Quarantine Content: My Story Part 1
The title of this post is a little misleading. It doesn't mean the story I'm working on (which I'm making awesome progress on and I can't wait to share more about that in another post) but rather it's my story. How I became the writer I am today.
The first things I remember writing were basically Jurassic Park fanfiction. I’d create characters that looked remarkably like me (or how I imagined myself to be as an adult) coexisting with dinosaurs. Often times I’d befriend a dinosaur and it would be my companion during these wild adventures that only a child could make up.I also wrote a lot of stories in my school journal (we had to keep classroom notebooks where we’d be given a prompt and then have to write a page and draw a picture and then our teacher would comment on it) and if I wasn’t writing about dinosaurs I was writing scary stories. I vividly remember writing a story about a spider that could go from a tiny size to a the size of a car and then eat kids and then shrink back down so as not to be noticed.
I wonder what my teacher thought about that?
Anyway. When anyone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up it was always *insert career here* and a writer. For the longest time, the majority of my childhood actually, it was to be a paleontologist and a writer. That ended (or at least the paleontologist bit did) in 8th grade when a teacher told me I didn’t have the “science driven brain” or the “math skills” to be a paleontologist and I was better suited for something more literary.
High School was also when I participated in my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and took my first creative writing course. I enjoyed it a lot and was told by my creative writing teacher that “no doubt would I publish a book one day”. But it still wasn’t anything I really pursued.
After high school I went to Mt. Hood Community College (because again I was told that I didn’t have the grades, math skills, or testing ability to get into university right after high school, so I never took the SAT or the ACT) and I majored in World Literature (specifically German and Russian lit) and also took classes in Psychology and Creative Writing but those last two things were just fun classes - nothing I really pursued. My plan was to eventually go into teaching.
After my associates degree I transferred to Southern Oregon University and majored in English Education and minored in both Shakespeare Studies and Psychology. That that spring I woke up one morning and went:
I don’t want to be a teacher!
So I had to do some soul searching. I chatted with one of my closest (and favorite) professors and he basically asked me “what do you want in a career?” I explained what I was looking for and he said “sounds like you want to be a librarian”. I did some more soul searching and talking to librarians and decided “yes, that’s what I want to be!”
But being a librarian requires a Masters degree. I looked into requirements and once I found out that you could get you BA or BS in anything and still apply for an MLIS program, I decided to take a risk and switch to something that I got the most enjoyment out of. I changed my major to Creative Writing (I also dropped my psychology minor but kept my Shakespeare Studies minor).
It was here that I fell in love with the short story. I realized that novel writing wasn’t for me and that I would publish short fiction in both the traditional format of a short story, but also in the form of picture/children’s books.
I honed my skills as a short story writer. I drew a lot of inspiration from writers like Joyce Carol Oates, Shirley Jackson, Truman Capote, Harper Lee and others, and also knew what kinds of stories I would like to write. I also wrote and self published a children’s book through Amazon for my senior project (www.bgstrong.com/store) and got some poetry published in one of my schools literary magazines.
The summer after graduating I published 2 more short stories.
In grad school while following my new dream of becoming a youth librarian I also fell back in love with the novel.
After grad school I had one more self-realization (details will probably come in another post) that I wanted to be a horror writer.
So now, aside from still occasionally writing and submitting short stories, I am working in my first horror novel.
Wow! This is a long one. I'll post part 2 in another post.
My day job is starting the beginning phases of opening - so I'll be at the library a few days a week but I still intend to continue posting fairly regularly here. Also! My joint blog with my BFF has started back up! We're talking about how you can continue writing, but also take care of your mental health during this crazy time. Check that out here: https://shortstorylongfic.wordpress.com
Until next time,
B. Strong &;