about a princess who goes on an adventure. It was called Wally’s Quest. I wrote about 100 pages before stopping.

In 8th grade I became best friends with a girl who also liked to write. We worked on a lot of projects. I never finished anything. The problem is that I am an obsessive plotter, not a pantser. I am still trying to get over this.

When I was a senior, I wrote some poems about being a bisexual atheist with Mormon parents and I entered them in a contest and won first place and $100. It was cool.

Eventually I majored in English. I wrote many pieces about people with family issues including one where a girl who cleans bathrooms steals a dog and a car. 

I didn’t really have a point when I started this, but now I realize that I write to make sense of my feelings. I write to purge my demons, so to speak. Art as a creative outlet is so important. If I can just write everything down maybe I can finally make sense of what I feel.

Why do you write?